Heritage Street and Contemporary Use of Old Buildings in Johor
This paper concerns the use of the buildings along a heritage street in Johor Bahru city centre in Malaysia. The fabrics of Johor Bahru city are in the phase of changing, similar to the other cities in the world. Parts of the city were already torn down and replaced by new buildings to meet the demands of the modern society. Some sections of the city were accepted as heritage area by the local authority. This includes a street known as Tan Hiok Nee Street. Both sides of the street are lined partly with rows of shop houses built in the early 20th century. A preliminary study on the street indicated that it was not popular to the general public during the day time. It is often emphasized by scholars that the current and future uses of the old buildings are crucial to their survival. The usefulness of the existing buildings along the street was thus questionable. A research was then conducted to examine the current situation of the street especially in the use and the condition of the buildings. The intention was also to probe on the reasons why the street was not lively. The data was collected from site observation, literature review and interview of the tenants, owners as well as visitors. The analysis was based on these data from which the conclusions were drawn. It was found that part of the street was rather quiet with some of the shops hardly survived to meet ends. Some of the buildings were not in use and their condition revealed poor maintenance. The external area was already upgraded by the local authority. However, the condition of the area showed the lack of maintenance. The other reasons include the shifting of the residents, the lack of strong interest for the visitors, the lack of strong connectivity to the major nodes and the high rent. It is inevitable that the whole area needs a constant supervision. It also suggests that some of the buildings do not meet the current demands of the users. This may result in the removal of the buildings in the near future. Some strategies need to be devised in order to retain the heritage street for the benefit of the future generations.
Keywords: heritage; street; shophouses; Johor.
eISSN 2514-751X © 2018. The Authors. Published for AMER ABRA cE-Bs by e-International Publishing House, Ltd., UK. This is an open-access article under the CC BY-NC-ND license (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-nd/4.0/). Peer–review under responsibility of AMER (Association of Malaysian Environment-Behaviour Researchers), ABRA (Association of Behavioural Researchers on Asians) and cE-Bs (Centre for Environment-Behaviour Studies), Faculty of Architecture, Planning & Surveying, Universiti Teknologi MARA, Malaysia.