PETALING JAYA: YTL Corporation Bhd (YTL) does not have aspirations of “gentrifying” the Sentul area, but plans to make it a mixed-income neighbourhood that is desirable to live in, according to architect Lena Ng.

Speaking at the International Conference on Urban Regeneration, Ng was responding to questions and criticisms from the audience pertaining to YTL’s redevelopment of Sentul Park.

Several members of the audience had raised the issue of how the urban poor that resided in the area would be left behind in the redevelopment exercise to build several high-end condo units and commercial areas.

“We are aware of the big class disparity,” she said, “The aim is not to displace the present community, but to have a mixed-income development that will uplift Sentul as a whole and all of its surrounding areas.”

YTL is the developer of Sentul East and Sentul West, developments centred around the Sentul train station, and is targeted for completion in seven to eight years’ time.

YTL had also allocated the northern tip of its Sentul East development to 800 units of affordable housing.

According to Ng, YTL realises the importance of preserving heritage buildings and would like to create modern, cosmopolitan living and work spaces for young urbanites. She added that the developers’ focus was also around the issues of accessibility.

“Our goal is to provide a green area in the city, reduce urban sprawl, arrest social decline, and integrate and preserve old buildings with our Sentul master plan,” she said. Ng added that continuous elevated pedestrian walkways will be built for ease of movement and safety.

Ng’s presentation was part of a broader range of issues surrounding sustainable redevelopment and regeneration of urban areas, specifically Selangor, in line with the state’s six stimulus package goals.

Among the speakers include Tom Murphy, former three-term mayor of Pittsburgh, USA and senior resident fellow for urban development with the Urban Land Institute (ULI) in Washington, DC, USA, and Fran Wagstaff, the former president of the Mid-Peninsula Housing Coalition, which is one of the largest affordable housing developers in Northern Carolina, USA.

The two-day conference is held at Sunway Resort Hotel & Spa and is organised by the Selangor state representatives for Damansara Utama and Taman Medan, together with the Malaysian Institute of Planners, Rehda (Real Estate and Housing Developers’ Association) Selangor and the Royal Institute of Chartered Surveyors (RICS).