Planning Cultural Values?

We all know that cultural values can influence urban planning...but can urban planning influence cultural values? Last week's post on Resident Experience Master Planning suggested that, with significant technological advances, it can. But that is, at least, several years down the line. Is it already possible to re-direct the combined energies of an urban populace by the way that you plan their environment? Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak is betting that it is.

Najib, the Deputy Prime Minister of Malaysia, recently gave a speech at the International Symposium on KnowledgeCities in the city of Shah Alam. In it, he was insistent that the rapidly-developing nation invest in informational infrastructure that will not only allow Malaysia to compete in the global economy, but will create what he referred to as a "learning culture" that makes knowledge acquisition one of its core cultural values.

The Malaysian media outlet, The Star, reports that Najib suggested that "city planners [need] to plan for full broadband coverage along with cellular and wireless capabilities to facilitate the flow of information over and above the basic communication infrastructure...[and] policy-makers [must] formally incorporate knowledge acquisition and the learning culture in every area of policy planning and implementation and provide incentives to private companies that promote the learning culture."

The Star again: "Najib said Malaysia had placed knowledge as its top priority in economic and social development and this emphasis was evident in the Ninth Malaysia Plan."

The thunderstorms here in Chicago are messing with my internet connection and making the Ninth Malaysia Plan's site run like molasses, so I'll have to cut it off here for tonight. More on this topic tomorrow...

(Photo from Flickr user EL@Seattle.)

Build Smart Cities, Says DPM (The Star)

Ninth Malaysia Plan (In case you want to get a head start.)

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