Letter - A happy Penang is still possible

BEING a city planner must be a very interesting job. Cars as we see them now might be a mode of transport belonging to the past in years to come.

Cities like Beijing have over 1,000 cars registered daily. One simply cannot build enough roads to cope with that. Hong Kong and Singapore started early to develop public transport systems and where possible went underground.

Hong Kong has built a substantial mass transport system and is still doing so.

A resident of Hong Kong doesn't need a car. Taxes for the ownership of cars is high and it's the highest in Singapore which has restrictions on how long car owners are allowed to have their vehicle.

Denmark, Germany and Holland use extensive bicycle road systems, where bicycles are the only mode of transport allowed.

Creating interesting housing systems that offer greenery for the public has been in the master plan of many Northern European cities. The slum areas you find in major American cities go far beyond of what still needs to be done in Europe.

Penang is still small enough to implement creative ideas and make this place a truly wonderful place to live in.

Peter Ortmann
Penang