Love Lane Pilot Project

Project Tittle : Love Lane Pilot Project (2012)
Site : Love Lane, Georgetown Penang, Malaysia
Program : Heritage Conservation Plan
Project Team : Qhawarizmi Norhisham, Yasmin Rahman, Abdurrahman Rashdi, Razi Ismail, Azri Mohamad
Video Editing : Azri Mohamad, Razi Ismail
Supervisor : AP Tuan Syed Sobri Zubir

On July 7th 2008, Georgetown was formally inscribed as a UNESCO world heritage site. It was recognized for its unique status as a living multicultural heritage community. Since then there have been various conservation projects within the vicinity of Georgetown, but as time goes by, its initiative seems to be fighting a losing battle.

Even after three years there have been no significant operations that can be seen in Georgetown. Engaging Love Lane as a pilot project to experiment on a new mechanism of heritage reclamation involving public participation and extensive use of technology infrastructure could be the key to foster its prestigious title. Heritage value in Love Lane will be enhanced with the use of information technology, creating a new experience of an interactive environment.

The aim was to preserve the area of old heritage shop houses in Georgetown on an extensive scale based on the success of this one pilot project. The goal is not only to maintain its UNESCO world heritage status, but to preserve the very last links we have to an era gone by, our portal into one of the world’s most electric cultural gems.

The history of Love Lane is diverse and these three main sources quote the establishment of Love Lane, but no complete agreement has ever been made. Despite the debate, Love Lane has indeed been a traveller transit for over 200 years and today it still continues its identical role.

The intention of the project is to preserve the original site function as a travellers heart within a contemporary context. It will become the local host for tourists from both the local and foreign scene when they visit Penang. The hub will cater all their travelling needs just as what the area has been serving for the past hundreds of years. Love Lane will be the tourist’s base location before they venture out into different parts of Penang. This rejuvenation of the site’s native function as a temporary accommodation area for travellers will once again bring the vibrancy of racial and cultural diversity that once enlivened the festivals in Love Lane, Georgetown’s Heritage City Site.

The Love Lane Pilot Project is an experimental attempt of heritage restoration using a social mechanism. The inner working of the project is heavily dependent upon technology and internet infrastructure that was not possible 10 years ago.

By harnessing the power of communication through internet, the project would be able to reach more people in a wider range of age to participate in this restoration effort. As a public experiment, the key tool for everyone interested for the better more of this project will be a website, with a simple interface that will show the options, planning and development of the project on a real time plan. If enough shares are sold, the project will commence immediately.

Since conservation costs are high, shop lot owners as well as the general public does not actually have a large sum of money to conduct a conservation project individually. Only by parcellation of project cost, people can invest by buying smaller parcels of shares of the conservation project.

In order to ensure a successful outcome, the conservation mechanism will be played by three parties. These key players play an important role in the restoration effort of the heritage enclave. These players are the subscriber, expert and host.

Conservation efforts of the heritage build form in Penang run by the NGOs and charismatic individuals is slow and inefficient, mainly due to funding difficulties. The new mechanism of conservation will involve the public as one of the main share holder. The mechanism draws fund from the general public which includes development for economical regeneration and social sustainability.

Love Lane Pilot Project (LLPP) Committee will conduct and run the development under the blessing of the Penang’s State Government. General description on how the mechanism will work is fairly similar to the Groupon online shopping experience. Certain deals will be posted online and if the product attracts enough buyers, the product will be sold with the discounted price. The adaptation made for this mechanism are, instead of product, it will be a heritage development project and if the proposal attracts enough investors, the project will commence.

The Groupon method has proven itself successful among online shoppers. It is about time this method of collective fund is put to the test in property investors. As the next generation comes in, it signifies less importance on heritage as the previous generation did. But with a factor of investment, in a fun and easy way, the customers stick around. Our precious Penang heritage can now be saved by a continuous support of the upcoming generations.

This project however is proposed as an experiment on a mere 12 acre block. If the project succeeds and expands, this public funded conservation mechanism could be the key to save not only Penang, but hundreds of other world heritage sites facing the same problem of extinction.Byregaining an international crowd, imagine how well decaying historic cities can revitalize by a simple initiative of Love.


Above is a video composed by our team mates, Azri Mohamad and Razi Ismail.
For more details on Love Lane Pilot Project, please visit Urbanology (eBook)

For information regarding the project’s exhibits, please visit
https://mdrxa.wordpress.com/events-exhibitions/consequences-of-urbanism/

Appearances:
Consequences of Urbanism Exhibition 2012
Master of Architecture Urban Design Studio Sept 2011-Jan 2012
at Universiti Teknologi MARA, Shah Alam
27 Jan-1 Feb 2012

Arte-Polis 4 International Conference
Creative Connectivity and the Making of Place
Living Smart by Design
Institut Teknologi Bandung, Indonesia
5 – 7 July 2012

Publications:
Arte Polis 4 (2012)
Creative Connectivity and The Making of Place
Living Smart by Design
Editors: A.S. Wibowo, I. Widyastuti, A.R. Soemardi
ISBN: 978-979-18399-3-8

Talks/Forums:
Pecha Kucha 2012
Design Biennale: Akar
at Universiti Teknologi MARA, Shah Alam
5 April 2012