Meeting the Challenges of Urbanisation: The Role of the Local Neighbourhood Community

The rapid pace of urbanisation in Southeast Asia often gobbles up informal urban fringe villages in merciless manners. Where state land is involved, the local inhabitants are resettled in low cost homes located in distant parts of the city. Where informal settlements are found on private land, the villagers are often left to fend for themselves in relocation sometimes without any compensation. This paper examines a third kind of fringe settlement that has suffered from the onslaught of urban growth - indigenous people groups. In exchange for the community-owned land at the outskirt of Kuala Lumpur, a private developer has built basic bungalows and apartments forthe indigenous people within its development complex. This resettlement project is thus enveloped by a huge swath of a transformed landscape comprising middle to upper class residential units, ultra-modern shopping centres and office complexes. A local development and security committee was formed to bridge the steep chasm between the modern globalised circuit and the ‘backward' community, hoping that assimilation of urban values through proximity would transform the local inhabitants. The local neighbourhood organisations, as a form of civil society action groups, are often successful in protecting their own rights and interests, this paper intends to show the utter haplessness and hopelessness of the local civil interest group in a ‘tragedy of a lost community'.
Lee Abstract SSG09_RS.doc66 KB