As stated by Prime Minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad 2019, “Malaysia’s path to fully developed status requires a sustainable physical plan that puts the environment first over profit”. The message underlined the government push for what it termed as equitable development, with emphasis on green policies in its growth plan. He also added “We have seen the impact of disorganized development and constructions of skyscrapers only for profit”.

Many cities are developing policies that promote compact, livable areas, with adequate public space that facilitate public transport, encourages walking and cycling to reduce carbon emissions. Gearing to achieve better Malaysia, with massive urbanization and population increased, the first statement to come across in our mind will be “lack of space”, “where to stay”, “where to play”, “ where to get fresh foods” and a “conducive living” is needed to make sure the future of the next generations especially to cater the less fortunate needs, and placing “human rights” at the forefront of urban sustainable development.

As stated in providing “better homes” , perhaps, the simplest way in classifying it, is “better surrounding”. This approach is in line with current development effort to address the issue of global warming and climate change. This aspiration can be achieved through the preservation and conservation of natural resources, education, focusing the well-being of the citizen, ensuring holistic and sustainable development and finaly best practices in management system.

Problem Statement

As stated by Tun Abdullah Ahmad Badawi 2013, “Millions have been spent for the 1st class facilities, but none was appreciated, I totally agree that we, the Malaysians own first class facilities, but we have a third world mentality, this already given a bad impression for everyone”. While in the budget speech by Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak for 2017, “For the well-being of the Rakyat, the government remains committed to implement Rakyat Centric programmes in urban areas, especially those living in flats, due to lack of maintenance to repair the facilities”. Therefore it is important to identify and understand the management issues that occurs in mostly urban parks (green spaces) as well as to determine the proper management that will associated with best practices to be adopt in order to justify a safe and first class environment in an urban park and green spaces for urban settlement areas.

Forecast and Expectation

Since beginning of 1991 Malaysia has formulated many programmes and initiaves such as Wawasan 2020, a vision that calls for the nation to achieve a self-sufficient industrialised nation by the year 2020, encompasses all aspects of life, from economic prosperity, social well-being, educational worldclass, political stability, as well as psychological balance. While in 2017, Transformasi Nasional 2050 (TN50), an initiative of long term development programme for Malaysia the period 2020 to 2050. TN50 was expected to be country’s next long-term development programme decision making for urban development that serve as the basis for the next 30 years aspirations with a special section focusing on recreation, public parks, landscapes and well-being in urban settlement towards safe and secure by 2050.

Malaysia adopted the United Nations’ Global Agenda 2030 for Sustainable Development (SDG) on 25 September 2016. Since then, the country has made significant progress towards the realisation of the SDGs. The goals are incorporated in the 11th Malaysia Plan (2016-20) which is formulated on the theme of “Anchoring Growth on People” in the context of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development. Malaysia adopted the United Nations’ Global Agenda 2030 for Sustainable Development on 25 September 2016. Since then, Malaysia has made significant progress towards the realisation of the SDGs. The goals are incorporated in the 11th Malaysia Plan (2016-20) which is formulated on the theme of “Anchoring Growth on People”. The Eleventh Malaysia Plan, 2016-2020, focuses on enhancing inclusiveness by providing equitable opportunities for all Malaysians to participate and benefit from economic growth and development irrespective of gender, ethnicity, socioeconomic status and geographical location (11th Malaysian Plan, 2018).

(UN Agenda 2030), this inclusive development approach is also in tandem with the spirit of leaving no one behind under the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development of the United Nations.The mid-term review of the 11th Malaysia Plan tabled in October 2018 highlights the commitment of The New Malaysian Government to achieve the targets of the Agenda 2030 for Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). Currently Malaysia Kini the vision underlined with the Pakatan Harapan’s (PH) government emphasising sustainable management focusing entirely on green policies in its growth plan towards 2030. With that, as citizens, it is our duty to create holistic landscape development, as well as to ensure natural landscape resources are optimally utilised by considering protection, preservation and conservation through a sustainable management system in order to improve the legislative aspects of planning, implementation, enforcement and regulation of landscape development in Malaysia.

We are fortunate, that Malaysia is blessed with first class facilities in every landscape planning development in urban settlement. The role of landscape management is as important as what landscape can contribute to human life as well as to sustaining the earth. Therefore, it is important to understand the term landscape in much broader scope, not merely for decoration and aesthetic purposes. Landscape manangement best practices will not only contribute towards human well-being but also play an important role towards the preservation and conservation of the environment. This is consistent with the fomulation of the National Landscape Policy (JLN 2011) which gives priority to ensure that all areas for public parks and open spaces to be gazetted and managed according to designated purposes. Proper management with best practices need to be adopted in order to justify a safe and first class management impact in managing landscapes and green spaces in urban areas.

Thrust 3 of the National Ladscape Policy (JLN 2011) action plans Strategy 3.2 “Encourage Manageable and Sustainable Landscape Development Programmes in Order to Achieve Beautiful Garden Nation”. A good management in maintaining the green areas is to provide a holistic path towards a better quality living environment. It is an important initiative towards an effective quality of life by providing safe, healthy landscape. Green spaces is a valuable asset of its management and maintenance contribute directly to the environment and socio economic development.

Landscape should be regarded as an important component in life. It is the first impression that gives its positive impact to any site or housing property. A place that has a strong character enhances placemaking urban parks and green spaces are significant that are associated with urbanization and city dwelling. The presence of vegetation has positive effects on people’s preferences (Kaplan and Kaplan, 1989) as well as the economic benefit and visual quality. Greater KL, 2014 programmed to ensure residents in urban areas enjoy sufficient urban parks and green spaces. While Local Agenda “LA21” emphasized best management practices contribution towards urban revitalisation by supporting the economy performance of an area, enhancing the ecology and biodiversity of the built environment, facilitating a healthy lifestyle, provide a continuous learning prospects and promotes social unity. In 2017, Institute of Landscape Architects Malaysia (ILAM) has launced Landscape Architecture Agenda 2050 (LAA 2050) with 10 strategic focus areas concentrating to increase productivity through an organised structure which promotes high effiency, enhanced best pratice in landscape management in order to ensure quality control in delivering the standard of services.

Criteria of Best Management Practices (BMP)

Good quality of housing areas demands at how we plan and design the surrounding especilly the green spaces. Many issues need to be addressed in the design of sustainable landscape for urban housing areas, such as security, control of access, contaminated land, waste management, recycling and not to forget the governance aspect. Managing a landscape areas requires broader knowledge. We need to examine how to improve the quality of housing areas which requires local context, injecting special character as part of the planning, design and management process. Best Management Practice (BMP) means a practice, or combination of practices, that is determined to be an effective and practicable. Its all starts with getting the best possible team in place-together. Effective best management practices is an art, followed by a reform journey from policy to implementation. The BMP for managing green spaces is anchored on five pinciples;

First : Management / Strategy development

  • Vision and mission
  • Strategic long-term planning
  • focused on total Organizational excellence
  • Communication/work processes/integrity
  • Skill development/creativity/innovation/reinvention
  • Emerging and enabling technology

Second : Financial

  • Funding
  • Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR)
  • Smartpartnership – collaborative and consultative

Third : Policy

  • Acts
  • Standards
  • procedure
  • good governance

Forth : Sustainability

  • Landscape Resources
  • conservation
  • preventive and protection plan

Fifth : Enhanced Customer Services

  • Community involvement /Public participant
  • Volunteerism
  • Education

Hence, it is also significant to note that best management practices in urban settlement green spaces was highlighted in National Landscape Policy, Trust 1 ”Inculcate the Appreciation Towards Landscape” with clearly define in strategy 1.1 under section 1.1.3 “Increase the application of science and technology in the field of landscape”. Making the most of public spaces, to make sure everyone can find safe, decent, affordable house. The most important is to help create a community where everyone has a good place to live. Landscapes underpins the environmental, social and economic pillars of sustainability. A carefully designed and welcoming spaces will attract use but the way in which these spaces are maintained and managed will also make a huge difference to how they are regarded by residents. Therefore, adopting best management practices in managing landscape will definately make a huge positive impacts for the community and definately offers a way forward in developing better places to live in.

Written by : LAr. Nor Azah Abdul Aziz

Centre of Landscape Management Studies,
Housing and Local Government Training Institute (I-KPKT), Berjaya Hills.