Sustainability is central to the long-term viability of our society. Green buildings are a key component of a sustainable society, but the construction of green buildings by themselves will never allow us to effectively address issues that sit outside of the scope of an individual building.
Holistic sustainability within the built environment is about the relationship between the environmental, the social and the economic factors, and how it is then used by the community.
Human economics and physical needs, for example work opportunities, investments, production, as well as housing, roads, transportation and facilities, all need to be balanced with the careful usage and preservation of natural resources such as forest reserves, natural waterways and topography.
Green Township is a mixed area with a close knit community. It is a place where people live, work and play.
Sustainable neighbourhoods meet the diverse needs of existing and future residents, are sensitive to their environment, and contribute to a high quality of life.
They are safe and inclusive, well planned, built and run, and offer equality of opportunity and good services to all.
The quality of life for Malaysians improved through better access to healthcare, public transport, electricity and water.
Measures were also taken to create a caring society and promote community wellbeing.
Economic development was based on sustainability principles to ensure that the environment and natural resources are preserved so that growth will not come at a cost to future generations.
People need to be aware of how passive building designs and better public transportation links not only contribute towards the global effort to fight global warming but also have the potential to save them money in terms of energy and fuel bills.
And with sustainable townships, people can benefit from the opportunity to invest in eco-friendly developments, which provide for a better quality of life.
Malaysia has embarked for green cities development in Malaysia and as a result of the activities of the Green Township flagship programme stipulated under the National Green Technology Policy which was officially unveiled on 24th July 2009 by the Prime Minister, Dato’ Sri Mohd. Najib Tun Abdul Razak.
Sustainable Townships are livable places that meet the diverse needs of the community, both now and in the future. They are places that are well planned and designed, safe and secure, and enhance the surrounding environment, thus providing a high quality of life for the people who live, work and play there.
Climate change and the impacts of global warming, have forced both governments and industry to make substantial changes to the way that they operate and function – the old business-as-usual adage is no longer acceptable in anyone’s language.
In recognition of this, the Malaysian Government has taken a significant step forward, especially as a developing nation, by committing to a minimum reduction of 40% of its carbon emissions by 2020 (based on 2005 carbon emission levels).
It must be noted, that the reduction of carbon emissions is only part of the solution, there is a clear need for a holistic approach to addressing sustainability issues, an approach that incorporates both mitigation and adaptation measures.
Countries throughout the globe have adopted various approaches and strategies for addressing climate change and driving sustainable development.
The Malaysian Government has set a range of ambitious policies and targets – what is now needed is a vehicle for the implementation and delivery of projects that support the government’s goals
Sustainable Townships are balanced in their ongoing production and consumption of energy and water. They aim for zero net carbon emissions – by maximising passive design principles, minimising the impact of heat island effect, minimising energy consumption, adopting onsite energy generation, utilising renewable energy technologies such as co-generation and micro-generation.
They are water neutral – through the reduction of mains water consumption, rainwater harvesting and grey water recycling.
Sustainable Townships respect their surrounding environment and native ecological systems. They are sensitive to the needs of the local ecology & biodiversity and aims to preserve and enhance the ecological value of the natural environment.
They assist in stabilising land – subsidence by reducing the impact of flooding and erosion.
Sustainable Townships are planned and designed for the benefit of the community. They are created using an integrated approach to master planning and best practice urban design principles emphasising people priority and green spaces.
Such goals help create a strong sense of place for communities – resulting in more liveable and diverse neighbourhoods.
Sustainable Townships are well-connected places that have a broad range of transportation options. They have excellent accessibility, connectivity and are well linked to surrounding districts.
They make good use of existing transport links and make priority and provision for future services – such as rail, bus and cycling networks.
Source: Malaysian Green Technology Corporation (GreenTech Malaysia), GBI Township Tool, Ken Holdings and Liveable space and sustainable townships – The Star, May 2011
(this article written for 1BINA.my)