PETALING JAYA (Aug 25): The virtual City Expo Malaysia (CEM) 2021, which will be held from Nov 8 to Dec 8, aims to shine a spotlight on urban planners and highlight the need for various stakeholders to come together and plan cities better because of urbanisation and the pandemic.
The free expo is a joint initiative between Malaysian Institute of Planners (MIP) and Nextdor Property Communications. It will feature forums with topics of interest from experts from Nov 8 to 12; as well as an exhibition and virtual booths from Nov 8 to Dec 8.
Soft launching the event via Zoom from her base in Nairobi, Africa was Datuk Seri Maimunah Mohd Sharif, executive director of the United Nations Human Settlements Programme (UN-Habitat). In her address, she pointed out that Malaysia is one of the most urbanised countries in Asia, with urban growth being 34% in 1980, with a forecast of that being 80% by 2030.
As a result, careful planning is required to ensure adequate infrastructure and resources are available.
"As planners and more broadly, the planning community, we strive to help others make sense of their socio-political environment by offering better, clearer and stronger conceptions of what lies ahead. In turn, our predictive work and recommendations give cause to new and more progressive city policy and legislation," she added.
Also at the event was MIP president Datin Noraida Saludin, MIP immediate past president and CEM chairman Ihsan Zainal Mokhtar, and CEM director Imran Clyde.
Noraida noted that CEM marks the stepping stone for collaboration between MIP and UN-Habitat. "We would like to explore further with UN Habitat in a collaboration through MIP, where planning and the global agenda brought by the UN Habitat can be translated at the local level,” she said.
Ihsan concurred and added: "The expo will provide a unique opportunity for city stakeholders which includes Malaysians and people around the globe who are interested in cities, to participate and engage in the same virtual environment."
He also highlighted the importance of this virtual platform, especially since the pandemic has shown the need for greater thought and planning for our cities.
"CEM 2021 will provide a valuable platform for both local, regional and global exchange of views and information on how to make this happen....Virtual booths are on sale, so that all stakeholders can have a dedicated place to promote their cause, specialised knowledge, and unique perspective on urban planning."