Penang South Islands – The Winning Design by BIG

Property News/ 21 August 2020 Leave a comment


BIG, Hijjas and Ramboll are selected as winners of Penang State Government’s international competition to design a masterplan for Penang South Islands. The proposal entitled BiodiverCity, fits into the island’s 2030 vision, providing Penangites with approximately 4.6km of public beaches, 600 acres of parks and a 25km waterfront. An Urban Mosaic of three diverse islands, the project establishes new urban design guidelines, mixing programs, addressing pedestrian and mobility networks, building sustainably, and harvesting resources.

Located at the southern shore of Penang Island, the three islands of BiodiverCity hold mixed-use districts of 15,000 to 18,000 residents across 50 to 500 acres, and a continuous 50 to 100m buffer around each district.


BiodiverCity’s first island, or The Channels, encompasses a 500-acre digital park including spaces for research, development, and local business opportunities. Moreover, it will house future “conferences, education centers, and a family-oriented park where locals and guests can explore the world of technology, robotics, and virtual reality”. Its construction process is divided into 3 complementary phases.

  • Phase 1: Active Destinations include a wave pool and technology park
  • Phase 2: Civic Heart establishes governance and research institutions in the area
  • Phase 3: Cultural Coast builds upon the heritage and vibrant creative energy of Penang’s George Town to create a regional and international draw.

The second and central island, The Mangroves is dedicated to businesses. Composed around urban wetlands, this zone creates a suitable environment for Mangrove forests, “an important natural infrastructure that doubles as effective powerhouses for sequestering more than four times as much carbon as a typical forest”.

The Bamboo Beacon, at the heart of the island hosts meetings, conferences, and major events, while other civic amenities are distributed throughout the city. The buildings, constructed with low-carbon materials such as bamboo and Malaysian timber in combination with green concrete, are also designed to be sustainable. They also incorporate green roofs, facades, public, and private open spaces.

Finally, the Laguna, BiodiverCity’s westernmost island, organized around a central marina, encompasses eight smaller islands. Forming a miniature archipelago, this oasis holds floating, stilted and terraced housing takes advantage of the natural setting of Tanjung Gertak Sanggul.

In addition, a network of “ecological corridors connects forest reserves to coastal beaches while supporting habitats and communities across the islands”. In fact, animals are given safe passage through the continuous canopy and waterways, and within natural habitats, people can safely access elevated boardwalks.

(image source: big.dk)

Source: big.dk, archdaily.com

  1. Sammy
    August 22nd, 2020 at 15:14 | #1

    Can or not ? ……Every which way to doom !

  2. JoJo
    August 24th, 2020 at 17:14 | #2

    what a wonderful cartoon story here!
    pls la state gov, stand firm firm on the ground with your own both feet,
    don’t plan many many, get one done first la.

  3. Betty Ng
    August 25th, 2020 at 10:21 | #3

    OMG, we Penang Lang don’t need this lah. Only the hungry developers. If the state government is really caring for the well being of the Rakyat, this type of development is only taking care of the rich and famous to own such properties in the future. The state must look at long term sustainable development that brings true economic growth for Penang. What the state is building is good for short time period. Why must you destroy the marine lives that gives us food from generation to generation, REMEMBER when everything fails you. You need FOOD, FRESH WATER and CLEAN AIR.
    Please NOT Concrete Jungle. There are so many buildings in Penang Golden Triangle but most of the owners purchased it for rental and now they are crying because of no tenants, only 50% have occupants. Everything is getting so expensive in Penang especially food, please don’t abuse the people for your own gain. Penang development is following Singapore but failed miserably because there are no proper design parks or gardens for people staying in low cost housing. Please remember to develop Penang with Love and Care for the less fortunate people

  4. Goppal Balan
    August 25th, 2020 at 17:16 | #4

    @Betty Ng
    Hi, Penang definitely has better public policies and initiatives for the betterment of its People. If you want to blame, blame the Federal government for always marginalizing Penang for politicking etc. In spite of that, Penang has introduced many new policies through the opposition government in the last 10-12 years. So much growth and rationalization in Penang following removing the Federal’s grip on the state.

    If you see the conceptual design of the PSI, I am certain you have misunderstood the concept. The concept is not Posh and Richie development. It is a completely different design from what’s normal in terms of being closely connected to Nature. The design cannot be same as current where they build pigeon holes with poor workmanship and full of defects.

    If you want to see haphazard urbanization, go and see it in KL. And the People there don’t care, all just turn a blind eye and become numb.

  5. Finally
    August 26th, 2020 at 20:54 | #5

    @Goppal Balan
    Betty Ng is complaining about the unprecedented pace of concrete jungle developments in penang in the last 10 years, blaming the state gov for approving such developments indiscriminately. What has that got to do with “blame the Federal government for always marginalizing Penang for politicking etc”. I think you’re the one politicking here, while the state gov is just plain incompetent.

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