Statistics

Notes:

CATEGORY 1:
a) Buildings of exceptional interest
b) Buildings and monuments declared as ancient and gazetted under the Antiquities Act 1976

CATEGORY 2:
Buildings of special interest which warrant every effort being made to preserve them

INFILL DEVELOPMENT:
Existing empty land or temporary structure where compatible redevelopment is permitted

REPLACEMENT:
Existing building without any significant value where sensitive redevelopment is permitted

The data shows the number of buildings within the George Town World Heritage Site (GTWHS), which consist of Category 1, Category 2 and replacement, and the empty lands within the site (infill development) as of 2010.

1.53% of the buildings are categorised as Category 1, with 80% of them located within the core zone. An example of a Category 1 building is the City Hall, near the Esplanade. Most buildings are categorised as Category 2, with slightly more of such buildings located within the buffer zone as compared to in the core zone. An example of Category 2 buildings is the ensemble of shophouses along Light Street.

20.70% of buildings are categorised as replacement and infill development, where buildings with no heritage value are allowed to be torn down for redevelopment to take place. This signifies that there is still room for private investors or real estate developers to purchase land or buildings within the GTWHS. Nonetheless, buyers would have to adhere to strict redevelopment rules due to George Town's listing as a heritage site. The height and façade of the reconstructed building have to be similar to the adjacent heritage buildings. Developers would also have to build the building to be as similar to its original construct.

The number of buildings gazetted under each category may increase in the coming years as more buildings are proposed to fit into each category.

There are 88 built-up hotels listed within George Town, which are inclusive of both high and low-end accommodations, including hostels. Twelve of them are categorised as boutique hotels. All of them are located within the core zone. Tourists – especially foreign ones – will choose to stay within the heritage site as it would be conveniently close to the various tourist attractions. Eight hotels are pending approval for planning before the construction of the hotels begins.

The tables show the buildings within GTWHS categorised according to style and usage. Shophouses in the GTWHS are categorised in five main styles, which are Early Penang, Southern Chinese Eclectic, Straits Eclectic, Art Deco and Modernism. Each style corresponds to the different time periods the shophouses were built, with adjacent time periods overlapping each other. These five main styles make up 72% of buildings in the GTWHS.

Places of worship in George Town include mosques and temples. Warehouses and wooden structures are located near the shore. The warehouses were probably used and still are used for cargo storage, storing goods which are shipped in through the nearby port.

Wooden structures on the other hand consist mainly of the jetties along Weld Quay, which are named after eight different surnames (Lim, Chew, Tan, Lee, Yeoh, Koay, Peng Aun, Mixed Clans). Places such as schools, cemeteries, petrol stations, gates, entrances and monuments are defined and listed as ''other (non-architectural)".

Referring to the table, Southern Chinese Eclectic and Straits Eclectic style buildings constitute about half of the all building types within the GTWHS. Southern Chinese Eclectic and Straits Eclectic are highly distributed in the core zone and buffer zone, which corresponds to the period these areas were developed.

The data presents the number of residents and residential land in GTWHS for two years—2006 and 2010. The number of residents has decreased drastically in a period of five years, with a 46.4% drop in residents. This is in contrast to just a slight drop of 3.2% in residential land use.

A few reasons could have contributed to this drastic drop in population. The demographics of people who live within George Town are usually families (either multi-generational or two families) within the same unit. Limited employment opportunities within George Town could have motivated people of working age to move out to areas nearer to their workplace. Those who have young children would bring their children along, and thus see a reduction of many residents in George Town.

After George Town’s attainment of the Unesco status, buildings with heritage value were not allowed to be demolished. This therefore had an impact on residents who stayed in houses with heritage value, as they could not alter their façades. They also had to upkeep the maintenance of the buildings. This can be very costly, as materials used for older buildings are more expensive compared to modern residences. Residents would therefore choose to move out to a modern building outside of the GTWHS and sell their original house to interested parties.

The Unesco listing has generated interest among private developers to convert buildings into accommodations, including hostels, boutique hotels and cafés. Private developers would hence buy out old shophouses and convert them for commercial use. This therefore also reduces the number of residents within the GTWHS.

Following that, more tourists choose to stay within George Town and explore its historical sites. Tourists strolling through George Town in the daytime, often peeking into people’s houses or drinking at bars and pubs at night, thereby causing noise pollution would cause some residents to feel that their privacy has been infringed upon, and thus choose to move out of George Town to other areas in Penang.



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