Garden cities: For aesthetic appeal or real estate value?

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The goal of these planned communities is to combine the peace of nature with the conveniences of the city.

The goal of these planned communities is to combine the peace of nature with the conveniences of the city.

What comes to mind when thinking about garden suburbs? Birds chirping, sunlight peeking through the curtains every morning and a beautiful park just a stone's throw away from the front door. These are all possibilities, and for many, they are realities. Garden suburbs and urban planting are popular in Malaysia, a dynamic country noted for its diverse landscapes and rapid urbanisation.

The goal of these planned communities is to combine the peace of nature with the conveniences of the city. These suburbs are known for their lush greenery, large parks and well-planned public areas, which provide residents with a healthy haven from the busy city life. Beyond the aesthetic appeal though, a vital question is raised, and that is whether parks and green areas in these communities raise the value of real estate.

A little history lesson

According to a joint paper by the Forest Research Institute Malaysia (FRIM) as well as the Landscape and Urban Cleansing Control Department of the Kuala Lumpur City Hall entitled A Historical Perspective of Urban Tree Planting in Malaysia, the development of urban planting is categorised into many phases, such as the start of greening before independence, comprehensive greening programs in the 1970s, 1980s and 1990s and the Garden Nation campaigns. Cities in Malaysia have witnessed significant shifts in species selection, planting, and upkeep of trees during this development; in other words, a shift towards better arboricultural practices.

Kuala Lumpur's city greening program was formally established within the planning process by the Federal Territory Planning Act of 1982 (Act 267), which delineated guidelines for urban tree planting, pruning and preservation. In addition to the planting program, the Kuala Lumpur Structure Plan 1984 mentioned the importance of planting trees in urban areas. Several other programs have been launched even until recent times, showcasing Malaysia’s commitment to see the Garden Nation concept to fruition.

There are many such planned green havens to choose from. The administrative capital, Putrajaya, proudly displays its Intelligent Garden City moniker and is home to large lakes, botanical gardens and well-thought-out green corridors. Cyberjaya, the country's tech hub home to the Multimedia Super Corridor in Malaysia seamlessly blends modern infrastructure with verdant parks and jogging trails. 

Suburban areas such as Taman Tun Dr Ismail and Bukit Kiara in Kuala Lumpur, on the other hand, effectively combine urban conveniences with quieter areas, providing inhabitants with an opportunity to get away from the hustle and bustle of the city without having to travel far.

Are house values affected?

In today's residential area planning, parks and landscapes are becoming essential components. It was found that proper parks and gardens raise property values by around 8% to 20%. As such, parks and other open spaces need to be preserved to draw in consumers looking to buy homes.

For many, house values can fall into one of four categories, namely social, environmental, economic and public health. They aid in the preservation of biodiversity and ecological services like mitigating floods and droughts, regulating wind patterns and regulating temperature. Furthermore, parks' value can raise aesthetic standards, which will improve the advantages of education and nature study. It gives residents a chance to interact with others and establish a sense of place. All these factors are values that contribute towards a property’s perceived value, in combination with the traditional values of house characteristics and location.

Upkeep is necessary

Although there is no denying the correlation between parks and property values, there isn't a universally applicable formula. The impact of parks is influenced by various factors such as their quality, accessibility and upkeep. Potential buyers may be discouraged by a poorly maintained park. The kind of park also has an impact. Compared to smaller, more passive green spaces, larger equipped parks with a wider range of activities typically have a bigger influence.

Moreover, it is imperative to acknowledge that parks by themselves are not the ultimate solution. A variety of facilities, inexpensive housing and effective transit are all necessary elements of livable cities. Parks, however, can be an effective tool for developing desirable communities, raising the standard of living and eventually increasing property values when carefully included in urban planning.

As Malaysia continues to urbanise, the integration of green spaces into development plans will become increasingly crucial. Not only will this ensure a healthier and more sustainable environment for residents, but it also holds the potential to boost the real estate market. Developers who prioritise parks and green spaces can attract a wider range of buyers, particularly those seeking a balanced lifestyle close to nature.

By embracing the green city concept, Malaysia can create vibrant urban spaces that cater not only to economic growth but also to the well-being of its residents, ensuring a sustainable and bright future for its real estate market.

 


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