TRANSFORMING PUSAT KOMUNITI / COMMUNITY CENTER
1) A few weeks ago, I first visited my friend’s new cafe in Singapore called Brothers In Fine Food. It is located in Tampines West Community Club (CC). It was then that I was first exposed to how the Singaporean government is rejuvenating their CC to be a center of activity for locals.
2) In the Malaysian context, the CC is equivalent to our community center / pusat komuniti. It is run by the local councils, e.g. DBKL. Some examples include Pusat Komuniti TTDI, Pusat Komuniti Bangsar.
3) Singapore realised a few years ago that while the CC was created to be a center of community activity, it achieved little as it was only a place for people to play badminton and basketball. This is the same case with Malaysian Pusat Komuniti today, with the addition that we host weddings at our CC.
4) To Singapore, CC is to be a center of community activity where the community is often HDB dwellers (affordable housing) and affordable living is important.
5) Singapore rejuvenation strategy was to bring in known F&B brands (McDonalds and Starbucks) to attract the masses to come to the CC. The CCs were then equipped with more activities, such as dance studios and free-to-play piano and have daily showings of movies and live sports. Outlet spaces were made available for other F&B to set up.
6) The CC enforces a very strict rule where all outlets that open in the CC will have a price cap per item – it needs to be affordable for the community!
7) Rent for outlets are cheaper than other commercial areas, encouraging entrepreneurship.
8) The result of it is today, many CCs are bustling centres of community activity.
9) I believe this CC transformation is a worthwhile initiative in Malaysia given that infrastructure is done – many neighbourhood already have Pusat Komuniti.
10) With coordination, I can imagine a similar concept done, e.g. In Johor, Pusat Komuniti to have KFC as main tenant to attract crowd (it is JCorp owned anyway), with additional spaces for classes and F&B outlets – all with a price cap.