PGCC’s official brochure
Abad Naluri, the overall developer of the Penang Global City Centre (PGCC) project, has put out a glossy promotion brochure entitled “Tomorrow’s City Today”, which is being given out to the unsuspecting Penang public at PGCC"s roadshows at Queensbay Mall and Gurney Plaza. Other than its often extraordinary use of the English language, the brochure is less than revealing about exactly what the plans are. There is no information about the number or design of the buildings (other than the ‘icon towers’), neither is there is any specific information about, for example, traffic implications (road widening plans are mentioned, but no detail as to the figures and calculations on which they are based). Instead, like all PR exercises of this kind, the brochure is full of beautiful pictures which will bear little resemblance to the end-product, and language phrases which are in the end meaningless. “Living, breathing, organic”, “easing, absorbing, redistributing” …. standard PR talk but without any substance.
Sleight of hand
As well as being very short on detail, the brochure is full of sleight of hand. For example, the glossy pictures of the
“Consist of four inter-connected parks, Penang Metropolitan Park will used up about 860 acres of untouched green area and transform it into a highly active park for the people in Penang. There will be no non-evasive tracks or pathways will be presented, in which it will allow public access as to promote a healthy lifestyle and to boost up the eco-tourism of the island”.
There are some extraordinary claims in the brochure. For example, the PGCC project apparently “gives us an opportunity to create a new micro-climate on the
Of course the brochure makes much of the claim that the project will be ‘zero carbon’. This is a concept we need to treat very cautiously. Questions must be asked about the way they will measure carbon emissions: for example, will the carbon emissions caused by the actual building of the project (which will last about 10 years?) be included? Will that include all the road widening schemes? How will they measure carbon emissions once the project is completed? Is “zero carbon” talking about the project as a whole, or just one building? Building by building?
And the brochure anyway blandly tells us that in the end, zero carbon will be achieved not by the project itself, but by investing in other projects elsewhere which will ‘offset’ any carbon deficit. With money, you can buy anything, it seems!
Of course there is reference to the issue of traffic. An ideal world is presented (again, please excuse the English, it is not ours but theirs), as in:
“Energy demands for transportation will also be minimized. Transportation throughout the PGCC will account for a significant portion of the area’s carbon emissions. Enhancing the city by designing for pedestrian friendly movements a highly effective means to reduce transportation emissions within cities. Transportation energy will be reduced by increasing public transportation options, as well as ensuring a reliable and frequent service fitting to transportation demands.”
We would all love this to have been
The developer should be duty-bound to make its traffic management plan public, so Penangites can see the basis on which the developer is ‘selling’ the traffic issue to our MPPP. MPPP should insist on its publication and public discussion before approving the project. The traffic situation alone has huge implications for all Penangites, and it is shameful if it is to be dealt with in secret.
Please note that elsewhere in the brochure, the car culture is glorified by the following: there will be a “Quantum leap to
Road projects listed in the brochure are the construction of an underpass along Jalan Masjid Negeri under Batu Lancang – Masjid Negeri Road Junction; an increase of the number of approach lanes at
The brochure proudly announces the need to “widen
Just two pages of the brochure talk of what the
We know that most of the construction will be done by the labour of migrant workers, and one sad aspect of the project is that it is not for ordinary Penangites at all, but the high-end, wealthier clients who can spend the sort of money that gives the developers the profits they seek. One of the two international architects have already told us that the original plan by the developers was for a population density twice that of
Another extract from the brochure, just to give you further flavour. Here is a stark statement, given prominent position on a page spread showing the eco-credentials of the
“Changes in our climate are caused by gases that trap heat from escaping into outer space have increased the Earth’s temperature. One major effect of climate change is the continuing rise of the sea levels and this has caused disasters like extreme storm or flooding. The health of the people living in disaster-hit areas is threatened as the people are exposed to infectious diseases such as malaria.”
Again leaving aside the English, we just have to hope that the sort of science reflected in such a statement is not a reflection of the quality of science that has gone into, and is planned for, the project. It is ghastly.
Finally, Penangites can rest assured that the project ‘takes advantage of the lushness of the surrounding mountainous landscape by pulling it into the urban fold.’ We leave it to you to draw the correct image from that!
If you want more information, especially about how to join in a campaign to demand local accountability and/or to oppose the project, check out www.penangwatch.net. Plus the other links provided elsewhere on this blog.