Rapid Development, Hillslope Cutting Irrefutably Cause of Penang Flood

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Flooding in Penang. 8 November 2016

FYI, New Straits Times misquoted Prof Chan Ngai Weng’s statement regarding the recent flash flood in Penang. Prof Chan posted below texts on his personal FB to clarify his statement:

“I was interviewed yesterday and this piece of news came out today in the NST. It was not a totally correct portrayal of what I said, as the writer only narrowed down to one or two reasons I mentioned as the causes of the recent floods in Penang. He played down on the other points as he chose to hit the Penang State government’s claim that hillslope cutting was not the cause of the floods
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My full report to the reporter is as follows:

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Media: George Town world heritage site under threat

George Town world heritage site under threat

Girish Sawlani reports for the Australian Broadcasting Corporation  from George Town.

Conservation activists in Malaysia’s historical city of George Town say rapid development is threatening its world heritage listing. A major row has erupted between the activists and the Penang State Government over plans to build a public transport hub next to the heritage zone.

– – – > Click here for three-minute video report

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World Streets International Advisory Council

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With one eye to laying the base for our work and collaborative programs , we are currently in the process of updating and extending this list of distinguished international colleagues, each of whom is hard at work day after day on challenges, projects and programs, alone and with others, all in support of the principles of sustainable development and equity, in cities and countries around the world.  It is our intention to have the revised and expanded version of this panel listing online in the early autumn of 2016.

The final version will include some explanatory materials  to clarify the process by which this “New Mobility Majority” is in the process of overtaking the old attitudes, approaches and policies which have been largely responsible for our gross under-performance in the sector,  all the more important as the 21st century noose tightens in terms of climate, local environment, energy supply, scarce resources, the economy, congestion, poor service quality for the majority, and the long list goes on.  (In the meantime we want to hear from you with your ideas and outstanding nominations for the panel.  And if you spot errors or omissions on the following, please get in touch and let us know.)

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FUTURE VISIONS OF PENANG : (Help wanted)

scratching-headLooking for documents which will allow us to better understand the vision of state and local government for the future of Penang. Long and short term. Both in general for the economy and land use, and for mobility, life quality and equity.

We are collecting and filing all identified reports and articles in our open public library for Sustainable Penang which you can freely visit and use athttps://goo.gl/OvZ4KX where you will find the documents thus far available in the section Future Visions of Penang.

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On O-Bahns and Penang (Let’s keep government out of the technology business)

adelaide Oi-Bahn vehicle at station

O-Bahn at station in Adelaide

On Thursday my esteemed colleague Mr. Loh Lim Lin Lee posted a note and a question to our WhatsApp Sustainable Penang forum on the topic of an O-Bahn as a possibly attractive transportation option for Penang. He wrote:

I am a huge fan of the O-Bahn in Adelaide. Extra-long buses with concertina type middles to allow turning corners running on dedicated bus lanes on normal city roads. On exiting the inner city, the bus mounts 2′ high narrow tracks that run along river embankments (to save on land purchase) locks on magnetically, runs at 100km an hour. It’s non-intrusive, quiet, totally effective. Adelaide’s population & ours share many similarities. Monorails are not cost effective for us with insufficient payload. Our tree lined roads, heritage buildings and general Penang ambience are totally incompatible with monorails.

Eric, any wise words on the O-Bahn?

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Op-ed: On the importance of a coherent planning vision

Most of what we are seeing in Penang when it comes to planning and policy in Penang is terribly familiar.  The bottom line until now at least is that overall you are not doing well, because you do not have a plan or a coherent vision to guide you.  That’s the bad news, but the good news is that you are not alone.

Montréal has never really had a coherent planning vision – they simply react to developers’ proposals.

Montreal thinks bigIn fact Penang could hardly be more lucky because there is not only abundant information on the fast-growing number of well thought out examples of cities, projects and approaches that are showing the way for sustainable transport and sustainable cities. But there is also an even longer list of examples of cities that are getting it blatantly wrong. These should be understood and integrated into the thinking and planning process of the city, just as much as the attention which must be given to understanding and adapting “best practices”. If you look closely you will see there are patterns that repeat themselves again and again. It is important to be aware of them.

Here you have an example of the city of Montréal, while doing a fair number of good things in terms of transport, public space and environment, is at the same time  suffering badly from the lack of a well thought-out understanding of how transport issues cannot be treated without full attention to land use and the structure of the city. Again painful signs of Penang. And how did this come up?

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