Mayor of Kaohsiung, Taiwan to share on the tranformation of Kaohsiung from industrial backwater to a tourist city

On 20th September 2011, Kuala Lumpur will once again be the host for the 3rd installment of the International World Class Sustainable Cities Conference series (WCSC 2011). This year’s event follows-up from the widely acclaimed, and successful events held in March 2009 and October 2010, and will feature speakers from 2 globally renowned cities, with the highlight being a spotlight feature on Kaohsiung, Taiwan.

The Sime Darby Convention Centre will be the venue for this year’s event, to be held on 20th September 2011, comprising a full day of presentations and panel discussions. A workshop with the international speakers will follow on 21st September 2011.

Co-organized by the Real Estate & Housing Developers’ Association Wilayah Persekutuan (K.L.) Branch (REHDA KL), the Malaysian Institute of Planners (MIP) and the Malaysian Institute of Architects (PAM), WCSC 2011 will explore and showcase successful strategies and best practices that have helped global cities attain recognition for sustainable world-class winning development initiatives.

The stunning transformation of Kaohsiung will be the highlight of this year’s Conference, and their success story will be presented by The Honorable Madam Chen Chu, the Mayor of Kaohsiung City, Taiwan.

Kaohsiung is the second largest city in Taiwan with a population of 2.9 million people.  It is a hub for manufacturing, refining, shipbuilding and other light and heavy industries. The city is located in southwestern coast of Taiwan with a tropical climate condition. The city of Kaohsiung played host to the 2009 World Games.

By the 1990s, Kaohsiung had over 6000 factories and rapid industrialization / urbanization had exacted a heavy toll on its citizenry. Kaohsiung’s cancer rates soared, its rivers were pronounced “dead,” and landfills blighted the urban landscape.

Since reaching the peak of its polluted image in the late 20th century, Kaohsiung has undergone a remarkable transformation in a short period of time.

Its efforts at transforming itself has appeared in the National Geographic’s Megacities TV program that introduced some of the measures Kaohsiung adopted in changing its status from rampant polluter to dedicated reformer.

From an undeveloped fishing village to a thriving industrial city, Kaohsiung had sought a balance with the natural environment to become a low carbon city. The concept of the future city stresses on three main concepts which is Safe, Healthy and Ecological (S.H.E). The Mayor of the city herself, Hon. Madam Chen Chu has been twice elected as Mayor. She has been enthusiastic in transforming the city by making good use of the available research on ecology. A push to transform form a very high polluted city to low carbon city has changed Kaohsiung dramatically. Kaohsiung today is a city that is surrounded by greenery and receives a high number of tourists.

We will also hear about the transformation of brownfield developments, with a case study of Southeast False Creek, Vancouver, Canada to be presented by Mr. Sebastian Moffat, President & Chief Executive Officer of Consensus Institute, Canada.

The False Creek area was the industrial heartland of Vancouver through to the 1950s. It was home to many sawmills and small port operations, as well as the western terminus of the major Canadian railways. As industry shifted to other areas, the vicinity around False Creek started to deteriorate.

The 1991 Official Development Plan enabled significant new density commensurate with the provision of significant public amenities including street front shops and services, parks, school sites, community centres, daycares, co-op and low-income housing. Since then, most of the north shore has become a new neighbourhood of dense housing (about 100 units/acre), adding some 50,000 new residents to Vancouver’s downtown peninsula.

On December 1, 1998, Vancouver City Council adopted a set of Blueways policies and guidelines, stating the vision of a waterfront city where land and water combine to meet the environmental, cultural and economic needs of the City and its people in a sustainable, equitable, high quality manner.

Southeast False Creek is now under development and served in 2010 as the athletes’ village for the 2010 Winter Olympics. Fully built-out, Southeast False Creek will eventually become a residential area for 16,000 people.

In light of the River of Life project in which there will be many land renewal developments along its waterfront, the experiences of cities such as Vancouver, Canada leaves a lot to be learnt from.

Following from the success of the Conference in 2009 & 2010, it is expected that over 500 participants will be attending this year’s event, comprising of members of the three organizing bodies, other professional organizations, DBKL, other State & Local Authorities, NGOs, Residents’ Associations and members of the public.

Given the positive outcome and feedback from those who attended previous years’ events, DBKL has once again, officially endorsed and supported the WCSC Conference.

“The WCSC series of conferences have been catalytic in the transformational thinking of all stakeholders of the city of Kuala Lumpur. I am glad that we have had strong participation from all quarters every year, including the representatives from Residents Associations who are able to voice their opinions about city developments,” said En. Wan Hashimi Albakri, Co-Organizing Chairman for WCSC 2011 from REHDA KL.

“From WCSC 2009, which featured the transformation of Cheonggyecheong River, Seoul, we now have the RM1.9B River of Life project in our very own city. When we featured the mass transit revolution in Curitiba, Brazil for WCSC 2010, it dovetailed nicely with our plans for an extended MRT system in KL. This year’s WCSC 2011 is all about city transformation, and brownfield redevelopment will be a key feature, again hopefully inspiring us as stakeholders of this city to emulate and innovate like these fine examples before us. With the government’s ETP plans, such redevelopment is very much on the agenda, and we believe WCSC 2011 will once again lead the way with new ideas, aspirations and inspiration.”

Pn. Khairiah Mohd Talha, Co-Organizing Chairman for MIP also highlighted, “It is very farsighted of DBKL to support this event each year, and to sponsor the attendance of representatives from Residents’ Associations throughout KL. This is an opportunity for all citizens of the city to be heard. While the best practices that we showcase through this conference may not be able to be adapted and implemented overnight, nevertheless I can certainly observe the ideas permeating into the strategic thinking and transformation of our beloved city.”

In conjunction with WCSC 2011, there will also be a photography competition entitled “My City”. Co-Organizing Chairman for PAM, Ar. Saifuddin Ahmad said, “This My City Photography Competition hopes to inspire KL dwellers and see their vision of this city through their eyes. It will be a nice kaleidoscope of photos that will give us an insight into what is treasured by them in Kuala Lumpur. There will be prizes for an Open category as well as school children, so we encourage all to participate. The winners will be announced and their photos featured at WCSC 2011.”

The organizers of WCSC 2011 have urged interested participants to come and share the possibilities for the future for our Kuala Lumpur, and to make your thoughts heard in planning for the city’s growth. This year’s Conference information and registration form can be downloaded at or call Mr. Soon Teck Giap (REHDA K.L.) at Tel: 03-7803 2978.

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