Unravelling Layers of Colonial and Post-Colonial Open Space Planning and Heritage: The Identity of [Padang] Merdeka Square, Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia

Nadiyanti Mat Nayan, David S Jones, Suriati Ahmad


In 1880, when the British moved their Federated Malay States administrative centre to Kuala Lumpur, the Padang quickly became a symbol of British economic and administrative colonisation, and a nucleus of the socio-cultural development of Kuala Lumpur. This paper discusses the layers of history, symbolism and cultural values that the Padang contributes to the socio-cultural tapestry of both Kuala Lumpur and Malaysia, and the lack of relevant planning and heritage measures to conserve these attributes and characteristics. The conclusions offer avenues to engage with pre- and post-colonisation that enable re-making and the conservation of the iconic space of Kuala Lumpur.

eISSN: 2398-4287 © 2019. The Authors. Published for AMER ABRA cE-Bs by e-International Publishing House, Ltd., UK. This is an open access article under the CC BYNC-ND license (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-nd/4.0/). Peer–review under responsibility of AMER (Association of Malaysian Environment-Behaviour Researchers), ABRA (Association of Behavioural Researchers on Asians) and cE-Bs (Centre for Environment-Behaviour Studies), Faculty of Architecture, Planning & Surveying, Universiti Teknologi MARA, Malaysia.


Urban open space; Merdeka Square; Kuala Lumpur City Hall; National Heritage Act 2005

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