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Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Green areas should be gazetted as permanent Urban Forest Parks

NATURALLY endowed with forest, Kuala Lumpur has always been a garden city - an identity that few cities in the world can claim.

This unique identity must be preserved and enhanced.

Any city in the world can have manicured and landscaped gardens but none has the natural tropical urban forest designed and built by Mother Nature. Those who are familiar with some of these patches of forest especially in Sungai Penchala, Bukit Tunku, Bukit Damansara, Bukit Kiara, Taman Tun Dr Ismail, Federal Hill and Bukit Nenas are often surprised by the rich biodiversity of these areas.

From the primitive fungi to the more developed small mammals, our urban forest is full of surprises.

A system linking the small urban forests (as part of the green network plan) will further enhance their value. With some management, these areas will be the pride of Kuala Lumpur and this is what will make it different (creating a particular city and image).

More importantly, these urban forests will improve the quality of life for the city’s denizens. Other cities in Malaysia can emulate Kuala Lumpur in creating urban forest parks and making them an emblem for Malaysian cities.

Since most of the green areas are government land, they should be immediately gazetted as permanent Urban Forest Parks (UFP) while the privately-owned land be allowed to develop as low-density residential or commercial areas. Even better if the Federal Government could acquire some of the privately-owned urban forests and add on to the UFP.

Notices of development projects are popping up everywhere at the expense of the urban forests but it is not too late for the authorities to take appropriate action to keep these urban forests intact.

The three forest reserves — Bukit Nenas, Bukit Sungai Puteh and Sungai Besi together with patches of agricultural areas make up less than 0.07% of the land use in the territory. It will be great in the spirit of the KL Structure Plan 2020 — which pledged to give emphasis on social and environmental development — to preserve at least 1% as UFP for posterity.

Trying to make Kuala Lumpur outstanding by constructing tall buildings and other man-made infrastructure will only be temporary. Some other city in the world will outdo Kuala Lumpur in mega structures the next day, but a city adorned with natural forest gardens is an identity that lasts.

The city UFP will be a major selling point for tourism and contribute to quality living for urbanites.

By The Star

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Yes, correctly.