Creative KL schemes to bring more people to city’s heart

Think City and DBKL launch the Creative KL Grants Programme and the Creative KL Urban Challenge 

MALAYSIA’S capital city is taking centre stage as one of the key highlights of Budget 2023 targets to accelerate urban renewal of Downtown Kuala Lumpur (KL) as a destination for creative and cultural sectors. 

This emphasises the government’s commitment to fostering liveable, resilient and sustainable cities that prioritise the well-being and quality of life for all Malaysians. 

Towards this end, Think City and the KL City Hall (DBKL) has launched the Creative KL Grants Programme and the Creative KL Urban Challenge as part of the rejuvenation efforts. 

The schemes have been developed to attract more people to Downtown KL and create a thriving environment for cultural endeavours, creative businesses, start-ups, innovation, research and many more. 

The programme will provide financial support, resources and opportunities for individuals and organisations involved in the creative and cultural sectors, and other industries that will foster the growth of KL as a dynamic destination that celebrates art, design, music and all forms of creative expression. 

MD Hamdan Abdul Majeed said Think City recognises the potential of the creative economy in shaping vibrant cities, thus the efforts to harness the rich culture and heritage assets of Downtown KL. 

“As an impact organisation dedicated to making cities liveable, we firmly believe that a strong creative and cultural scene is vital. 

“The RM15 million allocated under Budget 2023 will further catalyse the rejuvenation and revitalisation of Downtown KL and its adjacent significant areas, and help address some of the pertinent issues in making the city centre move sustainable and liveable. 

“It is estimated that these initiatives will create more than 1,300 job opportunities and generate 200 activities that will fuel the city centre. In addition to that, the programmes are also aimed at improving the lives of the local community and how innovative solutions will improve the area’s overall liveability,” he said. 

KL Mayor Datuk Kamarulzaman Mat Salleh is thrilled to see the launch of the Creative KL Grants Programme and the Creative KL Urban Challenge. He said these initiatives provide an opportunity for different levels of society to play an active role in rejuvenating Downtown KL as a creative and cultural district. 

“This effort is part of the third memorandum of understanding (MoU) recently signed between DBKL and Think City to accelerate our collaboration in strengthening the city as a creative destination, improving liveability, public realm improvement, space activation and more.” 

The launch is in line with the KL Creative and Cultural District Strategic Master Plan (KLCCD) that was developed in 2019 between Think City and DBKL, the Ministry of Tourism, Arts, and Culture (MOTAC), Department of National Heritage (JWN) and Yayasan Hasanah, with the goal to revitalise the historical district of KL towards the formation of an inclusive, creative, vibrant and thriving hub for businesses and people living in it. 

KLCCD aims to address the challenges faced by communities within the heritage core of the city now known as Downtown KL, where less activities and a gradual shift of activity away from the city centre have been observed. 

Creative KL Grants Programme

Now open for application, the Creative KL Grants Programme aims to safeguard and promote the rich cultural heritage of Downtown KL, revitalise underutilised and undervalued cultural heritage assets, empowering local communities through capacity-building initiatives and community programmes, stimulate the establishment of cultural and creative nodes within the city, and promote knowledge sharing and collaboration between various stakeholders. 

Creative KL Urban Challenge

The Creative KL Urban Challenge will open for applications on June 19, 2023. The Challenge (implemented with Proficeo and OpenAcademy) aims to connect citizens, universities, creative practitioners, professionals, hackers, designers, innovators, urban planners and experts as well as developers and programmers to collaborate and design innovative urban solutions that will improve Downtown KL and the lives of people living in it. 

It aims to showcase Malaysia’s finest urban solutions, utilising Downtown KL as a regional stage for culture-based urban rejuvenation and spearheading the growth of the cultural and creative economy for other cities in the country and the region. 

“Through the implementation of these programmes, Think City remains dedicated to preserving and celebrating the diverse cultural assets that grace Downtown KL. With the support of the Ministry of Finance, DBKL and our partners, we aim to strengthen the City’s sense of place and identity, encouraging community engagement and active participation from citizens, thus paving the way for a more vibrant and resilient future for Downtown Kuala Lumpur,” Hamdan concluded. 

Visit for details on the Creative KL Grants Programme and Creative KL Urban Challenge. — TMR 

  • This article first appeared in The Malaysian Reserve weekly print edition