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4.3.2

Category 2 : Connecting With The Environment 20 Trees 3 Storey Terraced Houses ( Type B1A ) 20 Trees Mixed Development – Terraced Houses & Apartments

Case Study 4 : Development :

Developer :

SDB Properties Sdn Bhd - a Selangor Dredging Berhad company

Location :

This housing development is located in Melawati, 13 kilometers from Kuala Lumpur’s city centre.

Tenure : Approving authority :

Freehold Majlis Perbandaran Ampang Jaya (Ampang Jaya City Council)

Selling Price :

Type B : RM 1 348 000 – RM 1 515 000

Figure 4.20

Artist’s Impression – 20 Trees 3 Storey Terraced Houses

Source : SDB Properties, retrieved 10 August 2008, <http://www.sdb.com.my/properties_20trees/20trees_overview.htm>

Greenery This location map (Figure 4.21) indicates the extent of the natural rainforest that has been removed to make way for this housing development. Though a significant amount of greenery has been destroyed, the landscape architect involved, acknowledges this, and contributes back to nature with their design, as explained via the marketing section in Appendix 7.

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Figure 4.21

Location Map – 20 Trees 3 Storey Terraced Houses

Source : Google Maps, retrieved 10 August 2008, <http://maps.google.com>

Figure 4.22

Site Plan – 20 Trees

Source : SDB Properties, retrieved 10 August 2008, <http://www.sdb.com.my/properties_20trees/20trees_floorplan.htm>

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Figure 4.23

Type B1A Layout Plan – 20 Trees 3 Storey Terraced Houses
Source : 20Trees Brochure

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Spatial Organisation On the ground floor, this 31’ x 91’ (9.3 x 27.8m) plot has a front garden and car porch. The living and dining area is separated by an internal courtyard. The dining area is linked to a dry kitchen which opens out to a back yard. There is a separate wet kitchen which is connected to a utility area. There is a maid’s room with an en-suite bathroom and also a powder room. The first floor has a master bedroom with a walk-in wardrobe, en-suite bathroom and balcony that looks into the courtyard. There is also another bedroom with an en-suite bathroom which may function as a study or home office. The second floor has a family area and outdoor terrace which looks into the courtyard, as well as two bedrooms with an en-suite bathroom each.

Figure 4.24 Type B1 Garden Home Front Facade - 20 Trees 3 Storey Terraced Houses
Source : SDB Properties, retrieved 10 August 2008, <http://www.sdb.com.my/properties_20trees/20trees_gallery.html>

Thermal Comfort The standard construction methods and materials do not provide the enduser with a suitable level of thermal comfort in this equatorial climate. The courtyard in this house has a role in facilitating cross ventilation. This alone however does not provide sufficient levels of thermal comfort for the interiors. With the label of luxury residences, the air-conditioned interiors are considered the norm in this development as the developer does provide air conditioning units in the living area and master bedroom. Additional electrical

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points are provided throughout the house to accommodate more airconditioners.

Energy Consumption The courtyard in the center of this house provides a significant amount of natural light into the interiors. This reduces the dependency on artificial lighting during the day. The use of air-conditioners cannot be avoided in this case, therefore energy consumption levels will not be at an ideal bare minimum.

4.3.3

Category 3 : Alternative Options Affordable ‘Idaman’ Homes – Honeycomb Housing Concept

Case Study 5 :

Development :

Nong Chik Heights Mixed Development – Residences : Quadruplex Houses, Sextuplex Houses, Duplex Houses, Semidetached Houses & Bungalows.

Developer : Architect : Location :

Mudra Tropika Sdn Bhd Arkitek M.Ghazali This housing development is located on the edge of the Johor Bahru city centre.

Tenure : Approving authority :

Leasehold Majlis Bandaraya Johor Bahru (Johor Bahru City Council)

Selling Price : (Indicative)

Quadruplex B1 : RM 283 505 Sextuplex C1 : RM 359 951

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Figure 4.25

Site Plan – Nong Chik Heights

Source : Ghazali, M, Nong chik Update, retrieved 13 September 2008, <http://nongchiknews.blogspot.com/>

Greenery The honeycomb housing layout developed by architect Mazlin Ghazali, allows for the land to be used more efficiently; incorporating more greenery while having a larger number of houses on a plot as opposed to the traditional set up of the terraced houses in rows.110 The central green courtyards in each cul-de-sac, filled with large trees will reduce the surrounding temperature with the shade provided by the tree’s canopies.

Figure 4.26 A generic honeycomb housing layout & a generic terraced housing layout.
Source : Davis, MP, Ghazali, M & Nordin, NA 2006, Thermal Comfort Honeycomb Housing, Universiti Putra Malaysia, Kuala Lumpur, pp.120-121.

110

Davis, MP, Ghazali, M & Nordin, NA 2006, Thermal Comfort Honeycomb Housing, Universiti Putra Malaysia, Kuala Lumpur, pp.123.

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Figure 4.27

Location Map – Nong Chik Heights

Source : Ghazali, M, Nong chik Update, retrieved 13 September 2008, <http://nongchiknews.blogspot.com/>

Figure 4.28

Artist’s Impression of Layout – Nong Chik Heights

Source : Ghazali, M, Nong chik Update, retrieved 13 September 2008, <http://nongchiknews.blogspot.com/>

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Figure 4.29 Artist’s Impression – Quadruplex & Sextuplex – Nong Chik Heights
Source : Ghazali, M, Nong Chik Heights, retrieved 20 October 2008, <http://nongchik.blogspot.com/2008/01/honeycomb-housing-at-lower-nong-chik.html>

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Figure 4.30

Quadruplex Layout Plan – Nong Chik Heights

Source : Ghazali, M, Nong Chik Heights, retrieved 20 October 2008, <http://nongchik.blogspot.com/2008/01/honeycomb-housing-at-lower-nong-chik.html>

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Spatial Organisation Quadruplex On the ground floor, this 1600 square feet (149 square meters) plot has a side garden, car porch, an open concept living and dining area, a room allocated as a study with an en-suite bathroom and a kitchen which opens up to the side garden. The study is most likely to end up being used as a store room or utility area which may have to accommodate a live-in domestic helper. The first floor has a family area, master bedroom with an en-suite bathroom, two other bedrooms and a bathroom. The external area of this plot on the ground floor is far more utilitarian when compared to Case Study 1, 2 and 3. Sextuplex The sextuplex layout differs slightly to the quadruplex layout. On the ground floor, this 1900 square feet (178 square meters) plot has a front and side garden, car porch, and an open concept living and dining area. The kitchen is divided in to a dry kitchen and wet kitchen. The ground floor also accommodates a utility room, a guest room and a bathroom. In this instance the utility room or guest room will be most likely to accommodate the live-in domestic helper. The first floor has a family area, a master bedroom with an en-suite bathroom and balcony, and two other bedrooms with an en-suite bathroom each.

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Figure 4.31

Quadruplex drawings – Nong Chik Heights

Source : Ghazhali, M, Picasa Web Albums Tessellar, retrieved 18 November 2008, <http://picasaweb.google.com/tessellar/NongChikHoneycomb#>

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Figure 4.32

Sextuplex Layout Plan – Nong Chik Heights

Source : Ghazali, M, Nong Chik Heights, retrieved 20 October 2008, <http://nongchik.blogspot.com/2008/01/honeycomb-housing-at-lower-nong-chik.html>

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Figure 4.33

Sextuplex drawings – Nong Chik Heights

Source : Ghazhali, M, Picasa Web Albums Tessellar, retrieved 18 November 2008, <http://picasaweb.google.com/tessellar/NongChikHoneycomb#>

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Thermal Comfort The use of the ‘Cool Roof’ technology which consists of a heavily insulated roof, and a concrete ceiling in the attic as illustrated by Figure 4.35, will enable the range of Affordable ‘Idaman’ Homes to have sufficient levels of thermal comfort using just ceiling fans.111 The use of air conditioning will not be a necessity.

Figure 4.34 Thermal comfort levels achieved with an insulated roof and mechanical ventilation.
Source : Davis, MP, Ghazali, M & Nordin, NA 2006, Thermal Comfort Honeycomb Housing, Universiti Putra Malaysia, Kuala Lumpur, pp.121.

Energy Consumption Compared to Case Studies 1, 2 and 3, the Quadruplex and Sextuplex houses have a larger surface area which allows openings, thus allowing for higher levels of natural light to be utilised in the interior spaces. This will reduce the end-user’s dependency on artificial lighting. The levels of thermal comfort

111

Ghazali, M, Nong chik Update, retrieved 13 September 2008, <http://nongchiknews.blogspot.com/>

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achieved with this housing concept also reduces the possible usage of airconditioners.

Case Study 6 : Concept Developer :

The Raised Floor Prototype Universiti Kebangsaan Malaysia (UKM) Architectural Research Group

Key Points :

1. Thermal comfort : the impact of direct heat released from the ground is reduced, and the raised level captures winds of higher velocity, resulting in cooler and airier interiors. 2. Construction Costs : according to UKM lecturer and researcher Mazlan Tahir, “a lot can actually be saved from the cut-and-fill process by using stilts”, resulting in terraces on stilts costing the same as normal terraces. 3. Industrialised Building System (IBS) : this brick-less terraced house prototype could be constructed using modular panels which are prefabricated in factories allowing for easy installation and various configurations. IBS will make the construction process less labour intensive.

Figure 4.35

An artist’s impression of the terraced house prototype

Source: Chai, ML 2007(18 March), ‘Houses on stilts exude a rustic charm’, New Sunday Times, pp.31.

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Greenery No analysis is available in regards to greenery as this is a housing concept that has not been implemented in the form of a residential development. The use of stilts allows for developers to use the natural terrain and refrain from the use of the standard cut and fill process of slopes and hillsides.

Spatial Organisation The raised floor allows for a yard beneath the house. This yard can be used as a car park, a play area for children or to entertain guests. Prefabricated 8’ x 4’ ( 2.4 x 1.2m) modular timber panels with louvres are used to form the walls and floors. A different building material maybe used to substitute the timber panels depending on the end-user’s preferences. The prototype model resembles a standard terraced house plot area averaging 1600 square feet (149 square meters).

Figure 4.36 UKM lecturer and researcher Mazlan Tahir with a scaled model of the terraced house prototype
Source: Chai, ML 2007(18 March), ‘Houses on stilts exude a rustic charm’, New Sunday Times, pp.31.

Thermal Comfort The use of louvered panels and the raised floor level in this prototype enhances the air flow through the house. The research team behind the prototype state that houses built 1.5m above ground level capture winds of higher velocity, and the height prevents heat from the ground being released directly into the house. This prototype results in airier and cooler interiors.

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Figure 4.37

A cross section diagram of the terraced house prototype

Source: UKM Architectural Research Group, Taking Cues From the Past: Increasing the Livability of Terrace Housing in Malaysia through the Raised Floor Innovation, retrieved 8 July 2008,<http://www.fab.utm.my/download/ConferenceSemiar/ICCI2006S5PP13.pdf>

Figure 4.38 A diagram illustrating the prefabricated modular panels that would form the walls and floors, accommodating various configurations
Source: Chai, ML 2007(18 March), ‘Houses on stilts exude a rustic charm’, New Sunday Times, pp.31.

Energy Consumption In addition to the front and back facades, natural light can fill the interiors via the louvered panels on the raised floor. As this housing prototype is presented in a conceptual manner, the actual dependency on artificial light is not known. The well ventilated interiors could potentially eliminate the need for air conditioning.

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DISCUSSION

Discussion

5.1

Introduction

To successfully incorporate environmentally sustainable elements into future Malaysian housing developments for the general population, the design of the houses involved should aim to reduce internal temperatures during the day, maximise cross ventilation to increase the effectiveness of sweat evaporation, and provide protection from external elements of nature such as harsh direct sunlight, rain and insects.112 Having the general population in mind, the design solution will have to be affordable and cost-effective. Appendix 8 provides an outline if the housing price categories in Malaysia.

In her article on architectural responses towards Kuala Lumpur’s hot and humid climate, S.S.Ahmad identifies the following strategies in regards to achieving housing that responds to its surrounding climate113: (i) Minimising or keeping out direct sunshine and heat from the interiors by -using large overhangs and shading devices over openings. -minimising openings on east and west facing elevations that direct sunlight, and ensuring that the walls on these elevations are reflective and well insulated. -using low thermal mass materials to minimise heat storage. (ii) Maximising natural ventilation by -having large openings on north and south facing elevations. -space planning the interiors to facilitate optimum levels of cross ventilation. -having elevated construction to improve wind exposure. (iii) Orientation should respond accordingly to the sun path and available winds. (iv) Roofs should be pitched to facilitate water drainage. (v) Roofs and ceilings should be insulated and treated to minimise radiant heat exposure to the interiors.

112

Ahmad, SS 2008, ‘Kuala Lumpur: A Hot Humid Climate’, in R Hyde (ed), Bioclimatic Housing – Innovative designs for warm climates, Sterling, London, pp.272. 113 Ibid, p.272-275.

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Malaysia’s hot and humid climate causes thermal comfort to be the key challenge in creating a house that does not have to depend on active cooling systems such as air conditioning. In his paper on housing and thermal comfort, Mohd.Tajuddin Mohd.Rasdi states that before discussing problems and solutions, the first issue to deal with would be to come to a conclusion on whether the population in general, especially architects, developers, building authorities and home owners acknowledge the thermal comfort levels of their surroundings as a problem114. Rasdi proposes for planning submissions from developers to be accompanied by an air flow report in order to be approved.

On the issue of living in air conditioned environments, there is a lack of attention focused on passive cooling systems. I agree with Rasdi where he claims that it is not a matter of availability of materials or technical knowledge holding the construction industry and developers back, but the mindset of those involved. The lack of environmentally sustainable elements in Malaysia’s housing has to be perceived as a problem by the general population, in order for action plans and strategies to be developed to address it.

The following sections of this chapter add to the body of knowledge relating to the incorporation of environmentally sustainable design elements into Malaysia’s terraced housing developments.

5.2

Malaysia’s Terraced Housing in the Twenty-First Century

The case studies analysed in the previous chapter provide a glimpse of the current terraced housing made available to Malaysia’s general population. Figure 5.1 illustrates the data analysis approach used for the case studies, which focus on how terraced housing developments affect environmental sustainability.

114

Rasdi, MTM, Housing and Thermal Comfort : Of Human Ovens and Complacent Attitudes, retrieved 24 April 2008, <http://www.kalam.utm.my>

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Figure 5.1 Abstract of Case Study Analysis

5.2.1

Greenery

The case studies under Category 1 (Typical Terraced Housing), with the exception of Case Study 2 are greenfield developments. Representing typical terraced housing developments, it is clear that the natural environment does not obtain any benefits. The case study under Category 2 (Connecting with the Environment) differs to those in Category 1 because an effort is made by the developer to restore some greenery to compensate for the natural rainforest that was destroyed to allow for the development. With greenery and the natural environment being a key element in marketing this development of luxury residences, replenishing the greenery is inevitable. Case Study 5 which falls under Category 3 (Alternative Options) prioritises the allocation of greenery in the development, as the architect behind the concept acknowledges that the shade provided by the trees reduces the surrounding temperature. The levels of thermal comfort in the house interiors would therefore be affected directly by the quantity and type of surrounding external greenery.

Question 6 from the questionnaire ranks factors in relation to the adoption of environmentally sustainable principles into the design and construction phase of future buildings via authoritative bodies. The factors are ranked in the following order from Most important to Least important:

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1. Health of Building Occupant 2. A Healthy Surrounding Environment 3. Preservation of the Environment for Future Generations 4. Comfort of Building Occupant 5. Building Aesthetics

The first factor is indirectly associated with the second and third factor, as poor conditions (air pollution etc.) of the surrounding environment will affect the physical health of the people in it. The ranking order indicates the importance of the environment as perceived by the questionnaire participants.

5.2.2

Spatial Organisation

Case Studies 1 and 2 depict the typical double storey terraced house layout created for the middle to high end sector of the market for the general population. The renovations that are commonly carried out on these housing typologies to enhance the spatial allocations, by those who can afford it, indicate that there is a need for the layouts to be revised. Case Study 3 has a significantly smaller plot area and built-up area as it is built for the lower end of the market. The members of the general population who choose to purchase this home will most likely be unable to afford renovations.

Case Study 4, portrays a more comfortable spatial arrangement with an internal courtyard. Though incorporating environmentally sustainable elements such as the courtyard, this housing development is built for the higher end of the market, making it unaffordable by the general population. This case study however does indicate that it is currently possible to market the terraced house typology featuring an internal courtyard that encourages a connection with the natural environment.

The honeycomb housing concept behind Case Study 5 demonstrates via Table 5.1 that it is possible to match the density of a generic terraced housing grid layout. Though the interior spatial organisation is fairly similar to

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the former case studies, the external wall areas separating the interiors from the natural environment are significantly increased, enabling the use of more natural light and ventilation.

THEORETICAL MODEL Honeycomb Housing Road Sellable Land Greenery Number of units per acre Average Lot Size (sq ft) 33% 58% 9% 15% 1658 Terraced Housing 47% 44% 9% 15% 1261

Table 5.1 Land-use efficiency based on generic layouts in Figure 4.27.
Source : Davis, MP, Ghazali, M & Nordin, NA 2006, Thermal Comfort Honeycomb Housing, Universiti Putra Malaysia, Kuala Lumpur, pp.121.

Case Study 6 demonstrates another alternative to the generic terraced house layout, drawing its concepts of the raised floor and permeable walls and flooring from the traditional Malay house. This prototype model based on a standard terraced house plot averaging 1600 square feet has modular panels for walls and floors enabling various internal configurations to accommodate the spatial preferences of the occupant.

In the questionnaire, Question 7 had the participants rank factors that were based on current housing estates. The ranking results in order of importance are Efficient Space Utilisation, Construction Costs, Thermal Comfort and Aesthetics. With Aesthetics perceived to be the least important factor, it allows for a likely conclusion that the common occurrences of terraced house renovations occur more to change the aesthetics of the house as opposed to having more spatially efficient interiors. These aesthetic changes would typically comprise the change of surface finishes. However, a separate study would be required to validate the connection between what people say versus what people do in this context.

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5.2.3

Thermal Comfort

The case studies in Category 1-Typical Terraced Housing, fail to provide acceptable levels of indoor thermal comfort without the use of air conditioning units. Case Study 1 has louvred glass windows above the staircase to allow for the release of hot air, but this feature does not significantly affect the levels of thermal comfort as the rest of the house lacks cross ventilation.

The courtyard in Case Study 4 (Category 2- Connecting with the Environment) enables cross ventilation, however, this alone is not enough to create acceptable levels of thermal comfort in the house. As this housing development is meant for the higher end of the market, most likely out of obligation, the developer provides air conditioning units in the living area and master bedroom.

Case Study 5 (Category 3 - Alternative Options) successfully demonstrates how an acceptable level of indoor thermal comfort can be achieved without depending on air conditioning, with the use of insulation. The Case Study 6 prototype suggests how better levels of thermal comfort can be achieved indoors by adopting architectural elements and construction methods from the traditional Malay house typology.

In reference to Question 7 from the questionnaire, the participants ranked factors that were based on current housing estates in the following order of importance are Efficient Space Utilisation, Construction Costs, Thermal Comfort and Aesthetics. The ranking order reflected by Table 4.9 positions Thermal Comfort towards being of lesser importance. The case studies especially those from Category 1 concur with this result.

5.2.4

Energy Consumption

The case studies in Category 1 depend on fans for cooling the interiors. Air conditioning units will be used by those who can afford it as they are a necessity to achieve ideal levels of thermal comfort (24 to 28 degrees Celcius) in these houses, especially during the daytime. With the exceptions

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of the corner lots, the houses in Category 1 have access to natural light via the front and back facades. The roof level windows in Case Study 1 allow natural light into the staircase area. The availability of natural light is under utilised in the house designs, therefore increasing the dependency on artificial lighting during the day.

The Category 2 case study successfully incorporates the courtyard into the layout. Though this courtyard would enable cross ventilation to enhance levels of thermal comfort in the interior spaces without the use of air conditioning, the nature of the development does not encourage the occupants of these houses to make use of the cross ventilation. However, the natural light which fills the interior spaces via the courtyard will reduce the dependency on artificial lighting throughout the day.

With Case Study 5, as mentioned in the section on spatial organisation, the external wall areas separating the interiors from the natural environment are significantly increased, compared to the case studies in Category 1, allowing for more openings. The dependency on artificial lighting during the day will be minimal. This housing concept is designed to accommodate its occupants comfortably without having to depend on air conditioning. Natural ventilation is a key element in the design of Case study 6. With optimum levels of cross ventilation, air conditioning may not be a necessity. The dependency on artificial lighting cannot be accurately determined as this case study is presented as a concept.

The results of Question 9 from the questionnaire indicate that the participants deem it viable for environmentally sustainable principles to be adopted into the design and construction phase of new homes, where it results in minimising the energy consumption costs of the homes.

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5.2.5

Conclusion

Based on the content of this section (5.2), the following points have been extracted in the context of environmental sustainability in relation to Malaysia’s terraced housing developments: (i) Marketing strategies associate the plot size of the house with life style levels. Typically, with factors such as location and community infrastructure aside, the larger the internal built-up area of the house is, the more luxurious it is. Though houses like the one featured as Case Study 3, are built for the lower end of the market, the compact nature of it is not necessarily a negative feature. The smaller area not only allows for the housing estate density to increase, but also reduces the energy consumption of the enduser. In the Malaysian context, the association of spacious homes with a luxurious lifestyle may have to evolve to address the issue of environmental sustainability in relation to urban sprawl. (ii) While the intention to optimise the use of natural light and ventilation in a house is commendable, architects and developers have to be cautious not to increase the levels of heat gain to the interiors, when designing the house. In this context, site orientation is a crucial factor. (iii) The widespread use of air conditioning in homes will not stop. However, the design of homes which are well insulated can reduce the heat load placed on the air conditioning units. Increasing areas of shade with tree planting around the houses will also contribute to reducing the heat load. Case Study 5 has the reduction of the heat load as a key element in the housing development.

5.3

Responses from the Environment

The level of awareness regarding the importance of creating environmentally friendly homes which will incorporate factors such as energy efficiency and eco-sensitivity is one that is slowly increasing. Developers and builders are hoping for the government to offer rebates for the incorporation of renewable

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energy resources such as solar panels and rainwater harvesters into the housing industry.115 With the increasing awareness on the topic of sustainable development, there is a small number of housing developments which are attempting to take the environment into consideration.

Case Study 4, 20Trees by SDB Properties, is one of them. SDB Properties is a property development company which is aware of its role in creating developments which are more sensitive towards the environment. Managing director Teh Lip Kim, writes in her article titled ‘Go Green for a Brighter Future’, “The world is going green and as property developers we should place priority on how we can contribute towards a better environment and the community at large..... Developers can start off by taking small steps such as making use of natural air, light and ventilation when we design.”116 These “small steps” are reflected in the 20Trees development. On that note of prioritising the betterment of the environment, developers should be aware that choosing to proceed with housing developments that are destroying vast areas of natural rainforest can have adverse effects on the people that occupy these developments.

Damansara 21 is another residential development by SDB Properties comprising 21 luxury bungalows buit on a hillside slope, costing between RM 10 million to RM 15 million.117The following text explains how this development has affected its surrounding environment. Work on site commenced in December 2007. Residents of the adjacent neighbourhood are against the project for environmental reasons; mainly soil erosion of the existing hillside.

115 116

Phoon, Z & Rajan, P 2007(15 September), ‘Push for affordable housing’, Property-New StraitsTimes, pp.9. Teh, LK, Go Green for a Brighter Future, September 8th 2007, retrieved 13 October 2007, <http://biz.thestar.com.my/bizweek/story.asp?file=/2007/9/8/bizweek/18794028&sec=bizweek> 117 Refer to Appendix 9 for related articles.

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Figure 5.2 The slope for the Damansara 21 development.
Source Lim, LE, Damansara 21 Stop Work Order Lifted, retrieved 15 December 2008, <http://limlipeng.blogspot.com/2008/10/damansara-21-stop-work-order-lifted.html>

In April 2008, the Kuala Lumpur City Hall had issued a stop-work order and fined the developer RM100,000 as the project did not comply with safety standards and there was no proper drainage system. The developer built a retaining wall and issued the following statement: : “SDB Properties Sdn Bhd will continue to maintain the highest safety and environmental standards.” 118

In May 2008, SDB's managing director Teh Lip Kim expressed that the protests by the residents from the adjacent neighbourhood was unfair as the group had taken pains to ensure that it has gone through all the necessary legal and regulatory processes.119 Attempting some form of justification by pointing out their committment to spending RM34 million on infrastructure work to strengthen the slope and increase safety, Teh added that “Despite going by all the rules, residents are still protesting…..As a developer and an investor in the country, when all this is called into question, it really puts the investment sentiment of the country at risk." 120

In August 2008, flash floods caused the retaining wall to collapse, sending streams of mud into the adjacent neighbourhood. The flash floods were most likely caused due to the many other developments all over the city.

The Star Online, Builder: We are only rectifying flaws in Damansara 21 project, April 26 2008, retrieved 15 December 2008, <http://thestar.com.my/news/story.asp?file=/2008/4/26/central/21070020&sec=central> 119 Property NST, Damansara project hangs in balance, May 26 2008, retrieved 15 December 2008, <http://properties.emedia.com.my/listnews.php?propNewsID=836&CatID=N00> 120 Ibid.

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Due to a landslide related tragedy in Bukit Antarabangsa in December 2008, which killed for people and forced thousands of people to evacuate their homes, the Damansara 21 project has been put on hold.121 Such incidents call for the government to enforce laws that will prevent further damage of the environment, especially because SDB justified their development by having adhered to the existing rules and regulations, which in this instance appear to be inadequate.

5.4

Roles and Responsibilities

Enabling the incorporation of environmentally sustainable elements into Malaysia’s housing developments for the general population is an achievable task. Based on the findings in the previous chapter, this section demonstrates the feasibility of the task by discussing the roles and responsibilities of : (i) (ii) (iii) (iv) the general population housing developers industry professionals ( engineers, architects etc. ) government bodies

5.4.1

General Population

The attitude of Malaysia’s general population as home-buyers is highlighted by architect Lee Chor Wah in his article entitled ‘Housing – Current Challenges (Quality vs Quantity)’:

“Go to any launch of new housing projects, the most common queries from the buyers are – What is the built-up area? How many bedrooms are there? How much is it per square foot?.....Has life in Malaysia gotten so impoverished that the public is only interested in the quantity rather than the quality of life? What about the quality of spaces? Of spatial experiences? Of

121

Agence France-Presse, Malaysia bans hillside developments after landslide: report, December 7 2008, retrieved 15 December 2008, <http://news.my.msn.com/regional/article.aspx?cp-documentid=1826677> Refer to Appendix 9 for related articles.

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simple efficient space planning?....Occasionally a buyer may enquire about the orientation of the unit – Is it west facing? That’s about the depth of the public’s expectations for their dream home. Doesn’t matter if the bathrooms have no proper shower recesses….Doesn’t matter if the floor plans (especially for terrace houses) are all the same; as though every Malaysian leads a similar lifestyle regardless of vocation, religion and race.”122

Looking back at the past when the general population occupied homes that were built by individuals with the help of the community members to accommodate the needs of the household, it is a shame that present day home buyers have to adapt their households to generic layouts that may not necessarily suit their spatial needs. This is partially due to the lack of awareness and education in regards to the basic elements that form a house that suits the Malaysian context. Early Malaysian vernacular homes were designed and constructed by the occupants and communities based on how they lived, but the ubiquitous terraced house of today has its design dictated by marketing strategies employed by housing developers.

With Question 11 from the questionnaire, when asked to nominate factors that would encourage the adoption of environmentally sustainable principles into the design and construction phase of homes, ‘An increased level of awareness among clients on the subject’ was the second most popular factor out of five. Another factor that was listed under ‘Others’ was ‘Increasing the awareness of the end-users who will eventually dictate the marketability of environmentally sustainable housing’. This factor was listed by a developer.

As indicated in the previous chapter, Question 2 of the questionnaire has all the participants agreeing that future housing estates aimed at the general population should adopt environmentally sustainable principles into the design and construction phase. Awareness which portrays housing with environmentally sustainable elements as a necessity amongst the members

Ngiom & Tay, L 2000, 80 Years of Architecture in Malaysia, PAM (Malaysian Institute of Architects), Kuala Lumpur, pp.61-62.

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of Malaysia’s general population should eventually create a demand for such housing.

5.4.2

Developers

Ninety-four percent of the participants responded to Question 10 from the questionnaire discussed in the previous chapter by agreeing that a developer’s role is significant in shaping market demands for the future.

In the Malaysian context, environmental issues generally have little or no priority on a developer’s agenda, as the focus is laid more on issues such as sales and profits, especially with the case studies from Category 1. Building by-laws developed to encourage environmental sustainability will have an impact on the housing produced by developers.

The awareness and education of the general public on environmentally sustainable housing will affect the market demand. Future housing developments will then have to meet these demands. The creation of housing developments comprising environmentally sustainable elements does not rely solely in the hand of developers.

5.4.3

Industry Professionals

With Question 11 from the questionnaire, when asked to nominate factors that would encourage the adoption of environmentally sustainable principles into the design and construction phase of homes, ‘An increased level of awareness among industry professionals on the subject’ was the third most popular factor out of five. A.S.Hassan concludes his book titled ‘Issues in Sustainable Development of Architecture in Malaysia’, that with the purpose of developing a housing

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typology which works with its surrounding climate, the following should be looked into123: (i) Construction methods which do not involve site reclamation and clearing. (ii) A manufacturing system of prefabricated components to replace the bricklaying system. (iii) New materials for the prefabricated components which match the properties of timber, but are fire resistant.

Besides developing environmentally sustainable design solutions, industry professionals play an important role in educating the general population and helping to create awareness on the significance of environmentally sustainable design.

5.4.4

Government Bodies

Paul Hawken states in ‘The Ecology of Commerce: A Declaration of Sustainability’: “The role of government is to assume those functions that cannot or will not be undertaken by citizens or private institutions…But forgotten is the true meaning and purpose of politics, to create and sustain the conditions for community life… In other words, politics is very much about food, water, life, and death, and thus intimately concerned with the environmental conditions that support the community….It is the role of government, then, as a political act, to set standards within the community”124

Parts of the questionnaire draw attention to the role of the Malaysian government in relation to environmental sustainability. Questions 4 and 5 from the questionnaire have all the participants agreeing to the introduction of building by-laws and guidelines in relation to environmentally sustainable principles for residential buildings.

Hassan, AS 2004, Issues in Sustainable Development of Architecture in Malaysia, Penerbit Universiti Sains Malaysia, Penang, pp.117. 124 Williams, D 2007, Sustainable Design: ecology, architecture & planning, John Wiley & Sons, USA, pp.26-27.

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Discussion

With Question 11 from the questionnaire, when asked to nominate factors that would encourage the adoption of environmentally sustainable principles into the design and construction phase of homes, ‘Support from government bodies’ was the most popular factor out of five.

Question 11(a) seeked input from the participants in regards to the type of support they felt the government should provide. A summary of the responses in order of popularity are as follows: (i) Providing financial incentives for home owners, home occupiers and developers for the use of environmentally sustainable elements. (e.g. subsidies, tax rebates). (ii) (iii) Setting up and enforcing laws relating to the subject. Promoting and providing information on the subject

The input from the participants concur with Hawken by placing the responsibility of setting standards relating to environmental sustainability in the hands of the government.

5.4.5

Summary

To conclude this section (5.4), the responsibility of sustaining the environment from the aspect of housing is one that is shared by everyone. The attitudes of the general population, industry professionals and government bodies towards the creation of environmentally sustainable housing have the potential to encourage developers to produce such housing.

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6

CONCLUSION

Conclusion

6.1

Findings

Throughout the last few decades, housing developers in Malaysia have been focusing on providing more homes to deal with the ever growing urban population, and have failed to address environmental issues which run parallel to these developments. This thesis identifies the following factors as elements that contribute to the current situation of Malaysia’s terraced housing: (i) An awareness of the importance and significance of environmentally sustainable housing is lacking amongst the general public. (ii) The government has not enforced mandatory regulations for the construction of environmentally sustainable housing. (iii) The construction industry professionals (architects, engineers etc.) and developers continue to create non-environmentally sustainable housing due to the lack of regulations and incentives by the government to do so otherwise.

The factors listed above implicate that in order for Malaysia’s housing developments for the general population to incorporate environmentally sustainable elements: (i) The general public needs to be educated and made aware of the importance and significance of environmentally sustainable housing. This will create a demand for such housing. (ii) A set of regulations pertaining to environmentally sustainable housing needs to be put together and enforced by the government.

6.2

Limitations of the Research

This thesis covers a small aspect of environmentally sustainable design in the context of Malaysia’s residential developments. The outcomes of this study are limited by scope and methodology. A different approach towards

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Conclusion

the same topic in regards to scope and methodology would generate different outcomes.

6.3

Further Research

The scope of research presented in this thesis may be extended by: (i) Developing different questionnaires for the same categories of participants (Home Owners, Industry Professionals and Developers), on a larger scale, to gather further insight on the current Malaysian housing situation in relation to environmental sustainability. (ii) Compiling and expanding on existing design solutions that address the lack of environmentally sustainable elements in the housing developments for Malaysia’s general population. (iii) Assessing the feasibility of successfully incorporating environmentally sustainable elements into all future housing developments for Malaysia’s general population.

This thesis indicates that there are possibilities for further research involving: (i) The process of educating the Malaysian general public and creating an awareness of the importance and significance of environmentally sustainable housing. (ii) Affordable environmentally sustainable design solutions for Malaysia’s mass housing developments. (iii) A comparative analysis of the terraced house typology in Malaysia with those from other parts of the world. (iv) A comparative analysis of the dominant forms of housing for the general populations of countries in tropical climates around the world.

In conclusion, this thesis endeavours to contribute to existing studies relating to the creation of environmentally sustainable housing for Malaysia’s general population.

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