Placemaking Initiatives

Although Covid-19 pushed the world onto another trajectory, the challenges it poses have provided further motivation for the state of Penang as a whole to realise the objectives of Penang2030. This acceleration is three-pronged.

The Placemaking Initiatives are the state government’s way of converging positive efforts towards developing Penang as a family-focused green and smart home for its inhabitants in strategic areas in the state. In essence, they are physical representations of the Penang2030 vision. In this initial phase, three dedicated districts have been identified:

  • Creative Digital District (CD²) in George Town;
  • Middle Bank Marine Sanctuary in the Strait of Penang and;
  • Gurney Bay

In Seberang Perai, suitable locations are currently being scouted for the setting up of administrative, transportation and medical hubs.

Creative Digital District (CD²) @George Town

CD2@GT is an initiative to bring life and jobs back into George Town’s historic urban core, and to build a new innovation district focused on digital and creative industries that will complement existing industrial and economic hubs in the state and the northern region of Malaysia. The district will be a “city campus” for education institutions, companies, arts and cultural organisations, and talent, as well as a meeting place for the community and their ideas. It will be the hub for Penang’s digital economy, creative industries and start-ups, and a destination for lifestyle, culture and the arts, and learning. CD2@GT’s nucleus is centred around Gat Lebuh China. Within this area are the city campus and creative design hub of Universiti Sains Malaysia and Wawasan Open University (WOU)’s new School for Digital Technology, start-up incubators and accelerators, digital tech companies, arts and cultural institutions, as well as facilitating organisations such as Digital Penang, Penang Institute, and Think City.

Middle Bank Marine Sanctuary

Located off Persiaran Karpal Singh is the largest seagrass meadow in the Straits of Malacca, known as Middle Bank (Tebing Tengah). The area just north of the first Penang Bridge where the bank is elevated, forms the island of Pulau Gazumbo, so named by scientists and fisherfolks after a reference in the famed P. Ramlee film “Panggilan Pulau” (1954). Middle Bank consists of a wide variety of marine life ranging from shellfish such as horseshoe crab to marine algae, and is a feeding ground for crabs, dolphins, sea otters and even dugongs, among others. The state, with expert support from the Centre for Marine and Coastal Studies (CEMACS, USM), and Penang Institute, aim to gazette the area as the first Marine Sanctuary in the Straits, and thus preserve and highlight the maritime and coastal nature of Penang. Middle Bank will serve as a nursery for marine life and marine ecology conservation as well as a “Living Lab” to study, monitor and interact with marine life forms, and function as the key marine biodiversity services talent incubation centre for the region. In the future, it could also potentially become an edu-tourism cum eco-tourism site for experiential learning and tourism.

Gurney Bay

Gurney Bay is a public realm destination initiated by the Penang state government to create the first sizeable sea fronting park in Penang that is accessible to all. Gurney Bay is envisaged to be a welcome addition for Penang, inspiring a sense of heritage and belonging for Penangites as well as a notable destination for both local and international tourists. The vision is to create a new public waterfront park that provides a verdant coastal backdrop to Pulau Tikus and establishes a lush green framework along Gurney Drive. The overall aim for the park is to create a series of welcoming open spaces that will engender a real sense of place, community and identity, and provide the local residents with an enhanced waterfront parkland. The park has been designed to accommodate a variety of different events, provide safe and enjoyable coastal walks and easy access to a reinvigorated waterfront. The overall design is central to the state’s sustainable vision with welcoming open green spaces promoting a variety of leisure and recreation activities.