Eco-engineering Penang’s Coastline


There has been much success in turning Grey to Green.

As the human population rises, coastal areas become increasingly developed: more than 40% of the world’s population and 60% of the world’s largest cities are within 100km of the coast; by 2025, 70% will be living within 200km of the coastline.

Over half (17 out of 30) of the world’s largest cities are located in this zone. Asia, in particular, has shown some of the greatest intensification of coastal development, with 20 of the top 30 (67%) most populated coastal cities located there.

Penang Island is one of the fastest-growing and most densely populated places in the world, with a population of 752,800 and a density of 1,663/km2. The population on the 299km2-island has increased by more than 40% since 1970 and is projected to rise exponentially over the next 15 years.

Land reclamation in Penang began in the early 1800s under British administration, and recent large-scale coastal development projects have contributed to the alteration of the coastline to create more living space and to make way for transportation and infrastructure; at the time of writing, construction had begun on the first of a series of five artificial islands (three are still pending approval).

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