Business-led regeneration for the city

The second ‘2010 RE-George Town Lecture’ series offered some pointers to boost economic development in Penang based on the successful model of Bankside, a district at the south bank of London.

Posing a question to the speaker.

Posing a question to the speaker.

Better Bankside Business Improvement District (BID) chairman Donald Hyslop said that business-led regeneration had helped to attract businesses, customers and employees to Bankside.

He said that Penang is able to similarly transform itself into a commercially vibrant city while still maintaining and adding value to its status as a Unesco World Heritage Site.

Hyslop was speaking at a public talk on ‘Lessons from Better Bankside: Business-led Regeneration’ organised by Khazanah Nasional Bhd and British Council at the Wawasan Open University.

The speaker Donald Hyslop.

The speaker Donald Hyslop.

The Better Bankside BID was initiated in 2005 to make it a safe place to work, live and visit. Among the efforts taken to make it pleasant for business and the people were improving public safety, street cleaning services and public spaces, offering high-quality meeting facilities and holding regular employee networking events.

And effective January 2010, any academic staff who is supported by WOU to attend a conference should first give an internal presentation to the other academics.

“The advantage is that they can get input from the others while the university gets some assurance that certain quality standards are met,” remarked Prof Wong.

Bankside transformed from an industrial zone with only about 2,800 residents in 1998, to a district with some 50,000 people who reside or work here, while over 5 million visitors come every year.

Hyslop found many similarities between George Town and Bankside, and believed that business-led regeneration and balanced development can happen in Penang. He added that the business community must sustain a good working relationship with the government and local communities.

The crowd at the talk.

The crowd at the talk.

Some 50 people, including those from the business sector, non-governmental organisations and the government, attended the talk.