Thursday, 15 February 2018

(The Star) Shaping a unique identity from Klang‘s golden past

Klang will get a boost to its image and become a better place to live in if a study by university students finds its way to the relevant authorities.

Known as the Klang City Rejuvenation project, the students of the Architecture, Building and Design School at Taylor’s University conducted a study on the royal town to give it an identity in tandem with its rich history.

Senior lecturer Dr Camelia Kusumo, who led the project, said Klang was chosen for the study because of its golden past as one of the oldest towns in the country, its rapid development and easy connectivity to Kuala Lumpur and other parts of the Klang Valley.

The town, she said, also had much to offer in terms of architecture, food and culture.

“The study was aimed at giving Klang a unique identity, which the royal town is clearly lacking owing to various reasons,” she said

The study, Dr Camelia said, complemented the initiatives of the Klang Chinese Chambers of Commerce under its Klang Rejuvenation Project, which was launched in January last year with the aim to raise the town’s liveability standards.

Playing an advisory role in the study was Think City, the subsidiary of Khazanah National Bhd.

Turning Jalan Raya Timur into an educational hub is among the proposals made in the study by Taylor‘s University.

Dr Camelia said the study covered three areas in the royal town – the waterfront in North Klang, nearby the former Sri Intan cinema; Jalan Raya Timur where several abandoned colonial buildings and the railway station are located; and Jalan Tengku Kelana which is part of Klang’s Little India.

“The outcome of the study includes proposals to turn Jalan Raya Timur into an educational hub as it is close to the train station,” she added.

Heffrence Teow, who led the study on the urban rejuvenation project at South Klang, said the study also covered the beautification of the riverfront.

Under the urban design strategy that revolves around the notion of gentrification, which is the transformation of neighbourhoods from low to high value, Teow said Jalan Raya Timur was an ideal location for a campus town.

He said the idea could be divided into three parts, the first being the introduction of an institution with the intention to bring in new communities and lively energy into the area.

“The second part is to complement it with subsidiary facilities such as accommodation and an amphitheatre along the riverside, to revitalise the greenery and strike a live-and-play balance in the congested township.

“The third part is to turn Jalan Raya Timur into a more pedestrian-friendly place with wider passageway at shopfronts and artificial seating contour on the other side.

“This is to re-market the street as pedestrian-friendly, vibrant and energetic, contrary to its current image,” said Sanjeeva Rao, who headed the study along Jalan Tengku Kelana that has been identified as a primary road connecting north and south Klang.

Sanjeeva said although it served as the main access point to adjacent businesses and a major celebration point during Indian festivals, its peripheral roads and businesses lacked visitors.

Spreading the vitality of Jalan Tengku Kelana to adjacent roads, he said, was necessary to revitalise the neighbouring businesses, create more job opportunities and ease traffic congestion.

“One of the proposals is to clean up the five-foot paths by limiting the goods showcased to only one side of the walkway, thereby allowing a smoother flow of pedestrians,” he said.

The second proposal is to move all street vendors, such as astrologers as well as flower and food traders, to a centralised venue that offers a safer platform for shoppers.

The third proposal is to create a low-cost parking complex equipped with a garden and leisure spot at both ends of Jalan Tengku Kelana.

Another proposal, he added, was to carry out a study on the pollution of Sungai Klang, stretching from Shah Alam to Port Klang.