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Kuala Lumpur Structure Plan 2020



1 Introduction

2 International and National Context of Growth

3 Vision and Goals of Kuala Lumpur

4 Economic Base and Population

5 Income and Quality of Life

6 Land Use and Development Strategy

7 Commerce

8 Tourism

9 Industry

10 Transportation

11 Infrastructure and Utilities

12 Housing

13 Community Facilities

14 Urban Design and Landscape
  14.1 Introduction
  14.2 Existing situation and issue
    14.2.1 Urban form
    14.2.2 Urban linkages
    14.2.3 Urban identity
    14.2.4 Urban design policies
  14.3 Objective
  14.4 Policy and proposal
    14.4.1 Urban form
    14.4.2 Urban linkages
    14.4.3 Urban identity
    14.4.4 Urban design guidelines

15 Environment

16 Special Areas

17 Strategic Zone

18 Implementation



14.1 Introduction

663. Urban design addresses both the functional and aesthetic aspects of the City’s built environment. Aesthetics, being the traditional concern of urban design can only be more meaningful when combined with other considerations to generate an environment that is visually pleasant, convenient, comfortable and which conveys a sense of place, pride and belonging. Urban design activities and efforts will seek to develop a policy framework and guidelines so as to create a desirable living environment and an appropriate city image and identity.
664. Like most cities in the developing world, Kuala Lumpur has grown at a phenomenal rate driven primarily by the need to create wealth. As Malaysia moves toward a developed status, Kuala Lumpur has experienced rapid development which has left a city that is, in many respects, disjointed and lacking in visual and physical coherence. Consequently there has been a decrease in the legibility of the city structure together with a certain loss of historical continuum and sense of identity.
665. The ethnic and cultural composition of a city determines its character as much as, if not more than, its physical manifestations, and should therefore form urban design considerations. Kuala Lumpur’s vibrant multi-ethnic and multi-cultural society will provide the stimulus to guide urban design initiatives to create a distinct and unique city identity, which will enable people to identify more closely with the City and each other, thus fostering a sense of community and social harmony.

14.2 Existing situation and issue
 14.2.1  Urban form
 a)  View corridors and gateways
 i.  Existing situation

666. Six main view corridors from major roads leading into Kuala Lumpur have been identified as illustrated in Figure 14.1. Main gateways or arrival points are also identified together with important city landmark buildings, which are the focal points of views of the City. These gateways are not properly defined and, therefore, their potential as significant arrival points has not been realised.

 ii.  Issue

  • Some City gateways lack sufficient definition as points of arrival.

 b)  Streetscape
 i.  Existing situation

667. The road system has been developed in a piecemeal fashion and therefore, linkages between major and minor roads lack clarity in movement pattern. Similarly, piecemeal development has adversely affected the quality of streetscapes, that is the overall character and continuity of streets as represented by pavements, building frontages, street lighting and other forms of street furniture.

Photo 14.1: Piecemeal development has adversely affected the quality of streetscapes...

 ii.  Issue

  • A lack of clarity in the movement pattern particularly in relation to on / off ramps and one-way systems; and

• Lack of streetscape consistency and landscape amenity along major roads.

Figure 14.1 : Main Gateways

 c)  Skyline and landmarks
 i.  Existing situation

668. In recent years, a few important structures, notably the Petronas Twin Towers and KL Tower, have been added which have significantly altered the character of Kuala Lumpur’s skyline. However, the organic growth of Kuala Lumpur and particularly the recent rapid growth and scattering of new urban development within the City Centre has resulted in a city, which has no planned formal large-scale visual structures.

 ii.  Issue

  • Lack of planned formal large-scale visual structures.

 d)  Visual linkages in the city centre
 i.  Existing situation

669. The identified main visual corridors and linkages within the City Centre together with its landmark buildings are shown in Figure 14.2.
670. The linear nature of the old city and its small-scale grid patterns have created some smaller view corridors and axes. Generally, for the City Centre, the broader visual linkages are not well developed.

 ii.  Issue

  • Lack of broad visual linkages in the City Centre.

 14.2.2  Urban linkages
 a)  Green network
 i.  Existing situation

671. A continuous network of open spaces was envisaged by the KLSP 1984. Major open spaces were created by linking together a network of smaller open spaces with river and drain reserves. In addition to providing more landscaped open spaces, CHKL has also successfully implemented a programme of tree planting along major roads. However, there are still areas where the network is incomplete.

 ii.  Issue

  • Incomplete green network.

 b)  Urban spaces, nodes, plazas and parks
 i.  Existing situation

672. Apart from the larger scale metropolitan parks and forest reserves, there are some plazas and smaller parks such as Merdeka Square and the KLCC parklands that are major contributors to the amenity of the City. However, there are many areas in the City where there is a lack of such spaces especially within the City Centre, district and neighbourhood centres.

 ii.  Issue

  • Lack of urban parks and open spaces in the City Centre, district and neighbourhood centres.
673. Places for informal civic uses and cultural performances can help to bring life back onto the streets and provide opportunities for street artistes to display their skills. There are a few such places notably at Taman Titiwangsa and Jalan Masjid India but generally, the facilities are inadequate and unsuitable.

• Lack of informal places for civic and cultural uses in the City Centre.

 c)  Pedestrian linkages
 i.  Existing situation

674. A major deficiency, especially in the City Centre, is the lack of pedestrian linkages. Activities such as unlicensed hawkers and vendors encroach into pedestrian walkways while some buildings do not permit public access across their property boundaries thus, leaving little or no space for pedestrian movement. In recent years, there has been a gradual improvement in the provision of pedestrian linkages in newer buildings but the shortcomings of earlier development remain. Similarly, not many buildings provide pedestrians with proper protection from the sun and rain.

Figure 14.2 : Visual linkages in the city centre
675. To overcome some of these problems, a pedestrian network is progressively being implemented for the City Centre intended to facilitate pedestrian movement at activity centres, encourage transit usage and provide restraint to private vehicles in certain areas by giving priority to pedestrian movement rather than cars. In addition, footpath widening, landscape treatment including tree planting, the provision of safer road crossings, the removal of high kerb obstacles and other enhancement projects within the City Centre have been initiated to facilitate and promote pedestrianisation.

 ii.  Issue

  • Lack of legible pedestrian patterns;

• Lack of continuity of pedestrian and open space linkages; and

• General lack of amenity and provision for pedestrians.
676. Elsewhere, major road and rail infrastructure has, in many places, effectively divided adjacent areas or neighbourhoods that remain physically close but virtually inaccessible to each other.

• Major road and rail infrastructure have disconnected links between adjacent areas.

 14.2.3  Urban identity
 a)  Urban character areas
 i.  Existing situation

677. The main identity areas in the City Centre are broadly defined as eight sectors, each with their own specific characteristics. These areas have grown partly as a consequence of natural landform, the hills and the river valleys and partly, as a consequence of human intervention, notably the eastern area. The main identity areas are indicated in Figure 14.3.
678. Over time, development has led to a gradual deterioration in the definition of these identity areas. In particular, new infrastructure such as roads and the LRT system have not been sensitively integrated into established character areas.

Photo 14.2: The main identity areas in the City Centre are broadly defined as eight sectors, each with their own specific characteristics.

 ii.  Issue

  • Lack of definition of identity areas; and

• Major new infrastructure which is not, in some instances, sensitively integrated with the overall urban design pattern.

 b)  Conservation areas
 i.  Existing situation

679. At present, the preservation and conservation programme covers historic buildings and landmarks through the formulation of policies and guidelines, evaluation of planning applications and advice to developers, owners and agencies involved in conservation works. The programme has been successful in preserving and conserving important buildings, but the maintenance of the character of conservation areas has been less successful.

Figure 14.3 : Urban character areas in the city centre

 ii.  Issue

  • Deterioration in the character of conservation areas.

 c)  Architectural character
 i.  Existing situation

680. The rapid recent growth of the City has resulted in many exciting new developments with a wide range of architectural expression. However, the developments have often been insensitive to their context and have not integrated successfully with the surroundings. This lack of harmony and awkward juxtaposition of buildings is particularly noticeable at street level.
681. Many of the new high-rise buildings also pay scant regard to the tropical climate or take appropriate measures to conserve building energy. Architectural expression is, with a few notable exceptions, neither evocative of Malaysia’s cultural background nor its tropical environment.

 ii.  Issue

  • Unsympathetic intrusion of new developmentinto traditional character areas and the awkward juxtaposition of new development in relation to each other and existing development; and

• Design of many new buildings is not sympathetic to the climate.

 14.2.4  Urban design policies
 i.  Existing situation

682. The KLSP 1984 formulated general policies related to landscape, townscape and conservation which were generally appropriate. However, implementation of these policies was limited by the lack of follow-up instruments such as Local Plans as well as urban design plans and development guidelines.

 ii.  Issue

  • Absence of an overall urban design framework and guidelines.
683. Currently there is no single body with overall responsibility for devising or implementing urban design policies. The responsibilities are variously divided among the architectural, landscaping, conservation and urban transport departments.

• Absence of a single body with overall responsibility for devising, coordinating and implementing urban design policies.

14.3 Objective

684. To enhance the city living environment, CHKL aims to:

• create a memorable and highly imageable city which engenders a strong sense of ownership and pride and gives appropriate expression to its vision as A World-Class City;

• create a city which is highly legible and comprehensible to its users to enable more effective use of its facilities and a fuller appreciation of its visual and other environmental qualities;

• create an environment which is functional and liveable, safe, clean, aesthetically pleasing and user friendly, offering a high level of climatic comfort and sense of well being; and

• create a city that is highly accessible for all its occupants and users, in particular one that is pedestrian and handicapped friendly.
685. To create a distinctive city identity and image for Kuala Lumpur, CHKL aims to:

• create a Tropical Garden City sensitive to its natural site and appropriate to its tropical regional location;

• create an environment which is rich in its diversity of both built and natural forms and spaces and in the range of inspirational, visual and sensual experiences; and

• create a city which conserves the best of its architectural and cultural heritage and which offers a rich blend of both the modern and traditional.

14.4 Policy and proposal
 14.4.1  Urban form
 a)  View corridors and gateways

686. Prominent hills and landmark buildings are the prime elements for the orientation and establishment of scale within Kuala Lumpur. The major view corridors in the City relative to hill and landmark buildings must be identified, preserved and enhanced.
687. Gateways are transitional zones on the City’s perimeter that enhance the sense of arrival for those entering the City. Similarly, vistas of the City, together with sequential visual experiences along major road corridors leading towards the City Centre, assist in orientation.

UD 1 : CHKL shall ensure the protection and enhancement of the City’s gateways and major vistas.

Photo 14.3: CHKL shall ensure the protection and enhancement of the City’s gateways and major vistas.
UD 2 : CHKL shall maintain and enhance the character and sequence of visual experiences along the major road corridors in particular those that focus on the City Centre.
688. The major road corridors need to be enhanced and augmented by establishing new corridors, especially in the City Centre, to further aid orientation.

UD 3 : CHKL shall enhance the definition of existing view corridors and where practicable establish new corridors within the City Centre.
689. There are important views and vistas from rail-based transportation, which enable passengers to appreciate the City as they travel. These views are important as orientating devices and also as a means of comprehending the City as a whole and should therefore be preserved and enhanced.

UD 4 : CHKL shall maintain and enhance the sequence of orientating views from rail-based transport routes.
690. The implementation of transport and utility systems has not taken into account urban design considerations and has adversely affected the appearance of some areas of the City.

UD 5 : CHKL shall ensure that urban design considerations are taken into account in the planning, design and implementation of transportation and utility service systems and structures.

 b)  Streetscape

691. The legibility of a city is very important to help people orientate themselves both from within and outside the city. Streetscape treatments that create memorable urban corridors and nodal spaces can help to reinforce the basic legibility of the road system. The treatment of roads and their frontages could include, amongst other devices, the theming of planting, hardscape, street furniture and signage. The pattern of major road linkages that will provide greater coherence and legibility for the City Centre is shown in Figure 14.4.

UD 6 : CHKL shall implement measures to improve the visual definition, continuity and streetscape character of the major road network, to provide greater coherence and legibility within the urban areas.

 c)  Skyline, Landmarks and Building Heights

692. A distinctive skyline gives identity to a major city. Landmark buildings that are instantly recognisable and unique, further reinforce this identity. The City skyline and landmarks serve not only as orientating devices but also impart a sense of identity, belonging and pride to the people of Kuala Lumpur. The skyline of the City Centre must be developed in a co-coordinated way that avoids visual congestion and clutter while retaining and enhancing important vistas and views of major landmarks (refer Figure 14.5).

UD 7 : CHKL shall ensure the retention and enhancement of important views of the City’s skyline and landmarks visible from urban centres and public open spaces outside the City Centre.
693. Additional strategically located landmark buildings or structures particularly in the south of Kuala Lumpur will further help to accent the City Centre skyline and provide important visual references from major view corridors.

UD 8 : CHKL shall encourage the development of additional major landmark buildings or complexes at key locations.
694. The height of buildings needs to be controlled in certain critical areas of the City so as to protect views of important landmarks, vistas and view corridors. Higher buildings may be used to accent important nodal points and major entry/ arrival zones, while other buildings should be scaled appropriately to harmonise with existing traditional or proposed lower rise development or particular special character precincts.

UD 9 : CHKL shall control building heights to ensure the visual primacy of certain designated areas in the City Centre, the protection of special character areas and the accenting of entry gateways and activity nodes.
695. The hills surrounding Kuala Lumpur provide important visual backdrops to the City. The contrasting heavy vegetation growth and landmark hills in Wangsa Maju, northern Setapak, Damansara, Penchala and parts of Bukit Indah, Bandar Tun Razak and Bukit Jalil need to be identified, enhanced and maintained by improved definition, use and perception of their edges and slopes.

UD 10 : CHKL shall ensure the retention and enhancement of major treed areas and hill ridges as visual backdrops, orientating elements and landscape amenity.

 14.4.2  Urban linkages
 a)  Green network

696. The continuous open space network policy of the KLSP 1984 will be expanded and intensified. A framework of landscaped connections utilizing road, rail and river corridors, infrastructure and utility reserves, parks, plazas and widened landscaped street verges will connect major parks and provide a focus for the residential communities through which it passes (refer Figure 14.6).

UD 11 : CHKL shall provide a continuous green network of open spaces.

Figure 14.4 : Proposed streetscape in the city centre

Figure 14.5 : Proposed building height zone in the city centre

Figure 14.6 : Proposed green network

Photo 14.4: A framework of landscaped connections utilizing road, rail and river corridors, utility reserves, parks, plazas and widened landscaped street verges will connect major parks...

 b)  Urban Space, Nodes, Plazas and Parks

697. Urban space, nodes, plazas and pocket parks are important in providing identity, structure and landscape amenity to the City. Some spaces such as pocket parks are passive in nature and provide breathing spaces in the City while others such as plazas can be more dynamic and mark major nodal activity areas where there is a confluence of people. Additional parks and plazas will be created in areas where there is a deficiency and which are likely to be developed.

UD 12 : CHKL shall develop pocket parks and plazas in the City Centre and urban centres.
698. Places where informal cultural performances can take place add to the richness of city living by bringing life back onto the streets.

UD 13 : CHKL shall provide and designate places for informal civic and cultural use in the City Centre.
699. Certain areas, for example high-class residential areas, have a predominantly wooded character. Development within these areas must be carefully controlled to ensure that their character is maintained. There are also small groups of isolated mature trees occurring in many parts of the City that are landmarks in their own right and which
must be preserved.

UD 14 : CHKL shall retain and maintain mature trees found in all areas and ensure that the character of designated areas which have a preponderance of mature trees is preserved.

Photo 14.5: ...plazas and pocket parks are important in providing identity, structure and landscape amenity to the City.

 c)  River Corridors

700. Sungai Klang and Sungai Gombak provide an opportunity to create a significant amenity, which also need to be recognised as one of the symbolic element to the historical existence of Kuala Lumpur. A comprehensive plan for the river corridors shall be prepared to maximize their amenity value. The plan will incorporate pedestrian walkways, cycle ways, pocket parks and other urban spaces that connect to the green and pedestrian networks. Guidelines will be formulated for development along the river corridors, together with measures to make the rivers more attractive.

UD 15 : CHKL shall designate river corridors, implement measures to improve the amenity value of the rivers and implement guidelines for developments within or abutting the river corridors.

Photo 14.6: CHKL shall designate river corridors, implement measures to improve the amenity value of the rivers...

 d)  Pedestrian Linkages

701. The pedestrianisation policy will be continued and extended in the City Centre and other urban centres in a more comprehensive manner including creating pedestrian master plans for new and existing areas. In the City Centre, two major pedestrian networks are proposed which are illustrated in Figure 14.7. This system, together with the road linkage opportunities indicated in Figure 14.4, forms the pedestrian and landscape structure for the City Centre.

702. An urban street network using active street frontages will link the existing major shopping areas together with pedestrian linkages which are clearly identified, convenient and enlivened by shops, restaurants, outdoor eating areas and tourist activities. The urban network will include pedestrian malls inside buildings linking activity nodes, transport stops and interchanges, parks, plazas and historical areas to provide continuity of access throughout the City.
703. A parallel ‘green’ pedestrian network, away from the main streets and utilising parts of the green network (refer Figure 14.6); will provide slower paced and more informal alternative routes.

Photo 14.7: An urban network using active street frontages will link the existing major shopping areas together with pedestrian linkages...
704. At a local precinct scale, these networks will be integrated into a highly permeable system radiating from the existing and proposed transit interchanges and terminals and activity centres.
705. Within this overall structure, landscaping and the design of street and park furniture will be themed and varied to give character and emphasis to the various linkages and elements of the system.
706. The handicapped and the aged must be able to negotiate the pedestrian network with relative ease. The use of drop kerbs, ramps, textured surfaces and other devices will be extended throughout the pedestrian network. CHKL will ensure that new development connected to the pedestrian network also incorporate such measures.

UD 16 : CHKL shall designate and implement pedestrian friendly street networks and green pedestrian networks within the City Centre, urban centres, major activity nodes and areas surrounding transit nodes which also cater for the needs of the aged and the handicapped.

Figure 14.7 : Proposed pedestrian linkages in the city centre
707. Shelter from the sun and rain must be provided wherever possible and in particular, in areas of high pedestrian activity and around transit stations. Such protective shelters need to be fully integrated into the general streetscape.

UD 17 : CHKL shall construct a system of continuous covered walkways linking major activity centres in the City and in areas of high pedestrian activity.
708. In areas separated by major road or rail infrastructure, pedestrian connections will be provided at key crossover points selected to be of greatest benefit to the residents on both sides. Such connections must be comfortable, attractive and properly designed to provide shelter from the sun and rain and be easily accessible to all users.

UD 18 : CHKL shall ensure the adequate provision of pedestrian connections where major road or rail infrastructure has disconnected linkages between adjacent areas.

 14.4.3  Urban identity
 a)  Distinctive urban areas

709. The character and distinctiveness of districts and local precincts are important in providing interest, texture and structure to the urban form as well as increasing the sense of belonging. This character can result from particular activities or from attractive historic, cultural, architectural, landscape or townscape features.

710. Areas with an attractive character and strong sense of identity must be maintained and enhanced and, where practicable, other areas are upgraded to provide an improved sense of identity and place. Within the City Centre in particular, there is a rich diversity of identity areas and it is important that these should be knit together into a vibrant, coherent and highly imageable city form.

UD 19 : CHKL shall define, conserve and enhance distinctive identity areas in the City Centre, district and local precincts.

 b)  Conservation areas

711. Preservation and conservation of the best of the City’s architectural and cultural heritage will be continued so as to retain the diversity and distinctiveness of the different ethnic precincts. Conservation guidelines will be extended to cover new development in the vicinity of conservation areas to make sure that it is complementary in scale and character (refer Figure 14.8).

UD 20 : CHKL shall designate the conservation of areas, places, landscapes and structures of historical and architectural value and significance, and ensure that all developments in their vicinity are sympathetic in form, scale and character.

 c)  Architectural character

712. The architecture of a city can tell much about its climate as well as its people and their values. While urban design and planning provides the framework for the city, its buildings are the dominant physical presence. The architecture of Kuala Lumpur should not only reflect its technological and global aspirations but also its tropical location by responding in meaningful ways to the need to provide comfort both inside and outside and to be energy efficient. Buildings should also be responsive to the built and natural environment and contribute positively to the urban landscape.

UD 21 : CHKL shall ensure a high standard of architectural design appropriate to the City’s regional tropical setting and sympathetic to the built and natural context.

Figure 14.8 : Proposed historical zone in the city centre
713. The Malay Reservation Areas, traditional kampungs and new villages are areas with a distinctive history, culture and ethnic composition. New development and improvement initiatives should reflect the special status of these areas in the fabric of the City by incorporating design elements that are reflective of their traditional character.

UD 22 : CHKL shall ensure that the redevelopment of Malay Reservation Areas, traditional kampungs and New Villages incorporate design elements that are reflective of their historical and traditional character.

 14.4.4  Urban design guidelines

714. A complete urban design framework for the whole of Kuala Lumpur with particular reference to the City Centre and other urban centres will be formulated. This framework will form the basis for a comprehensive set of urban design guidelines to direct improvement initiatives and future development in the City.
715. As urban design will assume a new significance in the planning and design of the City, it is appropriate that a special administrative body is formed with the purpose of coordinating with all related internal and external departments.

UD 23 : CHKL shall draw up an Urban Design Framework together with a comprehensive set of Urban Design Guidelines to ensure public safety and health and designate a body responsible for implementation and coordination with other relevant authorities.