Bukit Bintang is one of the most visited districts in Kuala Lumpur. And as in almost every major city in the world, the alleys surrounding the main tourist and commercial arteries, are often areas of shelter and refuge for crime.
The alleys around the historic centre of Kuala Lumpur in particular were choked with garbage, sewage and criminals.
That is why in 2015 the city initiated a project to reclaim marginal spaces. Alleys were transformed in the second half of 2018 into islands of art in a way that would attract tourism and keep crime away. Painted murals and neon sculptures by local artists flood the street with bright colours and natural images such as rivers (alluding to the river that previously ran through there), forests and tropical fauna from Southeast Asia. In addition, lighting was improved and some facades were refurbished.
The project area of about 3km covers the streets Jalan Alor, Jalan Berangan, Jalan Changkat, Jalan Rembia and Jalan Tengkat Tong Shin, and about 1M ringgit (250.000 US dollars) was budgeted for it.
However, despite having become a cleaner colourful place that has chased away the fear of crossing the area at night, it has not been able to completely eradicate marginality and crime. But its great reduction makes us aware of the great power of a quality public space to improve people’s living conditions.
In addition, Kuala Lumpur plans to pedestrianize 10 streets in the city by 2025 to address the high levels of congestion and pollution in the city. To facilitate the trial run, they are already working on public awareness and engagement campaigns.
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Photos by: @ghiotta, @desywulandarie, @streetartthroughmylens, @foongpc, @ngweisuan