Urban Conservation Planning Courses

Designed for planners and architects, Urban Conservation Planning in Malaysia is a two-week course emphasizing internationally recognized urban conservation planning methodologies, including tools and techniques employed in the context of conservation and planning. Approximately twenty participants are selected for each course. The first two courses were held in George Town, Penang in 2012 and 2013.

The courses are taught in a highly interactive format, where formal presentations are complimented with site exercises and guided, small-group discussions. Participants are given access to a wide range of complementary teaching materials (e.g., session outlines and technical notes) created by a team of instructors, both from within and outside Malaysia.

A values-based approach to heritage conservation is emphasized as is documenting historic sites, defining significance, developing conservation guidelines, assessing impacts on historic sites, and employing current planning regulations and policies (in Malaysia and elsewhere) to manage change in urban contexts more effectively.

The course uses the Australian Burra Charter (1979, with later amendments) as a basis for teaching conservation methodology. By using this respected charter, widely employed throughout Asia and elsewhere, instructors help participants understand the challenges and practicalities associated with the documentation and recording of historic places, understand significance and the writing of a Statement of Cultural Significance, develop policy based on that significance, and manage historic sites in accordance with those policies.

The course also relates this methodology to the realities of contemporary Malaysian planning methodologies, so participants can see connections between what they currently use in practice and a conservation-focused methodology.

During the second week of the training, participants divide into two groups to sharpen their use of a conservation methodology by focusing on a historic place—Balik Pulau, located inland on Penang Island, approximately twenty kilometers from the World Heritage site of George Town. Afterward, the instructors conduct reviews of the conservation-related proposals in culmination of the course and a summation of the course’s main points.

A mentoring period follows, in which instructors and participants communicate how participants are (or are not) able to utilize a conservation methodology in the context of their actual work.

Finally, after approximately six months, participants and instructors reunite in Malaysia to review progress, reinforce key lessons, and discuss how they might improve their skills related to conservation.

The third course is scheduled for April 2015 in Kuala Lumpur.

Page updated: January 2015