Kevin Lynch (1960) said that the physical spaces of the city created an image and characteristic of the city itself, this physical characteristic could divide into five category that consist of path, edge, nodes, district, and landmark.

A district could create a social space function, social space in a certain city usually seen as an open space like garden that could gives activity spaces for citizen. The activities could be many things that related to human interaction. But social spaces for urban people is not always in the form of garden, it could be another function such as commercial, religious activity, education, and many more. A city with many characteristics formed a lifestyle and its citizen personalities. So that, a city has to be creates well in contribution of better lifestyle changes (Wirth, 1938).

Public space is an area that gives interaction places. Street, garden, plaza, and open space could give shapes in community lifestyle (Carr, 1992). Providing this kind of spaces in the peoples social live will bring satisfaction and happiness.


Urbanism as a way of life, Wirth (1938). The American Journal of Sociology, Vol.44, No 1, (JUL. 1938), pp 1-24

The Image of The City, Kevin Lynch (1960)

Carr, Stephen.1992. Public Space. Cambridge University Press : United States of America.

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FELDA Semenchu is located 42km from Kota Tinggi city centre and 80km from Johor Bahru, it covers an area of 2775.72 hectares and the population is approximately 5600 people. Before 1974 the location of Semenchu was covered in forest, in 1974 the forest was cut down to make way for the palm oil plantation and the FELDA (Federal Land Development Authority) settlement. The settlement was the product of the Malaysian government as part of a scheme to improve the quality of life of the people of Malaysia and strengthen the economy. This scheme was implemented by one political party and backed by the prime minister Tun Abdul Razak and the remainder of the government. From 1974 approximately 25,000 people applied to live in the new settlement, after that a number of people were chosen to attend the interview process and from this people were chosen to move to Semenchu. The application had a number of criteria such as:

  • The applicant must be already married
  • The applicant must have children
  • The applicant must not own or have any claim over other land

The final decision as to who moved to the settlement was made by the state government and in addition to this they appointed a leader for the FELDA settlement who manages the community services and facilities for example waste management. In 1976 the first residents moved to Semenchu, there were 300 households established, in 1979 there was a further 328 households added to the FELDA.


The name ‘Semenchu’ was chosen due to the number of Japanese soldiers buried on Block 28, ‘Semenchu’ was their name. The original houses were comprised of wood and following economic success the houses were expanded and made of more substantial building materials. The government provided the majority of the infrastructure in the settlement for example the community hall, roads, water and electricity. The government also built the houses and the residents paid back RM2900 for 20 years in order to own both land and the house. Some houses have improved their basic facilities further in order to make them eligible for the homestay programme; If it is managed independently they usually hire foreign workers usually from Indonesia which is a form of cheap labour therefore the profits are larger, only approximately 10% manage their land in this way. If the land is managed dependently then the peneroka (land owner) is largely dependent on the FELDA to continue production of the palm oil. Other economies present in the FELDA include fish, cow and goat farming as well as vegetable, chilli, mushroom, herb and Pitaya farming.




One of the major issues is the aging first generation who can no longer work on the plantation need more help whether the second generation do not wish to work on the plantation, they would prefer to live in areas of more modern area such Johor Bahru or other such places. Therefore the FELDA relies only on the palm oil plantation which is not a sustainable form of economy due to competition from the Philippines and Indonesia.


From the diagram above we can see that there are four main stakeholders in felda semenchu, the first stakeholder are the state government. The state government contributes in choosing the leader of the FELDA such as Mr Omar. The state government also contributes on the people selection in 1976. The second stakeholders are the district government and the leader of the FELDA. They role are to manage and supervise the FELDA and all of it aspect, such as palm oil plantation, administration stuff, and all about felda. Then the third actor is the community itself. They are the main targets of this program. The government tries to improve their quality of live. The state government coordinates this entire stakeholder because felda system is depending on the government management.







Kampong Belimbing: From Head Hunter Tribe to Friendly Community

Kampong Belimbing is a small village in the southern part of Kuching, Malaysia that occupied by Bidayuh ethnic group. It’s about 60 km from Kuching City. The total area of this village is 42.70 acres. The population approximately 400 people now, most of them are Muslim. Sometimes before this village was called gelimbing, now it had changed to belimbing. Gelimbing and belimbing have the same meaning. Village people said that sometimes ago there are many belimbing trees in this village. But now there is only one tree left located near the “barok” or village hall.

They had been living in a long house made from wood since 1954 after they leave their original houses in the mountain as the result of social issues and religion. The housing design is a mixture of Malay and Bidayuh culture. Before practicing Islam, this community believes in traditional practice called pagan, they collected their enemy skull to do their ritual. Then they hang it in the roof inside their houses. That was the reason behind the head hunter nickname. Although today they have left their cultural tradition which is contrary to Islamic doctrine, but they still manage to keep their traditional dance, music and games.



Kampong Belimbing Long House

Today they lived as a palm oil farmer under Malaysian Government Organization called FELCRA, and to improve their income the village agreed to join homestay program and tourism activities. With their motto “anak orang anak kita”, which means they consider everyone as their children, Kampong Belimbing transforms into a homestay village for everyone. They welcome people to stay and experience their harmonic live with nature. Tracking and hiking in the heavy rain forest to find the gorgeous Rafflesia Arnoldy flower is their main attraction. Besides they also bring us to the original houses of Bidayuh Ethnic group inside the mountain and also teach us their traditional dance, music and games. And last but not least their traditional food. The most important one we could learn harmony, respect, and a sense of belonging toward each other and nature. These norms were practiced to ensure the secure feeling inside the village and among the people.


qwqwqLearning traditional dance and games

P1050692Tracking in the forest to find rafflesia arnoldy

Trough homestay, they had managed to develop their economic activities and to preserve their tradition and culture. The economic development of Kampong Belimbing has brought modernization to this village. It can be seen from the usage of some modern tools such as a washing machine, TV, DVD, and some even have home theatre. Some of them have managed to buy a car as transportation to the nearest city. It means today the community has been able to live a good life with sufficient income. Furthermore, it’s not only improves their quality of life but also manage to preserve their tradition, culture, and environment.

Me and my homestay family

Kampong Belimbing Homestay: Jalan Padawan, 94700 Kuching, SK, Malaysia +60 82-863 796


Related to the program of housing provision for low income people, Indonesia had had the program before the others, called as “Kampung Improvement Programme” (Darrudono and Mulyadi, 1974). This program emerged as a response of the housing condition in Jakarta’s kampung which is generally overcrowded, averaging two families of five members each per single dwelling that consists of bamboo matted walls, tempered clay floors, and thatched roofs. The lack of infrastructure such as the solid-waste disposal facilities, posed few environmental or public health hazard. In spite of the lack of infrastructure provision and environmental degradation, kampung remains socially stable communities which have a diverse mix of income groups. Kampung Improvement Programme became the world’s first urban slum upgrading project. Initially the city government had three alternative approaches to improvement. The first called for building new, single-family houses on relatively inexpensive land in the outlying areas of the city. A second approach considered was modeled after the “urban renewal” concept of redevelopment. Under this suggestion the city government would acquire existing kampongs and in their place construct new, multistory residential buildings. KIP became a model program which is able to transform slums, from illegal settlement into a part of urban fabric by providing basic urban service such as roads, footpaths, water, drainage, and sanitation as well as health and education facilities. The third approach was involving the community in improving their residential area. In initial, this program is located in Jakarta (Kota Bambu). The KIP at Kota Bambu was emerged in purpose to improve the living environment mainly in physical conditions and also improving the quality of life mainly in socio-economic conditions of Jakarta poor people as a kampung’s residents. These purposes were expected to have a wider impacts such as increasing the poor people’s income and to encourage their involvement in the development. The Kampung Improvement Programme in Kota Bambu was started in 1975 to 1976. In this program, the KIP focused on improving the access roads, bridges and footpaths. They also focused on improving water supply and sanitation, public taps, drainage canals, and solid and human waste disposal facilities. Not only for the physical building, KIP also improved the social building such as schools and health clinics. In order to run the program, it was needed 3 involved parties. They were the city government (DKI), in particular KIP Technical Unit, The Kampung Committee (LKPMDK), and Local contractors who compete in open tenders to construct the project. KIP also needed the community participation. All planning and design activity was done by the KIP Planning Division and they were used for all kampongs even though a few modification of plan had been made for more flexibility in response to individual kampung conditions. In construction step, it was undertaken by local contractors. However, the function of local government became as important as local contractors in construction step. Camat, as a head of district became a connector between the KIP technical staff and the residents of the host kampung. The function of Camat was shared to Lurah as a head of sub-district and all negotiation regarding the selection of access routes and alternatives sites for schools or health clinics or other facilities are conducted through them. The Lurah was appointed as the site manager to keep the cooperation of the kampung community and the smooth implementation of the program was insured. In the role distribution for each stakeholder, LKPMDK also had the function for establishing priorities for improvement, reflecting resident’s views, responding to the KIP Unit’s proposals and instructing residents in maintenance and use of facilities. Since the level of community involvement is a function of the camat, it could obviously be seen that the community participation was essentially limited and it could obstruct proposed interests of poor people. In purpose to run the program, there were several criteria for the kampung that can be improved by the program. The age of the kampung, highest density, lowest income people, and worst environmental condition are the criteria to the kampung could be improved by the KIP. In upgrading a particular kampung, it took approximately two years. By the criteria, the selected kampung would be improved by The KIP Technical Unit after the proposal was approved by a Steering Committee which consisted of Deputi Governors, Mayors, and Directorate Heads. After it had been approved, the agreed-upon plan was transformed into engineering drawings and tender documents and contracted out to local contractors. In achieving the purpose, it also needed the funds. The first KIP (1969 – 1974) was entirely funded by the city government of Jakarta. In the second (1974 – 1976) and third phase (1976 – 1979) of KIP, the city acquired a World Bank Loan to cover approximately fifty percent of the KIP budget, thus doubling the rate of kampung improvements. In funding the construction, residents were required to contribute without compensation so that no funds were collected in the form of a tax on improved kampongs. After construction, the responsibility of the operation and maintenance of the KIP components were passed onto the Kampung Committee (LKPMDK) who was supposed to organize a maintenance squad from among community members and they were paid out of voluntary community funds. Individual households had the responsibility to maintenance the footpaths and drains directly in front of their house (Darrudono and Mulyadi, 1974)..

In terms of the urban development, Kampung Improvement Programme and Baan Mangkong have the similarities and differences. Both of Baan Mangkong and Kampung Improvement Programme, they are the program which was initiated by the government. In achieving purpose, both Baan Mangkong and Kampung Imrovement Program had resulted significant impact in upgrading large areas of residential communities in a relatively short period of time and with limited resources. In financial aspect, between Baan Mangkong and Kampung Improvement Programme also have the similarity. They have been funded by the government. The government provided the loans to the poor without compensation such as tax. Even though both of KIP and Baan Mangkong have similarities in running the program, Kampung Improvement Programme and Baan Mangkong have the differentiation in terms of community participation. In Kampung Improvement Programme, the community participation was limited since Camat and Lurah became the liaison in representing the poor people’s needs. The community participation in KIP is not fully applied as a self-empowerment. In planning process, as it mentioned earlier, all the planning and designing activity were done by the local government. It means that the community wasn’t involved in arranging and designing the plan of their area. It happened also in construction phase which people weren’t involved in building their own house and upgrading their environment. The government had chosen the contractor to do the construction and let the people just in monitoring and maintenance their built facilities. This condition was caused by the influence of politics. In that time, Indonesia had a top-down approach in the development which this approach made less possibility to the people to be involved in the development such as proposing their needs. In the record, Kampung Improvement Programme successfully improved the slum area in many cities in Indonesia. However, the Kampung Improvement Programme were not supported by the political condition in Indonesia since the changing period of president would lead to changing the development program. Comparing to Kampung Improvement Programme, in Baan Mangkong (Bang Bua area) had better community participation. Even though Thailand has a kingdom system in their government system, the government still let the people to propose their needs. They put the people to be main actor of the development. In case of Baan Mangkong in Bang Bua area, the poor people were involved in the development process which is started from the planning and designing the plan then the constructing the houses. The government, CODI, the university became facilitators. CODI became the facilitator in providing the funds to the programs while the government became the only fund provider for the program. The universities and other experts have become as a partner in consulting the construction. All the development process is conducted by the people itself.

Based on the explanation of Baan Mangkong and Kampung Improvement Programme in upgrading the slum area, it can be seen that public participation become the most important thing to be considered in the development. In case of Kampung Improvement Programme, the public participation was looked like a tagline since they didn’t have the two-ways of communication to the government as an initiator of the program. The people had become spectators of the development so it would not be surprising when the Kampung Improvement Program had been completed, the people didn’t have any responsibility to keep their improved environment. In vice versa, in case of Baan Mangkong, the public participation become the most important in the development. They planned, designed, and constructed their housing area. The public participation in Baan Mangkong represented the public willingness in order to be participated in the development. It will also influence to the sustainability of the development. If the public willingness was considered in the development, it will lead to create the ownership of development for the people and it can automatically make the development sustained.




Darrudono and Pik Mulyadi. 1974. Kampung Improvement Programme. Jakarta: Jakarta City Government