Sasaki’s master plan for Forest City, a new global city located in the Iskandar Development Region, in Southern Malaysia, was publicly announced by developer Country Garden Pacificview at a Global Press Launch in Singapore.
The plan for Forest City envisions a new cluster of commerce and culture with an emphasis on transit connectivity, diverse mixed-use neighborhoods, and a vibrant live/work environment that will attract global business and talent—bringing an estimated 220,000 jobs to the region over the next several years. The plan is structured around the conservation of existing marine habitats, the re-establishment of a coastal mangrove ecosystem, and a resiliency strategy to accommodate sea level rise.
Forest City’s forward-looking mobility strategy provides excellent regional connectivity via multiple modes of public transportation, including an extensive ferry network and light rail transit system that will link to Singapore’s MRT and Malaysia’s planned high-speed rail line to Kuala Lumpur. Within the district, density is clustered to ensure that over 80% of the development is within a 10-minute walk of public transportation. “Forest City is a result of the region’s remarkable growth,” says Michael Grove, the principal in charge of the project at Sasaki. “Greater connectivity between Forest City and Singapore will further enhance the symbiotic relationship of cultures, economies, and the environment in this exceptionally diverse part of the world.”
Forest City’s high density development is geared towards generating new employment opportunities in the region that will attract global talent who desire to live in a healthy and sustainable urban environment. Central to the client’s vision is the understanding that cities are made successful not only through their iconic skylines, architecture, and landscapes, but also by how humans experience them on a daily basis. With this in mind, the planning process focused on the creation of a rich cultural fabric of civic uses and a variety of residential housing types to ensure diversity and opportunity.
One of the largest concerns facing the planning process was the impact that development might have on the area’s fragile ecosystem and the local fishing industry that relies on it. With this in mind, protecting and expanding natural areas drove several innovative initiatives in the master plan. By mimicking the natural coastal ecology of the region, Forest City’s coastline will reestablish over nine linear kilometers of mangrove habitat, incorporate ten linear kilometers of shallow coves and mudflats, and protect 250 hectares of shallow-water seagrass. Beyond setting the standard for ecologically sustainable coastal development in the region, these restored habitats also provide significant resiliency benefits in the face of sea level rise.