Penang was settled from the sea, and the fort was built to defend against naval and pirate attacks. As George Town grew into a port, its waterfront became its actual face. Any serious rejuvenation of the city must therefore involve the restoration of its waterfront.
The role and identity of waterfronts today vary depending on the community they serve. Traditionally, waterfronts are defined as the part of a town fronting or abutting a body of water.
Playing a significant role in defining a city’s economic, social and cultural facets, waterfronts inevitably mould the character of the settlement it represents. The waterfront in George Town has a backdrop that consists of key elements of the town itself – the Esplanade, Pengkalan Weld, Swettenham Pier and the Clan Jetties.
Rise and Ebb of the Tide
As the East India Company’s first settlement east of the Bay of Bengal, Penang played a hugely important role in the rise of the British Empire during and after the Napoleonic Wars that so fully engaged the European powers.
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