"There has been much concern recently that we have lost the vision and the practical skills of creating places that fulfil cultural aspirations of the users and reflect both the natural landscape and built form patterns of the regions. Almost everywhere seems to be getting more and more like everywhere else. This problem is especially evident in the design of new housing schemes, frequently described as anonymous "anywhere" environments, lacking in any distinguishable character. The same criticism applies to many new shopping precincts as well as to modifications being made to many historic town centres where the long existing qualities of traditional townscapes are gradually being eroded. Throughout the world both the users and the producers of the built environment are anxious to halt this process of producing "anywhere" architecture and townscapes. Both groups aim to find ways of constructing new local and regional identity and thus create a new sense of place. In their search to develop methodological approaches and design vocabulary to be applied in achieving new local and regional identity many schools of thought have put forward a variety of theoretical and practical propositions. Evidence of these approaches can be found in many European countries, in North America, Australia and more recently in the countries of Islam and in South East Asia. The first part of the paper outlines the relative value of these different theoretical and practical propositions to architects and urban designers today. These methodological and practical propositions range from urban morphology and contextualist approaches as found in several European examples to more recent ideas explored by cultural anthropologists and the cultural landscape schools of thought. The second part of the paper critically examines several built form patterns from Malaysia where the search for new Malaysian identity takes on board both the natural landscape qualities of the region and reflects a variety of cultural and building traditions. In concluding the question of relevance of local and regional identity today is raised and the way forward is proposed."