World Cities Day China Observance / Shanghai Award

Penang (George City), Malaysia |  Updated:2023-11-08

Penang (George City), an important trading port with a population of 794.3 thousand in Malaysia, is a hub of industry, cultural tourism and creative economy, as well as a world cultural heritage site. Located in the northeast corner of Penang Island, the capital city of Penang Island has served as the Malaysian electronics and electrical (E & E) industrial center, and a booster to the country’s tourism industry as a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

But, the rapid urbanization and expansion have also brought about environmental problems to Penang. In order to meet the challenges of climate change and realize sustainable development, in 2018, Penang proposed the Penang 2030 Vision with a strong focus on sustainability, livability, and technology-driven smart development across various domains. The goal is to manage and implement sustainable development initiatives through technology, creating greener and bluer spaces for the local community and the region, enhancing the quality of life, and establishing a progressive, resilient, eco-friendly smart digital city.

Then, Penang carried out pertinent activities to achieve the goal. The city prioritized Green Connectivity and Mobility projects to create a safe and convenient integrated transportation system, improve urban accessibility and overall quality of life, and reduced carbon emissions by about 2,900 metric tons. To meet climate change challenges, including rising temperatures, drought, urban heat islands and rising sea level, it launched a Nature-Based Climate Adaptation Program in which a set of components has been implemented: increasing urban greening to reduce heat, using green corridors to manage rainwater, and strengthening social resilience and institutional capacity. The city also promoted electrification and the installation of electric vehicles and renewable energy equipment, such as free electric motorcycle charging stations and solar panels, to encourage the transition to energy-efficient operation and create a low-carbon, liveable, and smart city while addressing climate concerns.

In terms of smart city development, Penang used the digital Twin Cities platform to assess the feasibility, infrastructure needs and sustainability of new projects. This platform integrates advanced technology, intelligent infrastructure and digital solutions to improve the quality of life of the residents. It also established an open data portal, e-procurement system, smart city plan, and cooperation with non-governmental organizations to improve the efficiency, transparency and citizen participation of governance. The city promoted e-commerce in various ways, such as the "Let's Buy Online" campaign, providing an online trading platform for merchants and consumers, and the launch of PEARL Application, an integrated app offering multi-channel solutions, supporting online payments, shopping, etc.

Penang funded all these projects and plans through public-private partnerships, private financing and performance-based contracts. The city is also actively promoting community-building projects, such as the Safe Home Program, the Garbage-Free Penang Project, and the Penang "Green Connector", to increase the urban cohesion.

Aiming at Penang 2030 Vision, through its unremitting efforts, Penang has garnered economic vitality and urban prosperity, strengthened city safety and climate adaption, promoted green and sustainable development, improved the quality of life of vulnerable groups, and developed advanced platforms for public participation in decision-making and community practice.


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