The evolving nature of urban neighbourhood open spaces - using a case study of Petaling Jaya
In Kuala Lumpur, Lee Boon Thong is undertaking another research project on the evolving nature of urban neighbourhood open spaces using a case study of Petaling Jaya, a suburban city of Kuala Lumpur. The study attempts to develop a model of neighbourhood parks that will contribute towards greater community liveability. Besides addressing the problems and endemic issues of residential open spaces, the study proposes that the development of neighbourhood parks goes far beyond space, although itself is important, and that the traditional understanding of the types of space and its constituent components is inadequate in modelling post-postmodernist developments.
The Adequacy of Urban Public Space in Penang
Public spaces are necessary for urban living. They provide space for many important human activities and functions, as well as contribute to the ecological integrity of the urban environment. Public spaces come in various forms and characteristics depending on their types, uses, functions and sizes, and on whether they are publicly or privately owned and managed. Hence, in any study on public spaces, clear definitions and classifications based on these different attributes have to be worked out.
The first part of the country report of the Malaysian group will hence start with this definition, classification and theoretical background.
The study about the adequacy of urban space in Penang will start with an overview of the types, functions and usage of urban public spaces in Penang. The second part analyses in more detail the functions and usage of some major public spaces in the urban areas of Penang, and determines the levels of adequacy and sufficiency of these public spaces for the use of the urban population of Penang. The findings are based mainly on data obtained from a comprehensive questionnaire survey that was carried out with the help of students from the Universiti Sains Malaysia, and also on on-site observations. A total of 345 interviews were randomly conducted with users at the various public spaces throughout the urban areas of Penang, representing various ages, gender, ethnic groups, income groups, and other socio-economic groups, to determine, among other things, what are the usual leisure activities of the interviewees and their families, where they go for their activities, how often they visit the public spaces, for what purposes, how they go there, their satisfactory levels, and their recommendations for improvements.
The levels of adequacy, sufficiency and satisfaction of each of the public spaces were analyzed in terms of proximity to place of residence, size, facilities and equipment provided, accessibility to various income, gender, social, and handicapped groups, the quality of management and maintenance of the urban public space and facilities, and on the opinions and perspectives of the interviewees. This is followed by some recommendations on the improvements to the provision and maintenance of public spaces in general, and in Penang in particular.
A third part of the study is on the legal, technical and administrative procedures in the planning and provision of public spaces by the local authorities in Penang.