AT TAYLOR'S: Dr. Veronica Ng (FoongPeng.Ng@taylors.edu.my)
PROJECT PARTNER: #BetterCities (hello@betterciti.es)

Damansara Jaya, a township of almost 2000 residen­tial units and a main commercial area, encompasses Sections SS22 and SS22A of the city of Petaling Jaya in Selangor, Malaysia. In the mid-1980s, the main commercial development in Damansara Jaya was Atria, a shopping com­plex with two car park buildings of three levels, surrounded by double-storey shophouses. The recession in the late 1980s led to the closing down of the department stores in Atria which only saw new life and ownership in the early 2000s with retailers such as Parkson Grand and Giant Supermarket. Atria however no longer competed with the likes of 1UtamaThe Curve and Tropicana City Mall located nearby. However, it remained actively used, especially by local inhabitants, due to its mix of neighbourhood retailers and its convenience of access.

The property was sold to OSK Property Holdings Berhad (OSK) in 2007, and four years later, tenants were asked to vacate the shopping complex to pave way for the new Atria redevelopment. #BetterCities was appointed by the Councillor of Zone 5 Petaling Jaya (MBPJ) to conduct research and produce a report based on an existing proposal by OSK Property to redevelop two public lands in Damansara Jaya, currently used as a hawker centre and parking area. OSK's proposal outlines a plan of a multipurpose building and a pi­azza respectively.

Undo-Redo is a community-based design workshop led by four distinguished Malaysian architects which focuses on four specific themes in urban development. The workshop aims to inspire a new trend of thought in bottom-up architecture design, one that forms a partnership between architecture, the community, authorities and the developer. The workshop was held from 2nd March till 15th March 201 at Taylor’s University Lakeside Campus where participants were mentored to re-imagine, to undo and redo the potential design of two plots of public land in Damansara Jaya.
At the two week workshop, participants explored the architectural dimensions of identity, connectivity, progressive future and sustainable living. Each team focused on one of these themes with their respective architect in relation to the dense urban landscape of Damansara Jaya. Among the architects involved were Wilson S’ng from C’Arch Architecture and DesignEleena Jamil from Eleena Jamil ArchitectChan Mun Inn from Design Collective Architects and Yusrizan Yusof from CODA (Collaborative Office of Design & Architecture).  The Taylor’s University team was headed by Dr. Veronica Ng, Deputy Dean and Senior Lecturer of Taylor’s School of Architecture, Building & Design (SABD). The workshop covered two phases: the research and proposal phase, which involved the investigation and development of the brief/theme into a feasible proposal through the workshops conducted by potentially multidisciplinary profession such as architects, designers or urban enthusiastic; and the exhibition phase, which involved publishing the documentation of the research and project outcome through digital or analogue format or as an exhibition.
City development is highly influenced by those with power and money, and that includes both politicians and developers. While both are necessary, this top down approach to community development has created many urban failures and unwanted junk spaces that do not fit with sustainable urban living desired by those in the community that have to live, work and shop in these spaces. The Undo Redo project intends to re-imagine the preconceived idea of city development through a pragmatic approach that includes the community, as well as the governing authorities and the developer. The workshop aims to cultivate ideas of an open approach in urban development for the benefit of the community. It also seeks to provide a platform to explore and exhibit the significant dimensions of architecture, which is often neglected in a development-dominated urban landscape.
For more information on the Undo Redo project, kindly contact Dr. Veronica Ng of Taylor's University at FoongPeng.Ng@taylors.edu.my or login to https://www.facebook.com/bettrcities/ or http://www.betterciti.es/projects/undo-redo/  

Written by Amelia Ooi