Town & Regional Planning Deparrtment -- ELP Project Web Site
3rd, 4th & 5th Floors, Wisma Tun Fuad Stephens, 88646 Kota Kinabalu, Sabah, Malaysia.
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Why do we need Urban Design?

Everything we built today has a direct impact on our lives as well as our future generations. Each new structure whether a shop, an office building or a bus stand, influences the character of the public space and either contributes to or detracts from the overall image of the city.

Good urban design makes the difference between a successful and sustainable place that thrives, and a place to be avoided.

Safe, clean and attractive surroundings not only help improve our physical and mental health but enhance our sense of community and our attachment to a particular place.

Conversely, badly designed and poorly maintained public spaces encourage graffiti and vandalism resulting in places that are unwelcoming, dirty and perhaps even dangerous, therefore undermining public confidence in them.

As towns increasingly compete with one another to attract investment, the presence of good and clean shops, offices and recreational areas become a business and marketing tool. Companies are attracted to locations that offer well-designed and well-maintained developments and these in turn attract customers, employees and services.

The usual argument for mediocre developments is minimal construction time and cost and maximum profit. This may be appealing in the short term but long term, we suffer by having to put up with unsightly developments and sub standard urban spaces.

On the other hand, well designed developments which are built to attract and build to last will be financially beneficial to developers and designers resulting in better tenants, better returns, higher capital values and lower maintenance over a longer period of time.

Currently, the overriding impression of our major towns and cities is one of squalor, neglect and dirtiness.. Little attempt to make urban spaces more interesting.

General building character - drab and badly in need of exterior renovation e.g. repainting. Unadventurous and unremarkable design.

Streetscape - our streets are not pedestrian friendly. One of the fundamental functions of public space is to allow us to move around on foot, by bicycle, by car, motorbike or public transport. It is therefore important to reconcile the needs of these often conflicting modes of transport. Well-designed streets and public spaces encourage walking and cycling, and make our environment safer by reducing the impact of cars and by empowering the pedestrian.

Commercial areas - the overall image of our shops is dirty, unattractive and uninviting.

Residential - Much of the residential developments consist of utilitarian and repetitive design built on a rectangular grid with little consideration for landscaping or decent open space. Design unwelcoming and poor quality construction.

Open Space - Currently the Government requirement for 10% usable open space for any development is rarely seen. Our open spaces lack interesting elements e.g. sculpture or water feature; sufficient pedestrian through-flow and space for relaxing.

Parking - Parking spaces are not well thought out. Irregular layout and minimal landscaping is probably more the norm. Little attention is paid to protecting vehicles and vehicle owners from the elements.


More information

What is Urban Design?
Why we need Urban Design?
How can it Benefit Us?
Urban Design Handbook
Press Release
Picture Gallery