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Published by Mazlin Ghazali
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Published by: Mazlin Ghazali on Nov 20, 2008
Copyright:Attribution Non-commercial


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Mazlin Ghazali and Mohd. Peter
Copyright September 2004

Fly over the country and you will
see rows and rows of houses. Is
there another way to lay out

We present here a new method of
subdividing land for housing that,
we believe, produces better social,
environmental and aesthetic
outcomes, but in a way that uses
land more efficiently.

It was conceived as a practical
and economic substitute to the
terrace house, but it can also be
seen to be an alternative to row
housing and the linear approach
to planning.

Conventional row housing and
the linear approach to planning

Dwellings can be arranged on
individual plots of land as
detached units or linked to each
other. Detached or linked they line
up along streets to form row
housing. In a row house, owners
of individual plots of landed
property maintain sole occupancy

Orthogonal grids have been used
as the fundamental tool for
subdividing land. Linear roads
provide roads to individually
owned plots of land. Roads and
gridlines may be distorted by
design or necessity but retain their
linear nature.

Terrace housing

Terrace housing has been long
been considered the densest form
of landed property development
possible. Not only in Malaysia but
all over the world.

Here in Malaysia it is the terrace
house that predominates. The
typical lot varies from 16\u2019 x 50\u2019 to
24\u2019 x 100\u2019, but the most common
lots now are between 20\u2019 x 65\u2019
and 22\u2019 x 70\u2019. The ubiquitous
terrace house plan has been
designed and re-designed many
times but always within the same
restrictive framework without
much scope for innovation.

The layout also has become
stereotyped. In the typical housing

the terrace houses are lined
up along grid-lines with 40\u2019
service roads in front with
much smaller back lanes and
side lanes. Communal areas
for schools, civic and religions
building as well as open areas
for children playgrounds and
parks are also provided.

Despite the infrastructure
provided, the design of many
housing estates does really
meet the practical needs of
the average resident. Apart
from the aesthetic boredom of
rows and rows of houses,
among the drawbacks of the
terrace house layout is the
lack of public security and a
genuine sense of community1

Current alternatives to
terrace housing

Trying to improve the
monotony of housing in rows,
planners have devised various

Strata-title development

Groups of houses share
ownership of the communal
facilities allowing greater freedom
in designing the access routes
and common facilities allowing
high densities.

The Desa Park Homes
development is an example of this
type of approach. It is able to
achieve as good densities as a
conventional terrace house layout.
However, strata- titles are not
considered as valuable as land

Organic Layouts

Following the trend from more
developed countries, local
planners have devised \u201dorganic\u201d
layouts where winding roads
and occasional cul-de-sacs
break the boredom of the iron
grid, but density is sacrificed. A
Guthrie development at Bukit
Jelutong is an example of this
trend. But the houses there cost
RM500,000 or more.

Desa Park Homes
Clustered Layouts

Similarly the cluster approach can
produce interesting outcomes but,
in most cases, loses out on

The circular clustering of houses
at Brondby near Copenhagen in
Denmark shows a wide expanse
of green area between the

Honeycomb housing

Using thetessellat ion method of
planning, all the houses are built
around small parks with large
shade trees in hexagonal cul-de-
sacs, which efficiently interlock to
form townships similar to a bees\u2019

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