Think City, an impact organisation dedicated to making cities liveable and sustainable, launched the George Town and Bayan Lepas Urban Greening Grants Programme as part of the Nature-Based Climate Adaptation Programme for Penang Island (PNBCAP). 

Offering grants up to RM100,000 per application, this initiative calls for the establishment of green facades and rooftops in George Town and Bayan Lepas.

Designed to curb rising temperatures and the Urban Heat Island (UHI) effect, this initiative aims to reduce street and building temperatures and enhance urban landscapes. These green efforts are vital, especially considering data showing higher temperatures in these regions compared to the rest of Penang.

Successful applicants must not only demonstrate the effectiveness of their greening initiatives in reducing the negative impacts of climate change but also involve and empower local communities in implementing and taking ownership of their initiatives.

Hamdan Abdul Majeed, Managing Director of Think City said, “This urban greening grants programme leverages nature-based solutions to address rising temperature in George Town and Bayan Lepas. Oftentimes, people think we need to take big initiatives to make a significant difference but we would like to demonstrate the power of small in addressing a complex issue such as climate. We believe this grants programme, bolstered by our experience and PNBCAP’s foundation, will ignite a wave of urban greening initiatives across Penang.”

Acknowledging that climate change will severely impact cities and its inhabitants, Think City’s domain within environmental resilience in cities, includes the pioneering Nature-based Solutions (NBS) in Malaysia and the region.

NbS is a climate adaptation approach that harnesses nature and functioning ecosystems as infrastructure to provide solutions for society and the environment through an evidence based approach. Using this model, Think City developed PNBCAP, which is Malaysia’s first urban climate adaptation programme centred around nature-
based solutions.

Other domains within Think City environmental resilience projects using NbS include the Climate Resilient Street Tree Species Study (a spin off from PNBCAP), Climate Resilience Baseline Study for Kuala Kangsar, Evaluating Nature-based Solutions in Batu Pahat, and developing a Sponge Cities and Nature-based Solution Concepts for Shah Alam.

PNBCAP, which is 5-year programme was developed in collaboration with UN-Habitat, Penang State Government, Penang Island City Council, and the Department of Irrigation and Drainage with a funding of USD 10 million (RM44.23 million) secured from the Adaptation Fund for implementation. The programme is also supported by the
Ministry of Natural Resources, Energy and Climate Change (NRECC), and Yayasan Hasanah.

Beyond the urban greening grants programme, PNBCAP components include stormwater management, fostering social and community resilience, and strengthening institutional capacity. PNBCAP is a pilot initiative that will serve as a municipal framework for climate adaptation with the potential for it to be scaled and adapted in other cities in Malaysia and elsewhere in the region.

Interested applicants are encouraged to apply for grants by 12 January 2024, and are required to attend at least one of the grant briefing sessions. Open Days are on 29 November, 7 December and 14 December 2023. Think City will also provide support and strategic advice during the application process.