A Tale of Two Rivers: Kuala Lumpur
In Kuala Lumpur the regeneration of the city’s Klang River is seen as a key element in the modernisation of the whole country. The capital city is keen to attract talent workers and tourists from all over Asia and beyond. But the historic downtown heart of Kuala Lumpur has become run down, the home to migrant workers from Bangladesh and Myanmar, while the economic focus has moved to the ring of steel and glass skyscrapers on the outskirts. Regenerate the Klang, the thinking goes, and downtown will come to life again.
So, as with Los Angeles, there are serious moves to clean up the river, to encourage citizens to walk and cycle sections of its banks and to educate people to think differently about the river in ways that will lessen pollution.
But questions remain. How to secure vital community involvement? How to make public/private partnerships and also protect the rights of local people? How to get city workers out of their cars? And, how to sustain government funding?
(Photo: Local politician Ong Kian Ming on the Klang River, Kuala Lumpur)