Malaysia Plans to Build a Futuristic Lilypad Community of Islands

Courtesy BIG

It's been dubbed BiodiverCity.

An innovative community is in the works off the coast of Penang Island, Malaysia, as part of the state's Penang2030 vision to be more "family-focused, green and smart." The unique project will include three islands being built in the shape of lilypads and be connected by a transportation network. 


Courtesy BIG

Called BiodiverCity, the islands will consist of mixed-use districts, public beaches, parks, and a waterfront. Between 15,000 and 18,000 residents can live here and will be able to rely on local water resources, renewable energy, and waste management. And that's just part of the eco-friendly nature of the build. The islands will be constructed using local Malaysian timber, bamboo, and recycled "green concrete." 

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In addition, all the building districts will feature ecological areas like parks and reserves to provide a green buffer. Plus, the goal is to make the community car-free by encouraging biking and walking via an autonomous water, land, and air system.


Courtesy BIG

As much as the islands are focused on the environment, they will boast high-tech features as well. On the first island called Channels, there will be a digital park where people can "explore the world of technology, robotics, and virtual reality." And the large Bamboo Beacon will be a large facility for major events and conferences. 

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The vision is courtesy of design firm BIG who worked with Ramboll and local architect Hijjas to create the plan. It was chosen after a competition was held by the local government to redevelop the land off the island's south coast.


Courtesy BIG

"If Penang is defined by its rich cultural diversity and its abundant biodiversity, we would like to envision the Penang South islands as an archipelago where the two can coexist in a human-made ecosystem, expanding and enhancing one another," said BIG founder Bjarke Ingels." We proposed the creation of urban lilypads organized by a cellular structure of urban districts connected by natural patches and corridors for habitats." 

BIG is also working on a plan for "city of the future" with Toyota, which will be built near Mount Fuji in Japan.