Low-Cost Housing in Malaysia: A Contribution to Sustainable Development?

Suzaini Zaid, Peter Graham

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Rapid urbanization and the scale of new buildings constructed in Malaysia demonstrate an urgent need for change in policy and mode of operation. National energy demand increased by 54% since 1994, which subsequently amplified carbon emissions growth by 221% (per head of population), dubbed highest in the world. Malaysia ranked 66th in the 2009 Human Development Index (HDI); and 54th on the Environmental Performance Index (EPI) in 2010, dropping 27 places from 2008. This indicates that Malaysia’s economy and quality of life is improving, but at the cost of the environment. Presently, there is no Malaysian operational definition of sustainable performance in the construction industry, and therefore no consistent framework for assessing building greenhouse gas emissions. It is anticipated that an
environmental assessment will prevent further locking in of the country into an unsustainable future. Low-cost housing in Malaysia represents 23.3% of housing targets for 2010, which presents affordable housing in urban areas. The subject of low-cost sustainable housing is still uncharted territory in Malaysia. While low-cost housing contributes to economical and social sustainability, the environmental impact of low-cost housing has yet to be assessed. This paper presents a brief overview to how low-cost housing can contribute to sustainable development’s triple-bottom-line.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationeddBE2011 Proceedings
Publication statusPublished - 2011
Externally publishedYes

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