KL's Great New Address

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Everything about Kuala Lumpur’s new address – the River of Life (ROL) – looks just great! The competition winning masterplan for the Malaysian capital’s ROL project – by internationally renowned engineer-architect firm AECOM of the United States – reestablishes the lost connections of the urban fabric with the Klang and Gombak rivers as well as from one district to another.

Currently, the final masterplan is being finalised by AECOM in collaboration with local authorities and industry stakeholders. The intention is to create a harmonious environment that raises the quality of life and creates a fresh address of KL.

The ROL will involve four phases and 11 precincts. The precincts cover river corridors in Titiwangsa, Pekeliling, Putra World Trade Centre, Sime Darby loop, Dang Wangi, Raja Laut, Masjid Jamek, KL Railway Station, Brickfields, KL Sentral and Seputeh.

Phase 1 (comprising precincts 1 and 7) will involve development of eco-parks and mixed-use eco-villages, commercial mixeduse infill projects and river improvements. Phase 2 (precincts 2, 9, 10) will include transit oriented development around light rail transit and the river, and public housing. Phase 3 (precincts 3,  will involve Putra World Trade Centre and river improvements, and adaptive reuse of the KL Railway Station. And Phase 4 (precincts 4, 5, 6, 11) will cover development of New Canal@Quayside, East Gateway, New City Centre, South Gateway Festival Plaza and public housing.

KL City Hall plans to commence construction in precinct 7 by December 2012. It is expected to cover the Masjid Jamek area where the Klang and Gombak rivers converge and which is important heritage-wise.

AECOM will work with the River of Life Joint Development Committee to draw up a comprehensive masterplan for the 10.7km stretch of the river as well as a detailed proposal for precinct 7.

The overall design will involve connecting historic places from where the entire KL started, from tin mining to British colonial times to the Japanese Occupation and to how the city grew. It will connect people such as communities in Brickfields, Tiong Nam area and Kampung Baru. At the same time, the connectivity will provide recreation opportunities such as jogging, biking, festivals and food fairs along river banks.

The idea is also to activate heritage related to the birth of KL. This will involve providing places and buildings, which are currently not connected, with continuous and conducive pathways. Among these are Pasar Seni, Bangunan Sultan Abdul Samad court building, Dataran Merdeka and Masjid Jamek. To connect, AECOM aims to achieve 60 per cent use of public transport compared to 10 per cent at present by encouraging residents to park-and-ride to work.It also intends to make the ROL 100 per cent transit accessible. As the river flows through adjacent to many historic places and buildings, AECOM wants people to remember the city’s rich historical, cultural and heritage values.

In addition, it will consider economic aspects such as tourist attractions, food and beverage and entertainment outlets, employment opportunities and enhancement of property values riverside and in the vicinity. To regenerate and unlock real estate values, there are plans to reprogramme and reuse empty land parcels and dilapidated buildings to make the place a lively address.


There will also be iconic waterfront developments to rejuvenate the city, all the way from Gombak in the north down to Mid Valley City in the south. Such waterfront developments will be similar to those in global cities like Melbourne, Paris, London, New York and Singapore.

Other proposals include river cruises where foreign visitors to KL for the first time can cruise from one end of the river to the other end to get to know the city’s history and culture and the people of Malaysia.

This article was written by Ali Zara for The Expat magazine
Source: The Expat January 2012

This article has been edited for
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