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Kampung Baru Air Panas Community Intervention

Part 2 Project 2010
Hwai Teng Quan
University of Malaya, Malaysia
Traditionally, meeting places in a community are as basic as wet market, streets or coffee shop. Due to the growing urban population, government provide new, bigger and cleaner public space but dramatically
downgraded the importance of the traditional public spaces. This changes have influenced society’s interaction pattern.

This thesis is a community oriented project, as opposed to government’s commercial oriented society development. It examines the social, cultural and religious practices within the community. Similar to other Asian cities, Kuala Lumpur is one of the cities that are having rapid urbanization and economic growth since its independence. This has led to the influx of migrants, giving pressure to the government to provide land development and infrastructure for a growing population.

However, most of the planning and development are concentrated on housing, industry, commerce and urban infrastructure but concerns less on the community. The new villages were the few communities created on the verge of independence since 1948, and thus have significance in the historical development of Kuala Lumpur. One of the new villages was the Kampung Baru Air Panas which has homed 4 generations since its establishment. Basic social amenities for the community are provided but most were merely a physical built structure which does not respond to the social context. It ends up with abandoned community centre and deserted public space, while neglecting religious celebrations. The society settled their way of living according to the insensitive built spaces, which slowly downgrade the importance of their social, cultural and religious practices.

So the thesis is:

• To examine on a community scale, public space design that can encourage a community’s social, cultural and religious practices. Community bond is strengthened through their daily and ceremonial routine. In this case, town square is the core that ties other communal spaces together. The importance of the communal spaces is highlighted by its scale, anthropometry and texture; to instigate community's engagement, revive their interaction pattern and strengthen community bond.

• To experiment how a community project can benefit the society structure by introducing relevant or new programme that can restore what has been impaired.

Hwai Teng Quan

This design thesis project explored aspects of place-making, scale, materiality, sustainability and community at two levels of urban intervention which are at the macro and micro scales.

The designer's extensive research and analysis unearthed a town that was lost in its sense of urbanity and identity, resulting from haphazard planning. The first problem identified is that Kampung Baru Air Panas is a Malaysian new town borne from a reaction to control and segregate a segment of the population sympathetic to the communist resurgence in the pre-independence period of 1950s and 60s. The basic planning of the town did not care for the quality of life that is expected in the 21st century conversely with the rapid expansion of housing and community needs.

Putting together the jigsaw and identifying where the core of the town was a painstaking effort to eventually create a sensitive and harmonious balanced design that knitted together the essential threads of the community's economic, social and cultural elements.

Taking clues from the residential elements that were found in the alleys behind the houses and shops, the designer weave together a design by re-using patterns and shapes freshly interpreted and creating a new place identity, engaging and honest.


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