via The Star, 30 Mar 2019: Death by Unesco-listing is not new, and I’ve previously featured stories about the negative effects of World Heritage status to other sites in the region (see here and here).
It has been 11 years since George Town was recognised as a Unesco World Heritage site. However, the city is now paying the price for its unique status.
The numerous transformations to make it appealing to the middle class have made its original residents leave the old city for the suburbs, and this is threatening to derail its universal values.
Besides the everyday traffic, tourists arriving by the busload, especially during the holiday seasons, are making the narrow roads congested.
The designer cafes, hotels, stalls and souvenir shops that have sprouted up in recent times are not helping the situation either.
Scores of residents have moved out, selling their heritage properties to foreign investors.
Statistics by Think City, a community-focused urban regeneration organisation here, showed that traditional communities in the heritage area are fast disappearing.