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Ramboll, BIG and Hijjas to design masterplan for a sustainable urban district in Malaysia

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21 September 2020

The new Penang South Islands (PSI) will be located at the south-end of Penang island. It consists of three islands, measuring a total of 4,500 acres in total land size with mixed-use districts for 15,000 to 18,000 residents. In addition, residents will be provided with approximately 4.6km of public beaches, 600 acres of parks and a 25km waterfront.

Penang State Government initiated an international design competition in January 2020 to transform Penang South Islands into a sustainable, global destination. Penang’s biodiversity spans various topographies and protected environments that have in recent years, encountered new developments that disrupt coastal zones and natural habitats. In contrast, BIG, local architect Hijjas and Ramboll’s masterplan proposal – BiodiverCity - supports the Penang 2030 vision with a clear focus on livability, to enhance the quality of life and boost the economy to raise household income and establish a framework for socially and economically inclusive development. But most importantly a development that is environmentally sustainable for the future generation.

”It is an immense honor to have been chosen to imagine this new contribution to the Malaysian archipelago. Architecture and design at its core is the art and science of giving form to our future. In no case is this more evident than here, where we are literally embarking on a journey to create more of Malaysia for future generations. We have decided to set the bar as high as humanly possible by imagining a new archipelago that aims to be both more culturally and biologically diverse than existing conditions. Says Bjarke Ingels, Founder and Creative Director, BIG-Bjarke Ingels Group.

The masterplan supports a water, air and land-based autonomous public transportation network aiming for a car free environment where streets serve as a safe and welcoming thoroughfare for bikers and pedestrian. The buildings in BiodiverCity, will be designed to perform resource efficiently and will to a large extent be constructed by low-carbon materials such as bamboo and Malaysian timber in combination with green concrete.

Bjarke Ingels continues, “BiodiverCity will have an integrated system of localized water resources, renewable energy and waste management, tied altogether in a human-made ecosystem. Rather than design a city for cars, we designed BiodiverCity for waterways, rail and different kinds of personal mobility, forming a multi-modal environment of movement. The resultant urban landscape will be a celebration of Penang's position as a truly global crossroads of the world - economically, ecologically and socially.”

Shonn Mills, Global Director, Ramboll adds “This fantastic win demonstrates how sustainability and wellness is the now a key value driver globally. We have grown our footprint in South East Asia with the partnership with Web Structures and are realizing our strategy of becoming a leading sustainability consultant in the region”
Five international teams participated in the masterplan design competition for the three reclaimed islands in the Penang South Islands project in Malaysia.

For further information, please contact:
Dan Bjerg Hansen, Chief Communications Officer, +45 2342 4870, [email protected]
Michael Stevns, Director Communications of Transport and Building, Ramboll, +45 51614846, [email protected]

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