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Omar, R., Ali Rahman, Z., Latif, M.T., Lihan, T. and Adam J.H. (Eds.

)
Proceedings of the Regional Symposium on Environment and Natural Resources (Vol. 1)
10-11th April 2002, Hotel Renaissance Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. Vol. 1: 261-269
____________________________________________________________________________________________________________

SOME PLANNING CONSIDERATION OF GARDEN CITY CONCEPT


TOWARDS ACHIEVING SUSTAINABLE DEVELOPMENT

Lilian T.Y.C.1, Ho C.S. and Ismail S.


1
Faculty of Built Environment
University of Technology Malaysia
E-mail: yeechi14@yahoo.com

ABSTRACT

Presently, rapid urban development in Malaysia has caused the problem of the lack
of green spaces in urban settings. Consequently, the lack of green spaces in urban
areas has contributed to the problem and issues related to unsustainable development
such as urban pollution, heat island, erosion and flood. The original idea of Garden
City emphasizes the allocation and function of greenbelt as a major component in
land use planning. Green space has played an important role in the environmental
health of urban dwellers. By implementing garden city planning will emphasizes the
allocation and function of green spaces for cities and towns to achieve the
environment health in urban setting. The garden city planning provides sufficient
open space in a network system that link residential areas to other land uses
including institution, commercial and recreation. The planning will ease people to
interact through circulation system including roads, pedestrianways and waterways.
The arrangement or layout of land uses and their features are legible enough for
residents and visitors to recognize each setting, either housing, commercial or
institution. In general, garden city concept will ensure a safe, comfort place to urban
residents. This paper discusses how garden city concept plays it role to help towards
to achieve the sustainable development.

1.0 INTRODUCTION

Urban people need space and healthy environment to rest and spend leisure time after
working long hours. The urban setting in many cities and towns still lack of enough open
spaces for the leisure activities. Natural resources including forests and water bodies are
cleared or reclaimed to create space for buildings and road system. Less priority is given
ample open space for the urban dwellers. The city of Kuala Lumpur only can provide 0.4
hectare of open space for the use of every 1,000 people, far less than many European
cities that provided 2 to 3 hectares for 1000 dwellers (Haji Nordin Hj Abdul Razak
1995:73). Insufficient of open space in urban areas may result to environment problems
such as urban pollution, heat island, and erosion and flood same as the issues in
unsustainable development.

To ensure a safe, comfort, and friendly environment for people, the concept of Garden
City may be applied. The concept emphasizes the allocation and functions of green space
in urban. This paper discusses how garden city concept plays its role to achieve the
sustainable development. The planning approach may to help to bring healthy and safe
living environment for the well being of urban people.
Omar, R., Ali Rahman, Z., Latif, M.T., Lihan, T. and Adam J.H. (Eds.)
Proceedings of the Regional Symposium on Environment and Natural Resources (Vol. 1)
10-11th April 2002, Hotel Renaissance Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. Vol. 1: 261-269
____________________________________________________________________________________________________________
The lack of green space is one of the increasing problems in many Malaysian towns and
cities. Thus, to keep the natural resources, garden city concept may play its role to help to
bring an environmental health to the well being. Furthermore, Malaysia may have the
potential to achieve the sustainable development whereby certain steps has been taken
such as creating Malaysia to be a Garden Nation, planting 3 million of trees by the year of
2005.

GARDEN CITY CONCEPT

The origin of the Garden City idea was developed by Ebenezer Howard in the 19 th
century (Moss-Eccordt 1973:10;Ward 1992:2). To overcome the depressing ugliness,
haphazard growth and unhealthful conditions of cities, Howard explained his Garden City
concept in his two famous books entitled Tomorrow: A Peaceful Path To Real Reform
published in 1898 and Garden Cities of Tomorrow a slightly revised version of the former
published in 1902.

Howard’s proposal emphasized the integration of the town, the country (Figure 1). He
started with discussions of the optimum size for towns whereby a central city of 58,000
people surrounded by smaller garden cities of 30,000 people each (Figure 2). Green space
or greenbelt and agricultural land will be as major component in the garden city whereby
the permanent green space would separate the city and towns and serving as a horizontal
fence of farmland. The requirement of the greenbelt or agricultural land for the Garden
City in Howard’s view was 5,000 acres of the total 6,000 acres. The overall concept of
Garden City and its internal layout illustrated in Figure 1, 2 and 3 (Gallion 1975; Melville
1975).

Figure 1: Ebenezer Howard, The Three Figure 2: Ebenezer Howard, Garden


Magnets. City.
In this concept, people can access easily through the rails and roads. Furthermore,
connections between towns for both people and goods can be by rail, the rapid transport
of his day. The distance between the railway station and the town center will to be about
one kilometer or a ten-minute walk. The time taken to cross from one side of the town to
the other is about twenty to thirty- minute walk1.

1
Moughtin, C.1996. Urban Design: Green Dimensions. Butterworth Architecture, Oxford. 100.

Lilian T.Y.C., Ho C.S. and Ismail S.


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Omar, R., Ali Rahman, Z., Latif, M.T., Lihan, T. and Adam J.H. (Eds.)
Proceedings of the Regional Symposium on Environment and Natural Resources (Vol. 1)
10-11th April 2002, Hotel Renaissance Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. Vol. 1: 261-269
____________________________________________________________________________________________________________

Figure 3: Ebenezer Howard Schematic Diagram Of Garden City.

In Garden City concept, Howard has helped to reduce the need for movement in a number
of ways. Schools are located at the nucleus of residential wards. Each ward was large
enough to be a complete segment of the town, which is containing a cross –section of its
population. The self- containment idea and community building and provision of ample
green space can help to achieve the sustainable development through reducing the
dependence of vehicle for movement.

In addition, Howard’s proposal also may help to reduce the needs for movement of
agricultural produce. The city will be surrounded by agricultural land and green space,
was capable of sustaining many of the needs of the town in terms of food supply and in
turn absorbing some of the waste products of the town. Hence, the garden city concept
may help towards to achieve the sustainable development.

SOME APPLICATIONS TO TOWN/CITIES

Many of the Howard’s idea were put in practice. For instance, Letchworth (Figure 4), is
located thirty-five miles from London with a total of land 3,822 acres2. A total of 1,300
acres of land has been reserved as a major component of greenbelt for the uses of
residences. It was designed for a maximum of 35,000 populations. In thirty years, the
town had successfully developed into a garden city with the total of population of 15,000,
with more than 150 shops and industries. The second garden city that successfully
developed was Welwyn (Figure 5). The site is located 24 miles form London. The site
was 2,378 acres and it was designed for a population of 40,000. In fifteen years it had a
population of 10,000 with fifty industries. Meanwhile, Howard’s concept for the garden
city was a means of controlling the growth of cities through the building series of new
towns physically separated from each other and from the parent city. The garden cities
were to be self-contained for the needs of the people. The garden city concept has
influenced many planners or the first group of new towns built in Britain after the Second
World War. For instance, Cumbernauld is the British new town to be built.

2
Ray Thomas et.al. 1973. The New Town Idea. Social Sciences: A second level course. Urban
Development Unit 26. The Open University Press, Milton Keynes .16.

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Omar, R., Ali Rahman, Z., Latif, M.T., Lihan, T. and Adam J.H. (Eds.)
Proceedings of the Regional Symposium on Environment and Natural Resources (Vol. 1)
10-11th April 2002, Hotel Renaissance Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. Vol. 1: 261-269
____________________________________________________________________________________________________________

Figure 4: The Location of Letchworth. Figure 5: The Location Of Welwyn.

Such idea of sustainable development is applied in Singapore beginning at the year of


1968. The initial step is to plant as much as greenery as possible to improve the quality of
the environment. The concept of Garden City becomes more defined and clearer only in
the 1980’s. In Singapore, Garden City is defined as a green, shady city filled with fruits
and flowers, a city worthy of industrious people whose quest for progress is matched by
their appreciation for the beauty of nature. Trees, flowers and birds within typical garden
can soften the harshness of tarmac and concrete.

Singapore’s Parks and Recreation Department have taken the responsibility for the
planning and development of the Garden City to provide the social and recreation needs
for the people. The Park and Recreation Department have taken the steps to link all parks
in Singapore into a network through the development of park connectors (Lee, Sing Kong
1995).

The National Park Board (Nparks) has proposed the park connectors since 1980’s. It
helps to develop a network of connecting parks. The network helps to create easy
accessibility for people to reach the park. The example of the park been developed on
sites on the year 1992 is the Kallng Park Connector. It is a 5 km stretch of park connector
along the Kallang River connecting the Central Water Catchment area across Upper
Thomson Road via Bishan Park to Braddell Road, Singapore (Ooi Keng Huat 1998).
When the network connector is completed, a cyclist can cycle from one park to another
across the island. The whole island may become a single large playground and garden.
Furthermore, the network of parks will help to link to the residential and commercial
areas. Hence, it would easily accessible to the whole population. The parks connectors
also will create a sense of “spaciousness” in the island.

In addiction, the network helps to provide natural corridors within urbanized areas
through which birds and other animals can move from one natural reserve or refuge to
another, aiding their search for food and breeding sites. By having connectors to join
major parks with the natural birds habitats, it is anticipated that the birds’ life throughout
the island can increase since the natural corridors will provide a protected path for the

Lilian T.Y.C., Ho C.S. and Ismail S.


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Omar, R., Ali Rahman, Z., Latif, M.T., Lihan, T. and Adam J.H. (Eds.)
Proceedings of the Regional Symposium on Environment and Natural Resources (Vol. 1)
10-11th April 2002, Hotel Renaissance Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. Vol. 1: 261-269
____________________________________________________________________________________________________________

birds to move from one habitat to another (Oi Keng Huat 19983). Urban dwellers can
access through the network of parks to spend their leisure times in the park where many
facilities are provided including sits, pathway, playground and keep fit instruments. The
urban dwellers can do jogging, cycling along the wide pathway that are provided. The
children can play in the playgrounds with modern and interactive play equipment.

Since 1950-an rapid urbanization in major cities has made many local authorities to adopt
and adapt the concept of Garden City in Malaysia. The shortage of green spaces has
caused the low quality of life and due to degradation to living environment. The site
chosen laid some six or seven miles southwest of Kuala Lumpur, just to north of the main
road and railway line (Figure 6)(Saw Swee Hock 1972:1).

Figure 6: The Location of Petaling Jaya, 1966. Figure 7: Putrajaya City.

Through implementing the Garden City concept, Petaling Jaya was planned as a satellite
town. Based on the similar principles of Garden City concept, Petaling Jaya was planed to
combine location of work, residence and recreation to develop into modern and healthy
living to communities in the town. Yet the self-contained principle has been included
whereby Petaling Jaya has provided many amenities and jobs for the uses of
communities. For instance this satellite town has been designed for a population of
70,000 on 3,000 acres (Concannon 1959:59; McGee 1967:3). Amenities has been
provided included schools, markets, stalls, cinema, clinic, swimming pools and others
amenities in the year of 1963.

The government of Malaysia also applied the Garden City concept to Putrajaya. It has an
area of 4,581 hectares is developed to bring a city within a luscious garden and a good
qualities of living and working environment (Figure 7).

3
Oi Keng Huat .1998. Park Connectors. In Belinda Yuen (Ed).1998. Planning Singapore: From Plan To
Implemenation. Singapore Institute Of Planners, Singapore. 31.

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Omar, R., Ali Rahman, Z., Latif, M.T., Lihan, T. and Adam J.H. (Eds.)
Proceedings of the Regional Symposium on Environment and Natural Resources (Vol. 1)
10-11th April 2002, Hotel Renaissance Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. Vol. 1: 261-269
____________________________________________________________________________________________________________

Putrajaya may reserve 70% of its total areas as a green. Therefore, 30% of the land only
may used for development (Putrajaya Holding 1999). The greenery of Putrajaya covers
12 public parks such as Botanical garden, Taman Putera Perdana, Taman Alam Rimba
and wetlands with area of 160 hectares. The greenery would help to enhance the shortage
of green space and to help to encourage and promote healthy community living and social
interaction between the human being. This is because the implementation of garden city
concept will not only enhancing the quality of environmental and quality of life.
However, it also helps to build up a caring society.

CRITERIA OF GARDEN CITY CONCEPT

As many Malaysian cities still required steps to help to provide environmental health and
greenery to achieve the sustainable development, the criteria of Garden City concept has
been suggested as below. The theoretical concept and practical example in several cities,
including Letchworth, Welwyn, Singapore and Malaysia could be summarized in
framework planning and design criteria of Garden City. So we hope that the criteria may
help to bring a more quality of environment and quality of life through achieving the
sustainable development when a good environment and healthy living will be provided
for the urban dwellers.

Three major criteria have been identified; namely green space, community and visual
quality.

1. GREEN SPACE

Green space in the context of garden city concept will be referring to the green
belt Provision of sufficient green space to urban population is the major criteria of
Garden City planning and design concept. Green space is referred as open space
for the purpose of recreational and leisure time activities of urban dwellers.
Therefore, the provision of park, playground, pedestrian walkways, promenade,
square and meeting space are among the spaces required in the Garden City of
criteria. As illustrated in Table 1.

Table 1: The Existing Open Space for the Cities/Towns

The Total Open Spaces Ratio For Hectare


Every 1,000 Population
Garden City Concept4 63.23
Letchworth4 34.69
Stockholm5 8.03
Putrajaya6 5.20
Wasington D.C.4 4.57
Singapore7 0.405
Kuala Lumpur8 0.4

4
Gallion, Arthur B., Simon Eisner.1975. The Urban Pattern.D.Van Nostrand Compar. New York. 99.
5
Singapore Institute Of Landscape Achitect. 1991. Lanscape Architect In Developing Countries;
Conservation. Recreation and Tourism, Singapore. 35.
6
Utusan Malaysia Newsaper. 1 Februari 2001. Sekilas Fakta. 16.
7
Urban Development Authority.2001. Singapore.

Lilian T.Y.C., Ho C.S. and Ismail S.


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Omar, R., Ali Rahman, Z., Latif, M.T., Lihan, T. and Adam J.H. (Eds.)
Proceedings of the Regional Symposium on Environment and Natural Resources (Vol. 1)
10-11th April 2002, Hotel Renaissance Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. Vol. 1: 261-269
____________________________________________________________________________________________________________

The acreage of open space for 1000 population ranged from 0.4 to 63.23 hectare.
Singapore’s ratio is 0.405 hectare for every 1000 population has achieved a
considerable success to provide safe, comfortable and healthy living environment.
This ratio is far smaller than the Putrajaya that contributes 5.2 hectare of open
space for 1000 population. Therefore, when the town is fully developed the
expected living landscape of Putrajaya where buildings are surrounded by open
spaces and recreational amenities. But such scenario is far short in the many towns
in Malaysia, which only provided 10% of their area for open space. Often the
open space is not accessible to urban dwellers due to poor location and
accessibility.

By preserving the green space it may help to enhance the good environment for
the people and help to reduce the urban pollution such as air pollution, noise
pollution, heat island, erosion and flood. The green space also should play the role
as a connector to link all the parks to a network system. This is because the
connectors will help to provide natural corridors within urbanized areas through
which birds can move from one natural reserve or refuge to another. The urban
dwellers can use this park to enjoy their leisure time with have exercise like
jogging, cycling around the park with easy access through the connectors.
Through the connector, it will also help to link residential areas to other land uses
including institution, commercial and recreation whereby a good circulation
system such as the pedestrian and roads will provided under the canopy of trees.

2. COMMUNITY

Garden city concept will also consider the importance of community building
whereby the community should be able to interact. This is an important principle
of sustainable development. Self-contained community is an important factor for
community building. The town should be prepared of the amenities and jobs. All
the amenities are easy to access through a good and safe pedestrian walkways and
roads under canopy trees. The amenities such as parks, schools, shopping mall,
markets, and the other social facilities should be located at the strategic locations
for people to access through a well circulation systems.

With a good circulation systems it may help to enhance the interactions of


community in order to built a good human welfare whereby people will get more
chances to talk to each other. More parks should be built with easy access through
walking distance not more than 5 minute walk with the distance 0.4 km and 0.45
km in case study in Canada (Manty and Pressman 1988; Atash 1994; Nelessen
and Howe 1995). Through implementing the Garden City concept it may help to
provide adequate amenities and jobs where easy access for urban dwellers in order
to enhance the social interaction of each other.

8
Haji Nordin Hj,Abdul Razak .1999. Managing The Garden City. In Osman Mohd.Tahir ,et.al.(Eds) .Ke
Arah Negara Taman. Wawasan dan Cabaran. Persidangan Landskap -Kebangsaan Dewan Perdana, Hotel
Radisson, Shah Alam Selangor 4-5 November 1997. Institut Arkitek Landskap Malaysia. 74.

Lilian T.Y.C., Ho C.S. and Ismail S.


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Omar, R., Ali Rahman, Z., Latif, M.T., Lihan, T. and Adam J.H. (Eds.)
Proceedings of the Regional Symposium on Environment and Natural Resources (Vol. 1)
10-11th April 2002, Hotel Renaissance Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. Vol. 1: 261-269
____________________________________________________________________________________________________________

3. VISUAL QUALITY

Garden City concept should have a high visual quality toward green space
including garden. A Garden City should also possessed high or scenic quality of
garden; buildings are well intergraded with the landform, water bodies and
vegetation. The visual quality would be further elaborated into legibility, variety
of character and richness of forms.

The city must legible enough for residents and visitors to recognize the town or
city in the garden to achieve a good visual quality (Figure 8). People can walk
through pedestrian walkways under a canopy trees from his house to the parks.

Besides that the parks may have a variety of character whereby children can get a
chance to play around in and cycling in this nearby park and taking care of their
parents. Their parents may also get the chance to communicate and interact each
other’s.

Figure 8: High Legibility To Green Space

People also can do a lot of activities as jogging, walking and take some rest after a
long day working hours. The character also built by the mixture of pretty flowers
and trees and a good pedestrian walkways under canopies of trees.

Besides that, different character may contribute by the design of cluster of the
houses. With the design of cluster houses, it may encourage urban dwellers to
meet each other where a safe pedestrianways and roads provided. The houses,
which have been built in different landform characters including or hill beside
near the lake or river, will legible enough to be recognize in a good visual quality.
All these characters may also indeed help to develop the character of richness.

Hence this visual quality may help in order to bring the image of Garden City. So
the Garden City may directly help to bring a good environment living to the
human being besides to keep or reserve the natural resources such as green space
for the next generations.

Lilian T.Y.C., Ho C.S. and Ismail S.


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Omar, R., Ali Rahman, Z., Latif, M.T., Lihan, T. and Adam J.H. (Eds.)
Proceedings of the Regional Symposium on Environment and Natural Resources (Vol. 1)
10-11th April 2002, Hotel Renaissance Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. Vol. 1: 261-269
____________________________________________________________________________________________________________

CONCLUSION

Hence the Garden City concept may help to ensure a safe, comfort and healthy living
for the human being. Garden city concept may play it role towards the sustainable
development where some of the Malaysian cities may have the prospect of
implementing the Garden City concept in order to help to provide a safe, comfort and
healthy living for the urban dwellers. Therefore, in the 20 years time, Putrajaya city
achieved as a Garden City where urban dwellers will to have a good, safe and comfort
living environment to stay where amenities will be provided. All these features would
encourage people to have vibrant interaction between each other’s.

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Omar, R., Ali Rahman, Z., Latif, M.T., Lihan, T. and Adam J.H. (Eds.)
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10-11th April 2002, Hotel Renaissance Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. Vol. 1: 261-269
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