KUALA LUMPUR, March 17 2016: A new programme aimed at creating a network of pocket parks within the KL City Centre that are designed, co-managed and used by local community was launched recently.
The initiative called Signature Park Programme was launched at Medan Imbi by Think City Sdn Bhd, a community-based urban rejuvenation organization, in partnership with Dewan Bandaraya Kuala Lumpur (DBKL).
To kick start the programme, two parks in the Medan Imbi area were identified as suitable for community-oriented rejuvenation and upgrading.
At the launch, on behalf of the Datuk Bandar of Kuala Lumpur, YBhg. Datuk Seri Hj. Mhd. Amin Nordin Bin Abd. Aziz, Executive Director (Planning) of DBKL, YBhg. Datuk Hj. Mohd Najib bin Hj. Mohd read out a speech and said “the intention for this on-ground community engagement programme is to inform and educate city dwellers and the community around Medan Imbi about the development of existing public spaces such as small, interesting parks around Kuala Lumpur’s city centre which will be managed together with the local community.”
“The upgrading of these mini parks represents a key focus programme in line with DBKL’s ambition to green public spaces for use by city residents and at the same time beautify the city of Kuala Lumpur,” he added.
Armed with the vision of making “spaces” into “places”, these green pockets will showcase the strength of public participation and the possibility of public-private partnerships in making Kuala Lumpur one of the top ten most liveable cities in the world.
Kuala Lumpur Think City Director, Lee Jia Ping said, “Kuala Lumpur has many pocket parks under one acre that have the potential to be upgraded. Most of these parks are reminiscent of old residential neighbourhoods that have since been transformed into a secondary commercial area. Some of the ‘standard’ playground equipment and facilities in the park are therefore no longer suitable for the community it serves”.
“DBKL and Think City believe that these smaller public parks present good opportunities to form community owned public spaces that would help rebuild the sense of ownership and communal living in Kuala Lumpur,” said Jia-Ping.
She added that to achieve this goal, DBKL and Think City needed to change their design methodology to include research and greater community engagement. The launch event was attended by over 200 members of the community. Visitors were asked to provide feedback for the proposed new design as well as activities they would like to have at the parks. Through this engagement, DBKL and Think City will be able to work together to turn these areas into better places to live, play and conduct business.
The first park with a working title of “Unitree” is designed for recreational and meditative purposes through the spirit of exploration and play. It also intends to unite the local community via guided community programmes such as children’s activities, exercise groups and workshops. The proposed structure to be built at the park is elevated to allow park goers to experience space at different levels. The “Unitree” house skeletal structure provides a flexible surface that can be added onto organically depending on the programme and usage.
The second park with the theme “Park and Play” is a seamless undulating urban games park with integrated communal facilities. Users are encouraged to explore the park by walking, jumping, cycling, and skating through its transformative and meandering topography. The design of the park injects active activities to promote a healthy lifestyle amongst the residents living within the area. Sporting activities such as ‘takraw’ and skating will also provide opportunities for the local community to mingle and interact. The elevated form of the park’s hardscape allows activities to take place on top of the shell as well as underneath which results in additional space for retail services and library.
“We hope that with the community’s help, these public spaces would become an integral part of KL’s identity. Our goal is to bring vibrancy to the area as well as understand the challenges faced by the community,” Jia-Ping said.
Studio Bikin is the lead designer for both parks with the main design for ‘Unitree’ coming from Studio Bikin whilst ‘Park and Play’ was designed by Studio Karya.
[Image Caption] Residents voting for their preferred park concept.