The Aga Khan Trust for Culture (AKTC) began collaborating with Think City, an urban development agency supported by the Government of Malaysia, in 2013. The two agencies prepared a Strategic Master Plan and undertook action area planning in the town’s key public areas. The public-private George Town Conservation and Development Company was established in 2015. AKTC has subsequently contributed to numerous high-profile projects within the heritage site, with the current agreement renewed until December 2023.
Work on the restoration and adaptive re-use of the 18th-century Fort Cornwallis and its moat was launched in 2018. Recent implementation has focused on the reorganisation of the North Seafront, the largest public space in George Town. A new seawall, with a 570-metre public promenade, was completed in May 2022. Completion of works is expected at the end of 2024. These initiatives aim to provide state-of-the-art solutions to the rehabilitation of public open spaces and restoration and adaptive re-use of historic structures within the World Heritage Site.
The George Town project is entirely financed with state and municipal funds and in-kind contributions from Think City. The funding covers also AKTC’s provision of advisory and technical services.