Monday, November 28, 2011

Does sprawl travel overseas?

An article in the Wall Street Journal address the issue of urban sprawl in, believe or not, South East Asia. Kuala Lumpur has been nicknamed a mini Los Angles because of its sporadic and disheveled growth patterns throughout the last century or so.

The World Bank recently informed the Malaysian countries that they need to adopt more “smart cities” or “smart growth” policies in order to attract talent and they need to improve their livability guidelines. This is a tall order for the Asian countries due to the already out of control sprawl that they face. With a poor infrastructure and public transit system, the cities have become less dense and the land use has gone to those who are not using the land to its greater possible use.

The World Bank does not go into detail when the term “smart city” is thrown around, so I will do my best to clarify this term. What constitutes as a smart city is, as the Siemens group puts it, is a city in which improved transportation, green buildings, water conservation and reuse technologies, and smart grid infrastructure are implemented. This intern will create a new blissful happy, carefree Utopia were Kuala Lumpur used to be while eliminated sprawl as we know it.

In response to this statement the region of Kuala Lumpur is aiming at creating a more efficient rail system that will allow more than 60,000-70,000 people to commute between the cities of Singapore and Johor Bahru. I actually believe that this will help in the city’s economic growth and development. However, the next issue that needs to be addressed is all of the natural disasters that Malaysian cities are vulnerable to.

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