The Klang River winds through Malaysia’s capital city of Kuala Lumpur and flows through the most densely populated area of the Southeast Asian country. Over the years and in the wake of rapid development in the city, the river became increasingly polluted and experienced intensified flooding during storm seasons. It became the backdoor of development and a dumping ground that is disconnected from people’s daily lives.

To reconnect the city, the river and her people, Kuala Lumpur City Hall launched the River of Life project in 2012 and AECOM was chosen as a delivery partner through an international design competition. River of Life is one of Malaysia government’s Economic Transformation Programs, an initiative which combines high-impact projects and programs to elevate the country to developed nation status.

Divided into three main components – river cleaning, river master-planning and beautification – the USD1.3-billion River of Life project covers the confluences of three city rivers, with a total area of 781 hectares and 63 hectares of water bodies. The project is set to bring the community ‘back’ to the river through a 100 per cent transformation into a vibrant waterfront with high economic and commercial value, rejuvenating the city’s river and re-connecting it to the surrounding urban fabric.

AECOM is delivering the river master planning and beautification component of the project, and has also provided a strategic framework for urban and landscape design guidelines. The guidelines ensure designs are constructed on a common baseline while promoting cohesive developments in the Klang Valley region.

River of Life will deliver affordable housing for more than 35,000 new residents, one million square meters of commercial space, more than 27,000 new employment opportunities, raise the public transportation usage within the master plan area from 15 per cent to 60 per cent and reduce traffic demand by 15 per cent by 2020.