Compact city model

A high-density and compact city form will be an ideal development pattern for Penang island as it is facing a shortage of land.

Penang Municipal Councillor Ng Chek Siang said Penang island was facing a shortage of land.

He said that forest reserves and hill land covered an estimated 52% of the island.

“Our current density/plot ratio is too low (1:5) compared to Singapore (1:12), Hong Kong (1:15) and Kuala Lumpur (1:10),” he said.

He said there were several advantages of having a high density and compact city form for the state.

“A compact city has population densities that are great enough to operate and maintain a sustainable public transport system,” he said during the Penang Municipal Council meeting held at the City Hall recently.

He said a compact city form could also create more efficient land use and would be more cost-effective in providing public services and facilities.

“In terms of transportation, Hong Kong has one of the lowest energy consumption per capita in the world.

“High density maximises the effectiveness of public transport while minimising the distance between the sites of day-to-day activities,” he said.

He added that it could also reduce energy and infrastructure costs.

“I also strongly recommend that plot ratio be used as a measure to determine the gross floor area in residential units per acre.

“It means that the developer can build smaller units and increase the affordable housing supply on the island to suit our future needs,” he said. - By The Star


July 31, 2012 at 11:39 AMjack1981

increase density/plot ratio only in City but not suburb places please.

July 31, 2012 at 1:18 PMcondomana

Hi jack1981,

For such a small place like Penang, it is difficult to draw a line between city/suburb. Development density depends on what type of zoning your area falls under. A primary zone can have a higher density than a secondary zone. But a secondary zone can be quietly rezoned to a primary zone by the state gov if they think their "friendly" developers/land owners need the density to make more money....:D

Mr Ng was not wrong to point out that higher population density is needed to have a sustainable public transport system. But the state has not been transparent in sharing with the people (or they might not even have one) the "BLUE PRINT" of how development is going to happen in the next 20-30 years. Without a blueprint, development will go haphazard. So in the end, you might have the density, but you will not achieve optimal public transport utilization, and therefore failure to achieve a sustainable public transport system.

July 31, 2012 at 5:33 PMUnknown

Typical business man...looking at development opportunities for his developer relatives and in Hong Kong. He does not mention the horrible pollution of Hong Kong , one of the worst in the world, because of the buildings blocking clean air and forming canyons of pollution.Penang makes money from tourists who will leave as the island becomes even more polluted as the current horrible motor cycle and car pollution increases and density further destroys what was once a pleasant destination

July 31, 2012 at 6:28 PMbeehui

I agreed with Ton Jos. The first time I went to HK, I did not have the good feeling standing in between those tightly and densely built high skyscrapers. And I even found it difficult to find a place where I can step on the real ground. I just don't think such compact city model is the way Penang should move towards. It's definitely NO NO NO. I am rather glad that after Penang got its heritage status, there are regulations and restrictions for mass development of high skyscrapers. In fact I like sky scrapers, but not densely and tightly built. Penang is obviously not a place for high density high skyscraper due to the scarce land.

One question that should be questioned is: does Penang still hunger for so much residential units? It seems to me that there are still many vacant units and why still developing so much residential projects for the investors? Just to blow the bubble?

August 1, 2012 at 7:38 AMPenang Fan

We just simply don't have the infra structure built for high density living.

The State will do injustice to the future of Penang by allowing a higher density development. More pollution and traffic jam will affect the quality of life beside chasing away tourists.

We need to improve our mass transit problem first.

August 1, 2012 at 9:13 AMDD

Still plenty of land at Balik pulau and mainland Penang. What Penang desperately is much better road system. The so called Coastal highway at FIZ is full of traffic lights.