Prioritising sustainability and liveability
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 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.
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.
Note: This article first appeared in City & Country, The Edge Malaysia Weekly, on December 27, 2021 - January 09, 2022.