BiodiverCity: Three sustainable and biodiverse islands slated for the south coast of Malaysia’s Penang Island

Three artificial islands in Malaysia centred around sustainability and biodiversity, and powered by sustainable technology such as solar power and wind turbines, is being proposed by design company Bjarke Ingels Group (BIG).

The project, which has been penned BiodiverCity, is slated for the south coast of Penang Island. The design was created in collaboration with Hijjas and Ramboll, and was declared the winner of an international architecture competition, Penang2030, held by Malaysia’s Penang State Government.

Penang2030 focuses on enhancing Malaysia’s liveability, economy, and environment through sustainable projects and development.

Under the proposal, the three islands, shaped in the form of lilypads, would comprise of mixed-use districts with extensive green space including urban wetlands, forests, public parks, as well as beaches and a 25-kilometre-long waterfront.

The car-free environment would connect each district by a land, water and air-based autonomous public transport networks, as well as cycle lanes and elevated boardwalks for pedestrians. The islands will be powered by renewable energy, while the buildings will be constructed from bamboo and Malaysian timber, as well as recycled materials.

The first island to be built would be called The Channels. This would be centered around a 500 acre (202 hectare) “digital park,” with sections for research, development and local businesses, as well as a family-oriented area with virtual reality and robotics attractions. It would also be home to a large wave pool, tech park, a government centre, and a cultural area.

The second planned island is named The Mangroves, which would consist of a network of sheltered urban wetlands suitable for Mangrove forests. It would also feature business areas and a bamboo tower for hosting conferences and major events.

Finally, The Laguna would be made up of eight smaller islands that form an archipelago, where floating, stilted and terrace housing would be built. Fishing and the support of marine life would also be promoted.

The islands, which could house up to 18,000 residents, would be powered by a combination of solar panels and wind turbines. Rainwater would also be collected for irrigation.

Plans for construction of these sustainable islands have yet to be announced.

All images: BIG

Rosa Medea is Life & Soul Magazine’s Chief. She writes about lifestyle including sustainable and green living. She also offers content services to businesses and individuals at

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