Is this what we want for Penang? This is the sort of density that could be approved for a string of new projects in the pipeline.
This is what 87 units per acre looks like (click on graphic to enlarge). The Penang Forum Steering Committee showed these images to the Chief Minister during their meeting with him last Sunday in a bid to illustrate what is in store for Penang.
Can you imagine how our roads will cope – especially when the independence of traffic impact assessment reports is suspect? At the moment, a separate TIA is required for each new property development project. (These are usually prepared by consultants hired by the developer. Independent?) But what is really needed is an independent collective TIA for all new property development projects coming up in a particular area to measure the overall impact on traffic in that area.
And yet, new projects across the Island are seeking approval for 87 units per acre – this is close to three times more than what was previously allowed.
Places like Jelutong and Kelawai Road could eventually look like this:
I doubt if this sort of high-density development was ever envisaged in the Penang Island Local Plan, which the MPPP approved in 2008. If at all there is provision for higher density, it would be in areas which are deemed to be transit nodes. But where are the transit nodes? How can we even think of such high density without the public transport infrastructure in place?
That is why the Penang Forum called on the Chief Minister to implement the much-delayed Penang Island Local Plan.
The Chief Minister responded by saying that the Special Area Plan for the George Town heritage area has to be completed first so that it doesn’t conflict with the Local Plan.
There was some discussion about whether the implementation process for both plans could be done simultaneously.
In any case, as the SAP process is close to completion, the Penang Forum Steering Committee called for the Local Plan to be expedited as the situation is urgent.
If the argument is that higher density projects are needed for affordable housing, we have already seen quite a few high-density projects. Do you really think that high-density projects will translate to more affordable housing – or will it simply result in increased profits for developers?