Micro homes and communal living bring ‘kampung spirit’ back to city living

Tan Sri Mhd Amin Nordin Abdul Aziz officiates the micro houses in conjunction with World Urban Forum 9 in Kuala Lumpur February 7, 2018. — Picture by Azneal Ishak
Tan Sri Mhd Amin Nordin Abdul Aziz officiates the micro houses in conjunction with World Urban Forum 9 in Kuala Lumpur February 7, 2018. — Picture by Azneal Ishak

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KUALA LUMPUR, Feb 7 — The trend for communal living and micro housing that is appearing in cities worldwide is not just for millennials or singles anymore.

Two full-scale prototypes of the 21st-century housing concept which opened to the public here today at the World Urban Forum (WUF9) Village drew the attention of families and retirees too.

“When we talk about communal living, we would have single occupancy in mind because families would not have much time to interact with others, and we felt it would be more accepted by the younger generation.

“However, we did receive enquiries from older couples as well as they are open to the concept of creating a community,” Think City Sdn Bhd programme manager Joanne Mun told reporters at the installation on Medan Pasar here.

Opened to the public for the first time at 10am today, Mun said about 200 visitors had dropped by to see the micro housing installations.

“It is encouraging to see the interest shown by the public as we had received many positive feedback. We would like to see more people come over to give their input,” she said.

She added the shared-living concept proposed by the Kuala Lumpur City Council (DBKL) and Think City aims to bring back the “kampung spirit” to the city, where members of the community are always open to helping each other out.

“City life is very fast-paced and people are usually too busy, which reflects less interaction between neighbours.

“Apart from creating a community, this concept is also to look into adaptive use of vacant buildings. In the last three years alone, we have seen many big corporations and small businesses moving out of the city, leaving many commercial spaces vacant,” she said.

Mun said the two micro houses on display, shortlisted from six design applications, were selected based on 10 different criteria.

“The design had gone through a fair process and was reviewed by a panel. Some of the criteria that was looked into include affordability, buildability, efficiency, layout, and to be able to address two key points — ability to be installed and uninstalled, as well as a standalone pavilion exhibition.

“The selected designs had to also cater to adaptive use of existing buildings, car park areas, or underutilised land,” she said.

Mun said the two micro houses, measured at 264 square feet (sqf) and 320 sqf each, cost in the region of RM100,000 to just under RM200,000 respectively.

However, she said the actual cost for the unit to be installed in existing spaces would be a lot less than the quoted price and more feasible than building an actual housing unit.

“As the construction of these prototypes requires it to be able to be assembled and disassembled easily, like Lego pieces, therefore the cost was slightly higher than what the actual price would be.

“This is a working process and there are many areas we are facing and tackling that needs to be address. We will continue to work with DBKL to move forward with the idea of communal living in the city,” she said.

The WUF9, which started today and will last until February 13, will be the first to implement both the New Urban Agenda (NUA) which was adopted at the Habitat III in Ecuador in 2016, as well as the Sustainable Development Goals.

The mega forum will hold over 500 events, which includes assemblies, plenary meetings, policy dialogues, high-level roundtables, trainings and networking events throughout the seven-day forum.

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