Cover Story: Prioritising sustainability and liveability

This article first appeared in City & Country, The Edge Malaysia Weekly, on December 27, 2021 - January 09, 2022.
Cover Story: Prioritising sustainability and liveability
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According to the World Bank, 55% of the global population, or 4.2 billion inhabitants, currently live in cities. It is projected that by 2050, about 70% of the world’s population will be living in urban centres. With the growth in population and the increasingly severe effects of climate change, the call for action has grown urgent. 

Many property developers are rising to the challenge as they look into creating not only liveable spaces and homes but also sustainable ones. We ask several property developers with large-scale projects their views on creating sustainable townships and future trends.

 

Datuk Chang Khim Wah

President and CEO, 

Eco World Development Group Bhd

Sustainability is at the core of EcoWorld’s vision of “Creating Tomorrow & Beyond” and is our No 1 core value. As a property developer, we are committed to driving sustainable developments on the environmental, social and governance (ESG) fronts, both in our operations and in the communities we serve. The top three characteristics of an EcoWorld development are sustainable design; accessibility and amenities; and recreation and community building.

We believe that by embedding sustainable design and installing green features in our properties, we can reduce the impact our buildings make on the environment. Our building designs consider elements such as building orientation, window design and roofing in optimising the natural ventilation and lighting in homes. Other green features include energy- and water-efficient fixtures, amenities that promote a reduction in the community’s carbon footprint, and green environments that promote biodiversity in our townships.

Also, EcoWorld developments are strategically located, with well-planned infrastructure and comprehensive amenities that complement our communities’ lifestyle and business needs. Our business parks and commercial offerings are well connected via intersections to major expressways and are built with world-class facilities and a wide range of resource-saving features. We also actively support our business communities in setting up their businesses quickly and easily.

ErgoHomes in Eco Forest, Selangor are ergonomically planned landed homes with a communal living feel (Photo by Ecoworld)

Recognising the need for more sustainable green spaces in an urban environment, our parks are conceived to cater for the interest and needs of residents and the broader community. For example, our edible herb gardens and recycling points provide an avenue to educate and create awareness among our communities on environmental sustainability.

While trends may come and go, we strongly believe that the three characteristics mentioned above are important factors for sustainable townships to thrive. For us, it is the key to building homes that last for generations. As the focus on ESG continues to dominate conversations, EcoWorld is committed in our journey to keep abreast of best practices and challenging ourselves to be ahead of the curve.

We aim to keep innovating in terms of sustainable design and to up the ante in our placemaking efforts. To do so, we believe in co-creating the future with our customers. The pandemic has also taught us all the value of coming together and pooling our resources, talents and creativity to rebuild better and emerge stronger.

With this in mind, we have introduced “Together We Create”. Be it homes, commercial or industrial units, we seek to understand the real requirements and aspirations of property buyers to co-create together according to their lifestyle and business choices as well as needs.

Through studying property buying trends and close engagement with our customers, we were able to come up with better products catering for first-time homebuyers and young families, with efficient space planning and the right price points. This has led us to conceptualise products such as Co-Home, a hybrid landed living concept, and ErgoHomes, an ergonomically planned landed home with a communal living feel. These innovative new products are nestled in safe surroundings within our ever-growing townships.

In addition to design and product innovations, the growth pace of our developments presents a plethora of opportunities for emerging as well as established entrepreneurs. Our commercial offerings and green business parks with their innovative solutions and strategic locations give business owners an undeniable edge in their business ventures. With our business networks, connectivity, focus on sustainability, and our commitment to growing the community, we aspire to be the ideal partner for business leaders, both present and future.

 

Ngan Chee Meng

CEO, 

Gamuda Land

Sustainable development has been a hallmark of Gamuda Land since our first township — Kota Kemuning — in 1995. The principles that are based on our development values, which have guided us since inception, are as follows.

“Listening to what the land has to tell us” — Gamuda Land strives to build in harmony with nature, preserving and enriching the ecosystems in and around our townships. This includes biodiversity audits to benchmark the variety of flora and fauna, further enhancing the transparency and accountability of our sustainability efforts. These efforts are driven by Gamuda Parks, our in-house initiative. Gamuda Land is planting #OneMillionTrees by 2023 in line with the Gamuda Green Plan (GGP) 2025, with the aim of restoring nature in our developments.

“When we get the places right, the town works” — As a responsible township developer, it is pertinent for us to know which components will work for the town’s community and understand where these components should be placed to create seamless connectivity.

We are mindful in our master plans to ensure the integration of the home-place, workplace, shopping-place, learning-place, park-place and play-place, as well as the provision of sustainable public transport options, to reduce future carbon emissions derived from commuting.

This emphasis on shared facilities and sustainable master-planning, as well as the incorporation of green features across Gamuda Land projects, will additionally reduce urban planning emissions by 35% by 2030.

Townships such as Valencia are planned to be in harmony with nature. Its urban forest provides social and environmental benefits to the surrounding community. (Photo by Ecoworld)

“A town is a community” — With the notion that the heart of a good community lies in its people and culture, we integrate placemaking into our town-making through a human-centric approach that emphasises transforming public spaces to enhance community interaction, where people can get to know one another, live and play together, and look out for each other.

Whether it is Gamuda Gardens’ pet-friendly Central Park or Gamuda Cove’s Discovery Park, our placemaking elements are built for people of different ages, physical abilities and social status.

The tone of development in Malaysia in 2022 will take its cue from the current emphasis on low-carbon cities and decarbonisation. This will bring two issues into sharp relief — climate change countermeasures, and rising land and energy costs. These issues are addressed by specific pillars under the GGP.

“Climate change countermeasures” — Setting aside things like renewable energy certificates, the recent Focused Adaptation report by C40 Cities and McKinsey indicates that, at the municipal or city planning level, tree planting is the most effective and cost-efficient method for the authorities and developers to address risk hazards associated with climate change.

As such, we anticipate more tree-planting initiatives in the medium term. These initiatives foster the offsetting of emissions, sequestering of carbon, reduction of ambient temperatures and address the urban heat island effect, while mitigating water run-off, providing habitats for flora and fauna and improving well-being.

“Integrated developments” — Due to rising land costs, developers are continually innovating to unlock and deliver more value for owners and purchasers. Integrated developments with mixed-use components and optimal connectivity are favoured as sustainable solutions, reducing transport emissions on-site while enhancing convenience for residents and visitors.

“Energy-saving design and RE” — The rising costs of energy associated with urban planning and building operation, both in terms of environmental impact and monetary costs, naturally inform the sustainability of buildings and projects through energy-saving features, renewable energy sources and smart home applications. Though these may come with green premiums, they can be offset in the long term through green design. 

 

Datuk Azmir Merican

Group managing director, 

Sime Darby Property Bhd

At Sime Darby Property (SDP), we consciously strive to develop sustainable townships by building multigenerational homes. Malaysian family units are often structured with three generations living under one roof, requiring homes that suit the multigenerational unit. We create spaces where young children can grow and adults can age, with home features that are flexible to suit their different needs.

Our products feature spaces that can be converted into play or work areas, as well as designs that promote independent living such as ramps for wheelchair access and sliding doors for better accessibility.

Another element is the incorporation of low-carbon and green accessible lifestyle options. Our townships and products are designed with multiple green features to realise our vision of building sustainable communities. In the context of the pandemic and Movement Control Order, homeowners are seeking greener spaces within their neighbourhood, an aspect now seen as an important element to promote community wellness.

We have consciously introduced energy-efficient and renewable energy elements in our products, namely our collaboration with TNBX Sdn Bhd, a subsidiary of Tenaga Nasional Bhd, to install solar photovoltaic panels, smart meters and home energy management systems in all units at Ilham Residence in the City of Elmina. This is a first-of-its-kind partnership in the country.

SDP has also contributed to nation-building initiatives for close to 50 years. In support of the key tenet of the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals to “leave no one behind”, we conscientiously introduce products that fit various price points for different segments of society.

Homes at Elmina Green Four offer spaces that can be converted into play or work areas, as well as designs that promote independent living such as ramps for wheelchair access and sliding doors for better accessibility (Photo by Sime Darby Property)

The company has launched developments via the Inspirasiku effort, under the people-centric Rumah Selangorku by Lembaga Perumahan dan Hartanah Selangor, to provide communities with quality accommodations at affordable prices.

The new norm will require products to be more accommodative. Residential home designs will be changed in the near future as the pattern of working from home and/or hybrid working arrangement will be assimilated with the new living conditions.

Residential products will need to be designed to cater for both residential and office/workspaces, and SDP is taking the lead with its ongoing Concept Home 2030 Competition that aims to reimagine the sustainable building, living and homeownership of the future through design, construction, technology and lifestyle.

Besides, the pandemic has accelerated environmental awareness and more specifically, awareness about climate change. The new and existing generations entering the market will appreciate products that offer energy-efficient and renewable energy options or features that promote greener living. There is also keen interest in products that show near-term return on investment.

Also, digital connectivity will become part of the product and township infrastructure. For example, homes with internet connections will be the norm and not an optional feature, or even homes with batteries that store electricity. That is something no property developer in Malaysia is talking about, but we are already asking those questions. The next step would be to answer them, and we want to be in a position where we can do so in the near future.

 

Ho Kong Soon

Group managing director, 

Matrix Concepts Holdings Bhd 

Matrix Concepts had a vision to build an integrated, multiracial and harmonious community in a township that is self-sustaining. Thus, Bandar Sri Sendayan, Seremban was built in accordance with the tagline of “Nurturing Environments, Enriching Lives” and has three core characteristics.

“Climate positive” — As the population in the township increases, it is about how we can enhance the quality of life of our community by being more climate positive in our planning and designing of each precinct’s landscape and environment. More green belts and parks are incorporated, with outdoor gym fixtures as well as cycling tracks. Commercial areas are planned adjacent to the central parks to minimise carbon emissions and to encourage walking and cycling. Even the industrial park is designed to have large green buffers and landscaping.

The use of the industrialised building system and recycled construction materials will enhance the efficiency of, and reduce wastage in, our construction processes as well as ensure we are consistent in terms of the look and feel of the houses. 

“Sustainable livelihood and socioeconomic endeavours” — With the incorporation of the 1,100-acre Sendayan TechValley industrial park into the master plan earlier, this has brought in an estimated RM4.5 billion of foreign direct investment and numerous job opportunities. Matrix Concepts also collaborated with the local authorities to provide a hawker centre called Medan Tiara Biz for small-scale businesses for the unskilled. A township will be self-sustaining once its community is able to take care of itself.

“Social responsibility and civic-mindedness, and education” — All residential developments in Bandar Sri Sendayan are non-strata, but most of the precincts have ready perimeter fencing, boom gates and guardhouses as well as certain intercom systems. This is to assist residents in establishing resident associations.

Photovoltaic solar panels at d’Tempat Country Club, Bandar Sri Sendayan (Photo by Matrix Concepts)

Also, Matrix Concepts has built and donated three schools, namely SK Bandar Sri Sendayan, SJK(T) Bandar Sri Sendayan and SJK(C) Bandar Sri Sendayan, for its residents and the surrounding communities, besides building its own private and international school, Matrix Global Schools, in 2015. Moreover, Matrix Concepts has contributed to mosques and places of worship within its developments.

Much has changed due to Covid-19. Matrix Concepts has identified a few sustainability trends in the coming years that will have an impact on how we design and build our townships.

“Work from home” — Home designs must reflect the change in lifestyle and living conditions as more and more people need space for work and privacy. Kitchen specifications may take on a revolutionary shift as more people are discovering the pleasures of cooking and baking, and as an additional income stream. 

Furthermore, planning for open spaces for activities and parks with certain fixtures for sports and recreational pursuits will be needed due to the limit on the number of people in clubs and gyms.

“Renewable energy” — Pre-fitted solar panels on homes will reduce energy costs and improve the standard of living. Also, the use of renewable energy in residential developments with smart grid integration will be a pull-factor for many homebuyers.

“Environmental, social and governance” — ESG has become imperative for many businesses as sustainability efforts are being tracked and scrutinised by each stakeholder and by the investing community as they care about the effects of their investments. This trend will continue to be important for many businesses and not just developers, as this will affect the company’s image and market capitalisation. Since 2018, Matrix Concepts has been a well-recognised constituent of the FTSE4Good Index series.

 

Datuk Joseph Lau

CEO, 

ParkCity Group

The three characteristics of our townships are a lifetime community living; innovative designs and sustainable development with community living; and respect for nature and the environment.

“A lifetime community living” is our identity. It is a community where residents and visitors of all ages and walks of life can thrive in a safe, secure and holistic environment. From their inception, our townships have always been planned as sustainable and self-contained townships, not only within Malaysia but regionally.

ParkCity is guided by its DNA of family, neighbourhood, community, connectivity and convenience. These pillars have created a strong sense of identity and pride among residents and become a blueprint to continuously improve the townships’ liveability, sustainability, connectivity, health and safety.

For instance, the public facilities and amenities provided in ParkCity’s townships are often more than the basic required by the local authorities. Putting these public facilities to good use, ParkCity prioritises community engagement and activities through frequent value-added events that promote sportsmanship, volunteerism and community responsibility. These events include Bicycle for Rent, Dog Disposal Waste Bag Dispenser, Earth Hour, ParkCity Charity Run, World Environment Day, Recycling Programs and Plalking (picking up litter while walking) Events. 

From the get-go, ParkCity has planned and developed with a strong emphasis on the new urbanism, placemaking concept — a multifaceted approach to the planning, designing and management of public spaces. With this concept, walkable neighbourhoods and the community will always be the focal point, with every additional improvement built to promote the people’s health, happiness and well-being.

An aerial view of Desa ParkCity (Photo By Parkcity Group)

An example is in Desa ParkCity, which takes this idea to a new creative level by building neighbourhoods with their own characters. Additionally, The Central Park, an iconic landmark in the development, has played an essential role in drawing communities together and forming a solid sense of identity.

All in all, ParkCity promotes environmentally friendly, sustainable and wholesome developments made better through a walkable community, architectural innovations, energy-efficient landscaping, water-sensitive urban designs and sustainable lake designs with a bio-filtration system.

The ParkCity townships have incorporated sustainable and eco-friendly measures into every development aspect. Internal softscape nurseries have been created to plant shrubs that are then transplanted into the townships, replacing failing shrubs to continuously maintain the green environment.

At Desa ParkCity, the lakes of The Central Park and The ParkCity Town Square act as a holding catchment for rainfall, thereby treating stormwater run-offs — a viable, environmentally friendly source for landscape maintenance in the township.

ParkCity has also developed an active recycling programme in collaboration with a non-governmental organisation, whereby recycling bins are strategically placed around the townships. Undeveloped parcels of land are transformed into pockets of urban forests that keep the community green.

In 2022, Malaysia will focus on the national recovery from the pandemic. With that, ParkCity needs to be flexible and adaptable to the new environment, the market sentiment, especially on climate change, upcoming trends and, ultimately, homebuyers’ ever-changing needs. 

ParkCity has noted the priority placed on a healthy and well-balanced lifestyle. As such, we have successfully launched Park Place and Le Jardin, which incorporate a new holistic communal lifestyle imbued with creative working and ample social spaces, embellished with lush landscapes.

Homebuyers are now more focused on the facilities, amenities and sustainability features that are available in their new normal living environment. Other fundamental values that are sought-after include ventilation, security, space and lighting, and the neighbourhood.

ParkCity will continue to champion sustainable developments in areas in and beyond Malaysia, to bring our vision of sustainable living to the next level — beyond suburban communities and into the global population.

 

Datuk Choong Kai Wai

President and CEO, 

S P Setia Bhd

Sustainability at S P Setia is built-in instead of bolted-on as an afterthought, and begins at the concept and design stage of each project.

Passive design is the key to sustainable development because it responds to the local climate and site conditions to maximise inhabitants’ health and comfort while minimising energy use. Free and renewable energy sources such as the sun and wind provide natural heating, cooling, ventilation and lighting, effectively reducing or removing the need for mechanical methods. They also reduce temperature fluctuations and improve indoor air quality, creating a more pleasant environment to live in while helping to offset greenhouse gas emissions.

The key elements of passive design that work alongside one another and must be considered holistically include master planning, which focuses on development density, overall connectivity, transport accessibility and mobility, as well as stormwater designs. Next is the design of the building, such as its location and on-site orientation, layout, window design, shading and ventilation.

We are recognised globally as pioneers of eco-themed developments, having perfected the balance between the harmony of nature and living well. Our key flagship projects that preserve the environment and biodiversity and act as benchmarks for the industry include Setia Eco Park, which preserves the biodiversity with many bird species to be found there, including the hornbill; Setia Eco Glades, where trees are replanted and relocated around the development; and Setia EcoHill, which nurtures various flora at its adventure park.

We will continue to drive energy efficiency as a key priority in our developments, in line with the objectives set in our global sustainability agenda. For example, our UNO Melbourne project in Australia is one of the first high-rise residential developments in the country to go 100% green with its power supply.

The restoration of the Haji Abdullah Hukum ancestral home was mooted to ensure that the new generation will get a glimpse of the history of the area (Photo by SP Setia)

Some key areas of focus will be energy efficiency features such as solar panels or photovoltaic cells, LED lighting, daylight auto sensors and motion sensors, and the use of building management systems, especially in our high-rise commercial buildings. Meanwhile, water efficiency features will include rainwater harvesting and water-efficient fittings such as water-saving sink taps, dual-flush toilets and shower fittings.

It is also crucial to focus on the quality of indoor environments, such as prioritising natural lighting, natural ventilation, sound insulation, monitoring carbon dioxide in commercial high-rises, incorporating low volatile organic compound paint and providing thermal comfort with passive design and systems.

We will further foster community connection and elevate living in the virtual arena. Leveraging information and communication technologies solutions, we have developed community portals such as the Setia on the Go app for residents to interact with each other and keep up with the latest updates. Aspiring buyers can also browse our homes via our online exhibition platform, Setia Virtual-X.

We will also continue in our pursuit of better living environments to improve the living standards of the communities within our townships. Some notable achievements include the preservation of heritage such as the original Haji Abdullah Hukum home that was meticulously taken apart by certified conservationists and reassembled on the mosque’s plaza deck, as well as the integration of LRT and KTM stations at KL Eco City to enhance connectivity.

 

Datuk Edward Chong

Managing director, 

IJM Land Bhd

Our commitment to home­owners, residents and the community is our greatest responsibility, and shapes our every effort in creating products of unrivalled quality that not only provide sustainable and healthy living for our homeowners and residents but also fulfil their needs.

We have always been an eco-friendly and a wholesome family-fun-in-the-sun organisation as we recognise the benefits that these bring to the homeowners and community. These values and attributes are seen in the developments we create and the events that we host or sponsor. Many of our prime property developments are renowned for how we integrate greenery, natural elements and passive design features into our living spaces.

At IJM Land, we take into account how residents constantly reinvent their lives and support these changes by making their living environments more comfortable and meaningful through well-considered space planning and smart living solutions.

Our residential properties adopt passive design strategies, which include building orientation to ensure energy efficiency. Additionally, the design of the residential properties optimises natural daylight and facilitates cross ventilation, which can reduce energy consumption.

Other key green features include the use of sustainable and recycled materials, solar technology, rainwater harvesting systems, LED street lighting and water-efficient fittings for toilet flushing.

Solar PV system at The Arc, Bandar Rimbayu (Photo by IJM Land)

We also section significant areas for outdoor and wellness spaces through the incorporation of residential parks within the townships to facilitate community integration and bonding. These spaces are then turned into green engagement features such as jogging and cycling tracks, children’s playgrounds and basketball courts. 

Our Seremban 2, Bandar Rimbayu and Shah Alam 2 townships are sizeable developments and provide a selection of housing options, including affordable homes that are comfortable for any lifestyle and all life stages. Even so, we have kept to an integrated and low-density profile to ensure privacy and a less crowded environment for all residents.

We recognise that we have a role to play in building a sustainable future for Malaysia. More than a property developer, we also see our role as being a lifestyle integrator and community builder.

The home has taken on a whole new level of importance due to the increased time spent at home for the majority of people. In today’s environment, homebuyers favour and place more emphasis on comfort, sustainability and flexible spaces. Green spaces, smart features and locations with good attributes are also becoming increasingly important. These features are the norm in many of our developments and the pandemic has accelerated greater interest in them.

At IJM Land, we always adapt and evolve in response to changing lifestyles and have stayed ahead of the curve by future-proofing our homes. Design-and-build innovations have been fast-tracked, with more flexible and ergonomic spaces that require less rework, natural elements for greater energy efficiency and well-being features.

There will be a greater focus on neighbourhood green spaces for future residential developments. At IJM Land, we are increasingly aware of the importance of having access to nature and we will continue to incorporate more greenery in our buildings and infrastructure and green up our townships, going beyond the mandatory minimum requirements. 

We also recognise that sustainability is becoming increasingly valued by many people, and homebuyers would prioritise and appreciate sustainable home designs and features, which we are further emphasising in our projects.

Additionally, we are looking into new and innovative ways to improve sustainability, help save energy and reduce our carbon footprint. For the years ahead, we will continue to incorporate green features and energy-saving designs in our new developments and have new projects under development to be green-certified. 

We will place greater emphasis on sustainable practices and on contributing to the social well-being of our local communities. We will continue to build and nurture thriving and cohesive communities.

 

Sarena Cheah

Managing director, 

Sunway property 

The first characteristic of Sunway’s sustainable townships is liveability. A liveable township or integrated development to us means a place which is safe and connected; has an abundance of healthcare facilities and avenues to pursue well-being; opportunities for education and to immerse in culture through sporting and community events; easy access to food source like freshly farmed vegetables that will address food security while reducing food nutrients wastage; an abundance of goods and services to support our communities; and great infrastructure, including roads, pedestrian walkways, public networks, quality housing, energy, water, safety and security measures as well as telecommunications.

These are the fundamentals that we must provide as a master community developer to deliver high-quality living for our communities. Quality infrastructure and communities promote socioeconomic sustainability, thus attracting international companies to invest in our townships and to set up their offices here, allowing for perpetual growth.

The second characteristic is self-sufficiency. Low-carbon buildings and infrastructure, and an abundance of facilities and amenities, as well as good management of these buildings present multiple benefits, including building community resilience and protecting the air and water quality for everyone within the community.

The third characteristic is the ability to progress and grow alongside the community. We have what we call a co-investor business model, which is supported by our ability to build, own and operate the necessary components that make for liveable and sustainable cities.

With the co-investor model, we own a stake in the townships that we build alongside our communities, so that we can track how our communities are growing and pave pathways for growth together.

Sunway XFarms, a non-profit, urban farm innovation hub at Sunway City Kuala Lumpur (Photo by Sunway)

Guided by our chairman’s vision, sustainability has long been embedded in Sunway’s DNA since its inception, and we see certain trends popping up on a global scale.

We have seen ESG issues being prioritised by many companies nowadays. To tackle environmental challenges, we have set several targets, including achieving green building certification for Sunway-owned and/or managed townships and buildings completed from 2025, centring our asset enhancement initiatives to achieve green building criteria, and incorporating the latest technology like solar energy panels and low-carbon mobility facilities. More than 40% of our townships are covered in greenery and water bodies such as lakes and rivers — encouraging biodiversity to thrive.

On the social front, we work with suppliers that comply with relevant laws, regulations and standards, and we continuously contribute to our local communities. As for governance, we ensure accuracy and transparency with relevant policies in place.

Food security has also taken the front seat and is one of the trends being addressed today. Food security means that all people, at all times, have physical, social and economic access to sufficient, safe and nutritious food that meets their food preferences and dietary needs for an active and healthy life. However, the pandemic has laid bare the fragility of our food supply chain. Which is why we have collaborated with Sunway iLabs to build the first-of-its-kind, non-profit, urban farm innovation hub, Sunway XFarms, at Sunway City Kuala Lumpur for communities to access fresh produce grown using smart farming precision technology while propagating urban farming not just within our townships but beyond as well.

There is a higher focus on renewable energy as a strategy to reduce carbon emissions. We are aligned to Sunway Group’s sustainability goal of becoming net zero carbon by 2050 and of transforming our portfolios to low-carbon sustainable cities. To achieve this, Sunway has embarked on a long-term project to reduce our energy consumption and increase our reliance on renewable energy by installing solar panels on the rooftop of the elevated canopy walk in Sunway City Kuala Lumpur and on the rooftops of Sunway Big Box Retail Park and Sunway International School in Sunway City Iskandar Puteri, among others. Through this, Sunway aims to have at least 25% of electricity from renewable energy sources by 2030.

We are also looking to include solar panels and a chilled water plant for chiller optimisation in the upcoming integrated waterfront lifestyle hub at Sunway South Quay.

With all the stakeholders involved, we will be able to work towards better cities, better learning, better health, better food supplies, better retail experiences and more inclusive financing — all of which will drive better-quality living.

 

Datuk Azmar Talib

CEO, 

TRX City Sdn Bhd

What sets us apart from others is that sustainability is inserted into our district design from the start. Sustainability initiatives are embedded in our master development planning, which then cascades to the plot developers via our Urban Design Guideline and our Development Code. We provide clarity upfront to our investors, and once they come on board, they understand exactly the level of sustainability standards and commitment needed.

Having district-wide sustainable solutions allows the benefits to flow down to the plot and building levels, ensuring offices, retail set-ups and residential buildings in the district are in line with our sustainability goals. Site-wide services are tailored for an energy-efficient district — for example, our on-site wastewater treatment and recycling plant, which reduces potable water demand by 50% by recycling at least 80% of used water on site.

We also improve operational efficiency through Internet of Things (IoT) solutions utilised in our district management operations. This entails the application of smart meters, smart lighting and smart irrigation systems, which will conserve resources and prevent wastage. And, of course, you cannot talk about sustainability without connectivity, and the key to this is prioritising a pedestrian-friendly environment. 

While we develop sustainable features, it is important that we also plan for the operational sustainability framework to make sure that our vision can be implemented and will continue to work. The implementation of our sustainability guideline is supervised by a standalone district management outfit regulated by a common estate agreement signed by all plot developers, ensuring world-class standards are maintained while guaranteeing functionality and sustainability of the district.

Trend-wise, mobility will be key. We expect to see more townships and districts embracing the 15-minute city concept, with facilities and amenities placed and planned based on prioritising people first. TRX is well connected, with the only MRT interchange station in the city, hosting both the SBK (Sungai Buloh-Kajang) and SSP (Sungai Buloh-Serdang-Putrajaya) lines. To encourage a high take-up of public transport, we make sure that the last-mile connectivity is made easy with shaded walkways for the convenience and comfort of users. Our extensive network of footpaths connects the district and beyond, taking you to neighbouring commercial areas such as the Bukit Bintang shopping belt. When you prioritise pedestrians, you promote an active and sustainable lifestyle, reducing congestion and carbon footprint.

Sustainability initiatives are embedded in the master development planning, which then cascades to the plot developers via its Urban Design Guideline and Development Code (Photo by TRX City)

The trend to emphasise open, green spaces will continue. In TRX, our public realm incorporates natural cooling methods and softscapes to create an oasis in the city. We dedicate 23% of TRX to green spaces for open plazas, pocket parks and streetscapes, and in the heart of the district, a 10-acre rooftop park — one of the largest of its kind in the world. This is our gift to Kuala Lumpur. All in all, our public realm will have 150 native species of flora and close to 150,000 plantings.

The emphasis on ESG in public policy and funding spaces will accelerate the adoption of renewable energy and conservation technology. Investors are always looking to make decisions based on the guiding principles of enhancing the quality of life, developing in balance with the environment and doing social good. This extends to how townships are designed and built. We are fortunate that we have been prioritising these factors since we first conceptualised TRX more than 10 years ago.