Public space and conservation of a historic living city: Melaka, Malaysia
In the historic living city of Melaka, recent attempts to revitalize as well as to conserve the historical entities of this world heritage town seem to lack an orientation towards socio-cultural historical assets. Since Melaka is known for its historical past and rich heritage, it has become a popular tourism destination among international and domestic tourists. The state government has implemented a number of tourism infrastructure and enhancement projects in its efforts to attract more tourists and thus maximize revenue from tourism. Unfortunately, there is a lack of research on residents’ lifestyle and use of the outdoor environment of their city. The local residents’ culture needs to be taken into consideration more sensitively if the goal is to conserve the character of Melaka as a living city. Therefore this chapter aims to describe how public space – as a place of social interactions and cultural activities – is significant in achieving the goal of conserving Melaka as a historic living city. In tracing the current patterns of outdoor space usage, this study points to the need for conserving various forms of public spaces, including taken-for-granted mundane public spaces. These spaces include streets, linear space, semi-nodal space and nodal space. The main objective is to contribute to formulating future approaches to planning, including design guidelines that will be more effective in terms of enhancing the liveliness of the inanimate areas of the city, and the quality of life in the outdoor environment in a manner that enhances and suits the residents’ culture.