Penang Bay International Ideas Competition

Registration date:


Submission date:




Penang Bay is an ambitious programme to rehabilitate, regenerate and rejuvenate the water-based assets of George Town and Butterworth into a seamless and dynamic space aligned with the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).

The Penang Bay Ideas Competition is an invitation to local and global innovators to generate inspiring ideas and concepts that will help reimagine the way the people of Penang can leverage their water-based assets in order to drive prosperity and build a resilient city-state over the next 20 years.

It is a unique opportunity to take part in a milestone project at a critical moment and help craft the future of a city.

Technological disruption has accelerated and magnified. A convergence of advances in AI, energy, food production and material science is poised to radically alter societies and economies.

These transformations will affect everything from how we work, where we work, how we get about, how we interact with one another and with technology. These transformations might change what we eat, where our food is produced and how it is grown. It is an opportunity to rethink, reset and restore.

Penang, a mid-sized city in northern Malaysia is using the pandemic downtime to scale up its efforts to prepare for the future. It has a multitude of natural, built, cultural and economic advantages that position it well to not only recover but thrive in a world defined by disruptive technologies, new social norms and radically different work practices.

Key to this future is a renewal of Penang’s urban core to bring life back into its historical and natural water-orientated assets and enable people and capital to invest in a new city form. One where culture, nature, businesses and technology are organised symbiotically.

As part of its strategy to catalyse recovery and uplift the economy, the Penang State Government is asking innovators to help us rethink the future and apply this to reimagine the waterfronts of the island and mainland in a manner that builds social, economic and environmental resilience.

Climate change: Penang will experience an increase in extreme weather events, leading to more frequent floods and heat waves, with sea-level rise expected to inundate lower-lying areas.

Technological disruption: The convergence of advances in AI, precision biology, sensors, energy production and storage, blockchain, robotics and material science will disrupt existing industries and transform economies. Penang is well-positioned to build a new economic future around them.

Social transformation: Climate crises and technological change will drive social transformations –placing inclusivity at the centre and shielding the most vulnerable will be a major challenge for Penang.

While the competition is open to all, professional collaborations and multidisciplinary teams are encouraged. Projects that are not original or have been made public prior to the competition/result announcements will automatically be excluded from the final selection.

A 7-member jury comprising distinguished local and international organisations including UN-Habitat, the Aga Khan Trust for Culture, the Penang State Government and Malaysian Institute of Planners, to name a few, will evaluate the submissions on originality and innovation of ideas, consideration of the key SDGs, economic potential of the proposals, and clarity of ideas.

3 x A1 panels in PDF, JPEG or PNG (max. total 300 mb) submitted via the website that includes: Master plans for the Penang Bay area Concept plans, renders, cross sections, elevations for critical components to illustrate ideas Justification for the designs against the SDGS.


A 2.5-minute video in .avi, .mov or .wmv (max. 50 mb) that illustrates: Visual representation of ideas for the Penang Bay area Images and narration of critical components Justification for the designs against the SDGS

Submission guidelines and a full competition brief are available on the official website.Enquiries: