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Sustainable Township Development In Malaysia Environmental Sciences Essay

Paper Type: Free Essay Subject: Environmental Sciences
Wordcount: 4934 words Published: 1st Jan 2015

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According to Paul-Marie Boulanger, the concept of sustainable development was originally same as the sustainability. Both of these terms were derived from an older forestry term “sustained yield”, which was a translation of German term “nachhaltigerErtag” since 1713. From various sources, it was shown that the concept of sustainability in the sense of a balance between the consumption and reproduction of resources was already been applied in the 12th to 16th century.

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Adans, W.N. (2006) said that, the history of the concept of sustainability is much older than what was expected. Since during 400 BCE, Aristotle was referred to a similar Greek concept in talking about household economics. The first use of the term “sustainable” in the modern sense was by the Club of Rom in March 1972 in making the report of “Limits to Growth”, which was written by a group of scientists led by Dennis and Donella Meadows of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.

Ar Dr Tan Loke Mun once said that, greenhouse gasses and ozone depletion became household words following the Earth Summit in Rio, 1992 and since then, Green building ratings began to be developed all around the world. UK had developed BREEAM as their rating tool; USA had developed LEED as their rating tool; whereas for Malaysia, GBI was developed as Green rating tool in Malaysia. He also said that, the GBI Malaysia was introduced on 3rd January 2009 at the Green Design Forum which was held at Kuala Lumpur Convention Centre.

As stated by Jackson, T. & Michaelis, L. (2003), the concept of “sustainability” can be linked to human development which was originated in the 1970s with books such as Goldsmith’s “blueprint for Surviva!” (1972) and the Club of Rome’s “Limits to Growth” (1972). In the same year, 1972, the United Nations Conference on the Human Environment, in Stockholm put the spotlight on the reconciliation of environment and economic development.

From what was told by Ar Dr Tan Loke Mun, after the realization that buildings and the built development contributes significantly to the greenhouse gas emissions, all the buildings and development needed to be re-designed to minimize the negative impact which will be imposed to the environment. By using GBI rating tools as reference, the final built product will perform better in its location while minimizing the negative impacts released to the surroundings during development.

1.2 Problem Statement

According to Punitha Silivarajoo (2009), there are many negative impacts which arise from the current development skill. For instance, loss of income from polluted resources such as rivers and beaches, loss of ecosystem services, and the most serious factor is that, it contributing into the causes of climate change and global warming. Climate change can cause several chain reactions such as flash flood which happens commonly in Kuala Lumpur area.

From what was told by our Prime Minister of Malaysia, Dato’ Sri Mohd Najib (2011), the worst scenarios of climate disasters due to the global effects of carbon emissions and climate change should not be taken lightly. The building and construction sector which accounts nearly 40% of the world’s energy consumption eventually contributing to the climate change and global warming due to the increasing concentration of greenhouse gases which caused by the current development. He also said that, the Green Building Index Township Tool was introduced and implemented to set out a vision for sustainability within the built environment which provides guidance to assist the State and Local Authorities, developers, builders and professionals to deliver more environment-friendly and sustainable townships and communities.

Therefore, this research was carried out to identify why the sustainable township development is being used in Malaysia nowadays as well as the impact of emission of CO2.

1.3 Aim

To study why sustainable township development is being used in Malaysia.

1.4 Objectives

To identify the reasons why implement sustainable township development in Malaysia.

To identify what will happen in future if current development continues without implementing sustainable township.

To identify what are the criteria need to be taken care during implementation of sustainable township development.

1.5 Hypothesis

The sustainable township development is being implemented because it gives many advantages over its disadvantages as compared to the non-sustainable township development. The negative impacts from non-sustainable township development are eventually causing many problems to the environment.

1.6 Research Methodologies

According to Kumar (2005), placing of literature review is one of the essential preliminary tasks when you intend to undertake a research study is to go through the literature in order to acquaint yourself with the knowledge in the field you interesting in. He also said that literature review can help to make a valuable contribution to almost every operational step in the research.

As what were said by Richard Fellows & Anite Liu (2008), there are two major types of data collection: primary data and secondary data. Primary data are sources which can be gained by the researcher as close as possible to what was happened during the event or time whereas secondary data are sources which can be gathered through interpretation or analysing of data and is usually based on primary data.

From what was told by Dawson, Catherine (2002) in the Practical Research Methods, primary data is data that being collected for the first time; secondary date is data which have been already collected and analysed by someone else. Observation is one of the common methods which are being used as primary data collection.

In this research, questionnaire will be set and distributed to the person who involves themselves in the construction industry such as contractor, quantity surveyor and architect. Example of the question that will be asked to them is about their thinking of current township development in Malaysia whether it is sustainable or not. About 30 to 50 copies of questionnaire will be distributed to the respondents.


2.1 What is Sustainable Township?

In regards with GBI (2012), Sustainable Township was defined as liveable places which meet the diverse needs of the community, both now and in the future. These places are providing a high quality of life for the people who lives, work and play there by being well planned and designed, safe and secure, and enhances the surrounding environment. It also mentioned that the basis on the concept of sustainable development is the balanced approached to addressing the environmental, social and economic issues.

Sustainable Townships are integrated planned habitats which focus on the interior of the buildings, architectural design of the buildings, as well as the living environment by emphasize on maximizing energy and resource savings, the use and recycling of natural resources, and also promoting the public health and general welfare of urban population and reducing the negative impacts that surround the environment.

Other than that, Sustainable Townships are also well landscaped and providing the basic needs or amenities for human being, for example, parks and playgrounds which can be used to improve the interaction and integration among the local communities. In response with the 10th Malaysia Plan, several steps are being taken by the Ministry of Housing and Local Government to ensure the needs of current and future communities by stimulating the rapid growth of urbanization which is expected to increase from 67% in 2010 to 75% by 2020.

Green Building Index (GBI) and GBI Township Tool were introduced as advisable Malaysia rating system in promoting the Green Technology as a new driver for the economic growth of the country by offering tremendous opportunities and potentials in the economic regeneration, innovation and wealth creation. Pertubuhan Arkitek Malaysia (PAM) and the Association of Consulting Engineers Malaysia (ACEM)’s initiatives in introducing the GBI Township Tool (version II) are being appreciated very much as the green transformation can be taken into the next level, as well as in line with the Government’s New Economic Model, which is to become a high-income nation that is both inclusive and sustainable by the year of 2020.

According to TimothyBeatley, the word ‘sustainability’ was derived from the Latin word ‘sustinere’ which means ‘to hold’. Various dictionaries had defined various meaning of ‘sustainability’, but the main one to be referred here having the meaning of ‘maintain’, ‘support’ or ‘endure’. For the word ‘township’, is defined as a city. Thus, by combining these information, ‘sustainable township development’ can be explained as a development of city which can maintain or support longer with better quality than the other township development.

From Brundland Report (1987), sustainable township development was defined as an development which meets the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs. From the report, there are two key concepts contained within it: the concept of ‘needs’, which means to which overriding priority should be given; and secondly the idea of limitations imposed by the state of technology and social organization on the environment’s ability to meet the needs of both present and future.

2.2 Why Implement Sustainable Townships Development

On September, 2011, our Prime Minister, Dato’ Sri Mohd Najib had announced plans for a Low Carbon Cities Framework and Assessment System to bring Malaysia into a low carbon economy and he made a promise that the carbon dioxide emissions will be reduced by 40% by 2020 compared to 2005. It is his aspiration to develop both Putrajaya and Cyberjaya as shining examples of eco-friendly townships and replicating it in other towns and cities across Malaysia. In other words, Putrajaya and Cyberjaya will be the first two Sustainable Township in Malaysia.

According to Warren Kerlenzig, 2009, some of our biggest challenges in cutting carbon to reduce global climate change will be in understanding the system dynamics that the cities and other corporation or neighborhoods comprise. Therefore, GBI Township Tool was set out for Sustainable Township Development for sustainability within the built environment and to provide guidance that is able to deliver the Sustainable Townships in the Malaysia Context.

A scientist in the 19th century, Svantte Arrhenius, said that gases in the atmosphere cause a “greenhouse effect” which affects the planet’s temperature. He had calculated that the carbon emissions from human industry might someday contribute to global warming, which is happening nowadays. At that time, the other scientists dismissed his thought as faulty. Since 1938, the level of carbon dioxide was increasing and raising global temperature. Then only the argument was found implausible. Researchers found that gases, especially carbon dioxide, which mostly being produced from construction industry, play a crucial role in the climate change and the rising level would gravely affect our future.

Tony Cooper, 2007, said that there are different scenarios which cause the emissions of carbon dioxide (CO2) and all of these eventually contributed to global warming. He also said that, the global warming is caused by the emission of greenhouse gases, and 72% of the total emitted greenhouse gas is CO2. CO2 is created when fossil fuels such as oil, diesel and natural gas are being burned. The CO2 emitted have been dramatically increasing within these last 50 years and it is still increasing.

The CO2 is being taken as serious factors in contributing to global warming because it can remain in the atmosphere for at least 80 years and can be up to 200 years. According to the recent investigation, if the global temperatures keep on increasing by more than 2° C, an unimaginable catastrophic which will change in the environment is expected to take place. From the information above, it can be concluded the CO2 which released from current development will contribute to the greenhouse effect which eventually become global warming, which is one of the hot topic being discussed all around the world. Therefore, to overcome the problem of global warming, the emission of greenhouse effect must be reduced, and to reduce the effect of greenhouse, the most effective way is by minimizing the CO2 emission especially in the construction industry.


Contributes to

Current Development


Greenhouse Effect

Global warming


Figure – Negative impacts of current Township Development2.2.1 Impacts of Global Warming

Global warming happens due to increase in air temperature. There are several chain effects which will occur due to global warming. Melting of Polar Ice Caps

The deadliest effect of global warming is raise of sea level. When the sea level is raised, the polar ice caps will definitely be melted by the water. Ice caps are white in colour and thus it helps in reflect the sunlight, which helps in cooling our earth. If the ice caps are melted, the only sunlight is the ocean, thus the temperature all around the world will be increased. Since ice caps are fresh water, if they are melted, desalinization of sea water will occur. The sea water will become less salty, and it will cause species that live in the sea to face the problem of extinction. Increased the probability and intensity of droughts and heat waves

As global warming happens, some areas of the earth will become wetter, but some other areas will suffer the problems of droughts and heat waves, such as Africa. Now, the water is already a scarce commodity in Africa, the global warming will worsen the condition. Changes in Seasons and Seasonal Characters

Different areas have their own seasons and seasonal character. However, global warming will results in changes of these seasons and seasonal character. Most of the areas will no longer have the summer or winter seasons. Due to change in air temperature and rainfall patterns, the seasons will also be preponed or postponed. Spreading of Diseases

Due to change in environment, many species may not be able to suit themselves in the newly changed environment and facing dead. Thus, many of these species will die and their corpses which are not taken care will cause new diseases to occur and spreading all around the world unpredictably. Some of these diseases may even cause death. Poor areas with poor medical facilities will definitely suffering much more than the others.

2.2.2 Merits of Implementing Sustainable Township Development

Implementation of sustainable township development not only helps in reducing the carbon emission but also giving some others benefits. For instance, sustainable township development uses sustainable design which helps in maximizing the energy efficiency by using sustainable energy such as solar energy. This not only helps the residents to reduce their cost for electricity usage but also helps in reducing the emission of CO2 because CO2 is emitted from the usage of electricity. Other than energy efficiency, water efficiency can also be done.

Next, sustainable township development helps in reducing the pollutions. Most of the non-sustainable township development will cause pollutions in term of air, water as well as sound pollution. In sustainable township development, all the industrial area will be placed on the edges of the township and is some distance to the residential area. This can help in reducing sound pollution caused by industrial area to the residential area. Other than sound pollution, air pollution problem can also be solved. Some more, unlike the non-sustainable township development, in this sustainable township development, the pollution will be controlled by introducing a clearer and practice of site sedimentation. This means that the water pollution can be prevented as well.

Besides, more green spaces such as public park, playground, community run herb garden, and also recreational lakes will be provided in a sustainable township. This can actually create a healthy and lively community. It was said that greenery helps to release our stress especially when tiring after working for a whole day. Presence of lakes enables the community to spend their time over there with their beloved family during the weekend or holidays. The water quality of the lakes will be maintained at high quality all the time.

One of the main merits of a sustainable township is the sustainable transportation network. The transportation network provided is well connected to all places within the township. It is an ease for the residential to go everywhere they want as long as in the township. In other non-sustainable township, the problems always faced by the residents are the transportation problems. The public transport such as buses and taxi are hardly available during certain period of time or at some areas. In sustainable township, the residents no longer have to worry about the problem of transportation as public transport such as buses and taxi is available everywhere from time to time. The road will also be designed in the best way to minimize or even avoid the traffic jam problem, which is also another problem that faced by everyone in the non-sustainable township, especially during the peak hour.

When a new sustainable township is being developed, there will be many companies going to venture. Thus, the rate of employment will be increased. In addition, the residents in the township able to find a job which near their houses. Since the working place is just near to their houses, most of them will either walk or take public transport such as buses instead of driving, which will help in reduce the probability of traffic jam.

2.2.3 Incentives Given by Government

In publicity of sustainable township development, two main incentives are given by out Malaysia Government. Firstly, is the tax exemption for green building user? According to GBI, 2011, any person who incurs qualifying expenditure (QE) to obtain GBI certification for a building used for his business qualifies for tax exemption. This tax incentive provides exemption on the statutory income which is equivalent to 100% of that expenditure. The qualifying expenditure is also known as the Green Building Cost Sum, which means an additional expenditure incurred in relation to construction of a building, alteration, renovation, extension or improvement of an existing building. The exemption can be up to 100% of statutory income for each year of assessment. According to the guidelines issued by Lembaga Hasil Dalam Negeri Malaysia (LHDNM), any unutilised QE can be carried forward to subsequent years of assessment until the amount is fully exempted and this tax exemption only applies once for each building certified from 24 October 2009 until 31 December 2014.

The second incentive given by the Malaysia Government is stamp duty exemption. According to GBI, 2011, the stamp duty exemption provides exemption on instruments of transfer of ownership of buildings and residential properties acquired from property developers and awarded GBI certificate. The exemption is on the additional cost of the property incurred to obtain the GBI certificate. According to LHDNM, the exemption is only given for the first transfer of ownership of the building and for sales and purchase agreements executed from 24 October 2009 until 31 December 2014 and once certified, the applicants can claim for the tax exemption or stamp duty exemption in their annual Income Tax return Forms.

2.3 GBI Township Tool

To identify whether a township development is sustainable or not, GBI township tool will be used. The varies Green Rating tools such as GBI Townships Tools are being used to assist the architects, designers, builders, planners, developer as well as the end users to exposed themselves to the impact of each and every of the design choices well in moving towards to be more environmentally-friendly. The developer can take this GBI township tool as a reference before the commencement of development.

6 key criteria in GBI Township Tool

Climate, Energy & Water (CEW)

Ecology & Environment (EEC)

Community Planning & Design (CPD)

Transportation & Connectivity (TRC)

Building & Resources (BDR)

Business & Innovation (BSI)

Figure – 6 key criteria in GBI Township Tool

2.4 GBI Assessment Criteria for Sustainable Townships Development in Malaysia

2.4.1 Climate, Energy & Water (CEW)

To minimise the impact on the environment by practicing energy efficiency, water efficiency and sustainable development. These can be achieved by minimising the impact of heat island effect, minimising the energy consumption, and also utilising the renewable energy technology such as micro-generation. Other than that, the on-going production and consumption of energy and water will be balanced. In order to achieve the aim of zero net carbon emissions, the passive design principles are maximised, as well as adopting the onsite energy generation. Water efficiency can be achieved through the reduction of main water consumption, rainwater harvesting and grey water recycling. Grey water is water comes from the laundry machines, dish-washes, bathtubs, and sinks. It does not include any human waste or sewerage.

This criterion holds a maximum of 20 points for the allocation of points in the Township Tool. The following are the key issues and assessment criteria:

Heat Island Design Principles 4 credits

Efficient Streetscape & Greenspace Lighting 2 credits

On Site Green Generation 2 credits

Renewable Energy 4 credits

Reduced Water Use 4 credits

Reduction in Water Waste 4 credits

2.4.2 Environmental & Ecology (EEC)

The impact on the environment can be minimised by adopting several practices as well as preserving the site ecology and biodiversity. Respect and do not destroy the surrounding environment and the native ecological systems. Always be sensitive to the needs of the local ecology and biodiversity. Preserve and enhance the ecological value of the environment. This can helps in stabilising the land which will also reduce the impact during flooding.

This criterion holds a maximum of 15 points for the allocation of points in the Township Tool. The following are the key issues and assessment criteria:

Biodiversity Conservation 2 credits

Land Reuse 1 credit

Ecology 3 credits

Flood Management and Avoidance 1 credit

Wetland and Water Body Conservation 1 credit

Agricultural Land Preserve 1 credit

Hill Slope Development 1 credit

Sustainable Stormwater Design & Management 2 credits

Proximity to Existing Infrastructure 1 credit

Services Infrastructure Provision 1 credit

Light Pollution 1 credit

2.4.3 Community Planning & Design (CPD)

To minimise the impacts on the environment and also to promote community connectivity and participation, the site should be chosen wisely and the space should be planned accordingly. The township is planned and designed for the benefits of the community who live, work or play there. It will be created using an integrated way to master the planning and the best design which emphasising on the people’s priority and also greenery. These can help in creating a strong sense of place for communities which will then results in a more livable and diverse neighbourhoods.

This criterion holds a maximum of 26 points for the allocation of points in the Township Tool. The following are the key issues and assessment criteria:

Greenspaces 3 credits

Compact Development 1 credit

Amenities for Communities 3 credits

Provision for Universal Accessibility 3 credits

Secure Design 2 credits

Health in Design 2 credits

Recycling Facilities 2 credits

Community Diversity 1 credits

Affordable Housing 1 credits

Community Thrust 4 credits

Governance 4 credits

2.4.4 Transportation and Connectivity (TRC)

To reduce the impacts caused by transportation, affordable and sustainable transportation network will be provided within the development and linkages outside the development. The township will be a well-connected place with the services of varies transportation options to ease the community. It will provide an excellent accessibility, connectivity and are well linked to most of the districts.

This criterion holds a maximum of 14 points for the allocation of points in the Township Tool. The following are the key issues and assessment criteria:

Green Transport Masterplan 8 credits

Availability and Frequency of Public Transport 1 credit

Facilities for Public Transportation 1 credit

Pedestrian Networks 1 credit

Cycling Networks 2 credits

Alternative Transport Options 1 credit

2.4.5 Building & Resources

Practice of sustainable construction to reduce the impacts due to consumption of primary resources. To lower the impact on resources, the ‘more from less’ principle is applied. The need will be emphasized to maximise the use of highly resource-intensive materials through using a life cycle approach. The local materials and resources will be made good use for the construction of new communities.

This criterion holds a maximum of 15 points for the allocation of points in the Township Tool. The following are the key issues and assessment criteria:

Low Impact Material (Infrastructure) 1 credit

Low Impact Material (Buildings or Structures) 1 credit

Regional Material 1 credit

Quality in Construction 2 credits

Construction Waste Management 1 credit

Site Sedimentation and Pollution Control 1 credit

Sustainable Construction Practice 2 credit

GBI Certified Building 6 credits

2.4.6 Business & Innovation

To meet the basic needs and requirements of communities by increase the employment through applying several innovative ways. More employment opportunities will be provided especially for the residents who live in the township so that they can work closer to their homes and places for business to be shaped and prosper.

This criterion holds a maximum of 10 points for the allocation of points in the Township Tool. The following are the key issues and assessment criteria:

Business 3 credits

Innovation 6 credits

GBI Facilitator 1 credit

2.5 Sustainability of Township Development

Many people is concerning about whether is our current township development sustainable? Was our past township development sustainable? From the information I get, most of the past township development is not sustainable. So far, only some township development can be considered as sustainable after the launching of GBI Township Rating Tool on 29 March 2011. The most commonly to be known for sustainable townships are Putrajaya and Cyberjaya. Our past township development is to be said as not sustainable because the township development does not fulfil the criteria in the GBI Township Rating Tool. For instance, sustainable transportation is one of the criteria in GBI Township Rating Tool which should be fulfilled. Public transport should be easily available for the residents of the township. The road should also be designed to minimize the occurrence of traffic jam. However, most of the residents in the past townships are facing the same biggest problem, which is the transportation problem. They are unsatisfied with the provision of public transport such as buses. In addition, traffic jam occurs in most of the township.

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A sustainable township is also means a township or city which is free of pollution. However, air pollution and sound pollution are another problems that faced by the residents of the past township. The industrial area is located just some miles away to the residential area. This is also one of the factors which cause the traffic jam. Maximizing the energy efficiency by using sustainable equipment or sustainable energy such as solar energy is also another characteristic of sustainable township development. In the past township development, the maximization of energy efficiency is not achieved. Many of the residents still fully use electricity supplied by TNB.


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