With a notion that the heart of a good community lies in its people, culture as well as the land’s natural characteristics and ecosystem, Gamuda Land mindfully integrate placemaking into its town-making through a human-centric approach that emphasises on transforming public spaces to enhance community interaction.
Defined as a process of transforming public spaces into places, effective placemaking is about creating an environment that better meet people’s expectation, address their needs and strengthen the connection between the community and the common places. Such practice also gives places a personality, making them memorable and relatable to people, thereby creating a sense of belonging among the community.
Unique Features to Cultivate a Sense of Belonging
For placemaking to be done successfully, an in-depth study and analysis of the land’s original characteristics has to be undertaken. It also needs to be complemented by a mindfully crafted masterplan following a good town planning which encompasses careful distribution of retail developments, parks, schools, commercial developments and medical centre within a town.
“To make a place, the design of the place is essential to attract people who would want to use the space. At Gamuda Land, our approach to placemaking is not only taken from an architectural perspective but also collaborative efforts with community stakeholders to create places that can fulfill community needs,” said Wong Yik Fong, General Manager of Gamuda Cove.
“Listening to what the land has to tell us is one of the guiding development principles of Gamuda Land. This applies to all our developments, including Gamuda Cove. Located in Southern Klang Valley along the ELITE Highway with proximity to the airports, Gamuda Cove is envisioned as a liveable city,” said Wong, adding that Gamuda Cove’s strategic location between the 958-acre Kuala Langat forest reserve and 1,111-acre Paya Indah Wetlands creates opportunity for the developer to blend its development concept with the lush greenery of its neighbours.
Given the track record and sustainable groundwork placed in this townships, Gamuda Land was selected to enter into a smart partnership with the Ministry of Energy and Natural Resources as the main operator of Paya Indah Discovery Wetlands. Along with Perhilitan and the Selangor State government, the developer will undertake the refurbishment, upgrading and enhancement of the facilities, amenities and activities in the beautiful wetlands.
“This partnership brings a breath of fresh air, literally, to our community. Not only does it enable our residents direct access to the wetlands, it also gives us an opportunity to rebrand Paya Indah Discovery Wetlands as Malaysia’s next eco-tourism hub, along with all other placemaking elements in Gamuda Cove,” said Wong, in the hope that their effort will help boost the region’s socio-economy with more job creation as well as fostering an active and healthy lifestyle.
Paya Indah Discovery Wetlands is home to 14 interlinked lakes and an abundance of rare wetlands flora and fauna species. To ensure the sustainability of the wetlands, Gamuda Land has conducted a biodiversity audit and found three hippopotamuses from Botswana, over 60 estuarine crocodiles, which are native to wetlands, 244 species of local and migratory birds, and many more. This audit report will serve as a baseline to monitor the environmental health of both the wetlands and Gamuda Cove.
Human-Centric Design that Embraces Social Inclusion
For placemaking to work effectively, the function of a space is equally important as its form. This requires the developer to know which components will work for the town’s community as well as understanding where these components should be placed within the town to create seamless connectivity.
“To us, a town is a community. Whether it is Gamuda Cove’s pet-friendly Central Park or the Discovery Park, our placemaking elements are built for people of different ages, physical abilities and social status. Then, we strategically positioned the home place, park place, play place, working place, shopping place to be reachable within a 10-minute walk. When we get the design right, people can gather easily and comfortably. They get to know one another, live and play together and look out for each other as a community. As meaningful relationships develop and community flourishes, that’s when we know that the town works,” Wong explained.
Besides serving as an ideal Recreational & Refreshment (R&R) centre for those travelling to and from the South of Peninsular Malaysia, the Discovery Park offers attractions with experiential activities that are open to the public. Within the 23-acre Discovery Park are the Adventure Park and Hangout Village. The Adventure Park offers thrill-seeking visitors an adrenaline rush with a host of fun activities including the Blastacars Drift Karts, a three-storey obstacle course, plus an ATV and motocross track.
The Hangout Village offers a more laidback leisure experience from shopping and dining to relaxation. Visitors can enjoy Southeast Asia’s first Cove Aerobar and the ArcHIVE Food Hall with its delectable eats.
There is also Malaysia’s first Beach Pool Club boasting the nation’s largest saltwater pool and a diving platform, suitable for chilling and partying.
Carefully curated activities take place at the Discovery Park from time to time, attracting people from all walks of life.
In the one-year since the township was launched, the developer has also created a lush 60-acre Central Park that is open to the public. The park is beautifully lighted during dusk so jogging around the 5km path overlooking the vast beautiful lake provides a sense of calmness for visitors.
Community Participation in Creating Unforgettable Experience Together
Placemaking is also about community participation in creating memorable experience together. Slated for completion by end 2021, the Splashmania water theme park is set to be the largest rainforest water theme park in Asia. With 70% of its area dedicated to green spaces filled with tropical trees, shrubs and flora, it will feature 28 exhilarating and unique slides and rides, among which will be several world firsts. From high-adrenaline multi-lane slides and rides to calmer ones like a flowing river as well as carefully curated activities, the water theme park is poised to give local and international visitors an unforgettable experience together.
Although public spaces are somewhat controversial amid the pandemic, Wong believes that with proper planning that accommodates adequate physical distancing and strict cleaning protocol, placemaking can remain relevant with the current times.
“A good community that will look after one another will serve as the backbone of recovery once the pandemic subsides. With community-centric and socially inclusive towns, driven by detailed planning and careful consideration towards the impact on the environment as well as what people truly needs, this is how we create a liveable and sustainable smart city where the community can live life to the fullest, in a place where they will want to call home, can grow up and grow old in,” concluded Wong.