04 January 2021

A Personal Account of Gentrification in Kuala Lumpur

04 January 2021 - Written by PhMuseum

With his work of documentation, Malaysian photographer Alvin Lau aims to have a better understanding of the social and structural changes that are fast transforming his surrounding space.

How does gentrification affect us both on a personal and community level? Sentul is a township located approximately 10 kilometres from the city of Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia and its area was historically known as a train and bus depot during the British colonial era. The old rail repair depot currently nestles amongst the Kuala Lumpur Performing Arts Centre (KLPAC) founded by the urban developer YTL Corporation and gives to Sentul an "old world" charm, while in parallel the city is going through a large-scale re-qualification of its surrounding environment.

I’ve walked the surrounding streets capturing the mood and sense of change: a cow refusing to eat, washed-out tarmac littered with construction tracks, and fragments of how nature has tried to remain present. As the work progressed, it became visible how much this place meant to me, so I wish this work to be a visual observation and documentation of the construction that is taking place around the town of Sentul.

Words and Pictures by Alvin Lau.


Alvin Lau is a photographic artist based in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. Over the years he has developed a keen interest and critical working methodology towards his surrounding environment. Find him on PHmuseum and Instagram.


This feature is part of Story of the Week, a selection of relevant projects from our community handpicked by the PHmuseum curators.

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2 minutes