Episode 08- Putting a mid-sized city on the map: the journey of Penang, Malaysia
What we can learn from Penang's strategic repositioning: International Ideas Competition, SDG City, Industry 4.0, Cultural Heritage
In this short episode, I’ll bring you to Penang, a mid-sized city of 1.7 million, located in the northwest coast of Malaysia.
Penang is very unique in many aspects. It is known as the Silicon Valley of the East for its semiconductor industries. It is a growing start-up hub and it is one of Malaysia's most vital economic powerhouses. It boasts a very diverse cultural heritage, with its urban core George Town and being an island, it has many natural green and blue assets.
Penang is in the midst of an important transition and its huge potential has not gone unnoticed. Local stakeholders have recently been busy launching an International Ideas Competition to future-proof Penang Bay, as well as reaching out to international organisations such as UN-Habitat to reframe the city’s priorities and better align it with the Sustainable Development Goals.
I discuss the future of Penang with Ahila Ganesan, Special Projects Lead at Think City, an urban think tank exploring the future of Malaysian Cities. Think City combines placemaking, resilience, urban analytics, conservation and adaptive reuse. I invite you to check their work and also listen to their podcast The City Maker which brings you stories from around the world helping you to understand what shapes the cities we live in.
Why is Penang a city to watch in Southeast Asia and why it could be an inspiration for other mid-sized cities in the region? Let’s hear it from Ahila.
Some resources I have used to prepare for this episode:
Think City’s initiative to rethink Penang’s urban core in an age of disruption Penang Bay International Ideas Competition
The City Maker Podcast Episode about Penang Bay’s Ideas Competition Penang Bay Ideas: A Resilient New Economic Zone
My recent post about Adaptive Reuse in Asia, taking the example of Penang’s George Town Past as Future - How Adaptive Reuse is Anchoring Innovation and Circular Strategies in Asian Cities
UN Habitat’s Flagship Programme “SDG Cities” - Sustainable Development Goals Cities
Penang’s controversial southern islands reclamation project, dubbed BiodiverCity Boon or bane? Malaysian island reclamation plan divides residents (not discussed in the podcast episode)