Penang and Think City sign agreement with Aga Khan Trust for three-year collaboration

Penang Chief Minister Lim Guan Eng and His Highness the Aga Khan (standing) at the signing ceremony in Chantilly, France.
Penang Chief Minister Lim Guan Eng and His Highness the Aga Khan (standing) at the signing ceremony in Chantilly, France.

GEORGE TOWN, Oct 16 — Think City Sdn Bhd and the Aga Khan Trust for Culture (AKTC) will be expanding their existing partnership by collaborating with Penang.

The state signed a three-year management collaboration agreement with Think City Sdn Bhd and AKTC in Chantilly, France today.

The signing of the agreement, between Chief Minister of Penang (Incorporation) (CMI), Think City and AKTC, was witnessed by His Highness Prince Karim Aga Khan IV and Penang Chief Minister Lim Guan Eng.

The collaboration agreement is an expansion of an existing partnership between Think City and AKTC in a memorandum of understanding (MoU) signed in November 2013.

In the initial MoU, AKTC provided technical assistance to Think City for the protection, development and enhancement of the George Town World Heritage Site which resulted in a Strategic Master Plan (SMP) and identification of significant projects in the Heritage Zone for conservation and development.

According to Lim, these are now being incorporated into the George Town Special Area Plan.

“Accompanying the SMP are recommendations for the policies and actions to be pursued with regard to land use, conservation and development, traffic, infrastructure, and institutional management,” he said in a press release issued from France regarding the signing of the agreement with AKTC.

The new collaboration would see the expansion of the scope of the MoU and an extension of the partnership for another three years.

“CMI, AKTC and Think City are expected to contribute significantly to the regeneration of George Town, particularly through the establishment of a project implementation vehicle known as George Town Conservation and Development Corporation (GTCDC), and the training of young professionals in the conservation and sustainable development of the city heritage,” Lim said.

He added that preparatory technical work has already started in two key areas; Armenian Street Park and Fort Cornwallis on the North Seafront.

He said these activities are aimed at providing state-of-the-art solutions in the restoration and rehabilitation of historic structures and public spaces.

It will also promote inward investment and spur social, economic and cultural development for Penang, he added.

CMI will be the majority shareholder of GTCDC which will feature a board of directors elected from the three partners to oversee a dedicated management team that will manage, operate and implement projects recommended by the SMP.

AKTC’s Aga Khan Historic Cities Programme will be the main collaborating partner under the Management Collaboration Agreement.

“The Penang state government hopes that George Town will attain international and intelligent status with the participation of AKTC as well as Think City in this collaboration,” Lim said.

The AKTC is renowned internationally and recognised as one of the foremost organisations involved in matters of architecture, conservation and urban planning while Think City has been in the forefront of spearheading urban regeneration in the inner city of George Town since the city obtained its Unesco World Heritage status.

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