Whose home? A Malaysian public housing case study: in the revitalisation of the Kota Damansara PPR flats through the use of tenant participation and a sense of 'kampung'
AuthorStephens, Medina Asgari
AffiliationSchool of Geography
Document TypeHonours thesis
Access StatusOnly available to University of Melbourne staff and students, login required
Continued urban expansion in Malaysia has increased the demand for affordable housing in cities. Publicly funded, low cost housing known as PPR flats are now in high demand among many lowincome Malaysians. However, PPR flats are also problematic for their poor physical conditions, their stigma and association with crime and drugs, and a top-down governance approach that disempowers tenants. My study is focused on one block of PPR flats known as the Kota Damansara PPR flats, where revitalisation efforts have been made to address some of these problems. One prominent aspect of the revitalisation initiative has been the introduction of a new community garden that seeks to change how residents participate in the management and care of shared spaces and how they engage within their community. Hence this study seeks to investigate the impact of the revitalisation project, focusing in particular on the role of tenant participation in revitalisation initiatives, and its impact in fostering a sense of community among tenants. Specifically, I refer to the concept of "kampung" as a culturally specific form of communal relations in Malaysia. The study takes a qualitative approach to examine the dynamics of participation, belonging and community in revitalization programs in Kota Damansara PPR flats, through the narratives of residents from 19 semi-structured interviews conducted with 15 tenants and four other stakeholders involved in the management of the estate. The findings reveal the community garden's success as a revitalization initiative eliciting positive socio-cultural elements of kampung among residents. But the findings also demonstrate that other elements of kampung were not applicable to Kota Damansara, nor to urban public housing estates more generally. Furthermore, tenant participation efforts were limited due to barriers imposed by management, and tensions associated with social differences among the tenants themselves, including age, gender, ethnicity and income.
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