Attraction of average-size residential, shopping projects

The built environment in the Klang Valley, Penang and other parts of the country is poised for major changes going by the ambitious infrastructure and development projects that have been planned to boost the liveability and growth potential of our major cities.

Projects such as the mass rapid transit in the Klang Valley and the light rail transit and monorail projects in Penang will certainly herald many new changes in the property landscape.

These infrastructure projects will undoubtedly spawn opportunities for other types of development such as housing, office buildings, shopping malls, industrial parks and public facilities.

With all the big plans under way, there may be a tendency to pay too much attention on building mega buildings and structures, and neglect the basic, simple needs and necessities of the common folks.

Many Klang Valley folks consider it unnecessary to spend too much resources on gigantic structures and projects just to add to the city’s skyline.

In fact, the debate on whether there is a need to build the 100-storey Warisan Merdeka tower in the vicinity of Dataran Merdeka, Kuala Lumpur, is still on.

Personally, I believe there are many worthwhile projects that can be pursued, such as cultural and art centres that should be planned based on traditional architecture and using local and indigenous designs and materials. They present opportunities to liven up our cities with more holistic activities and showcase the rich local culture and heritage to visitors.

So it makes sense to incorporate Malaysia’s multi-culture and multi-ethnic heritage into the new commercial projects in our major cities.

We must remember that foreign visitors and tourists to the country are here to savour and experience the living heritage of the people in our cities, towns and villages, instead of gazing at the skyscrapers and concrete jungle which they can find in their own countries. In many ways, what they hope to experience is the simple, yet rich and original way of life of the local people.

Likewise, new residential projects should also look into the basic needs of potential buyers and should be functional instead of over-emphasising the aesthetics. There is a growing number of people who want to live in the city centre but find the prices of the property way beyond their reach.

There should be more effort to build smaller “starter” units in the urban conurbations in order to attract and retain young talent and workforce in cities, particularly Kuala Lumpur.

A review of planning laws and incentives should be considered to encourage developers to build more such entry-level properties for first-time homeowners.

These developments can be integrated with some nice lifestyle food and beverage outlets and retail centres.

Since a number of condominium projects have yet to be fully sold or occupied, perhaps the developers can look at redesigning the layout plans and turn some of the overly spacious units to smaller homes.

Developers of such starter homes have reported brisk sales and there is still a long waiting list for these smaller residences.

In fact, there is also tremendous opportunity to further liven up the Klang Valley’s retail landscape with more average size lifestyle outlets and centres.

The plan to link major retail destinations in Kuala Lumpur’s main shopping hub will help promote the city as a favourite shopping destination.

Walking around shopping malls that are well spaced out, safe and not overcrowded has proven to be therapeutic and relaxing.

It is not only the fairer gender who are taking to shopping as a favourite past-time but their male counterparts have also caught up with this habit. Whether it is to look for something to buy or just taking a stroll, shopping complexes have become favourite haunts for many Klang Valley folks.

The scorching sun has made walking a chore these days and setting up shaded pedestrian walkways in major shopping streets will do well to promote the city’s shopping potential.

SOURCE: The Star

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