15 June 2024

“Urban parks are integral to our lives” – UM don

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Kurang bersyukurkah mereka?

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Berganding bahu capai kampus neutral karbon menjelang 2030

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The kind blood

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Addressing economic challenges of an ageing Malaysian population

The implementation of various strategies, including pension system reform, private savings promotion, healthcare system strengthening, enhanced elderly care services, social inclusion promotion, and development of an integrated ageing policy, can assist Malaysia in effectively managing the economic and social consequences of an ageing population while maintaining a high standard of living for its senior citizens.

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Well maintained appealing urban parks plays a key role in enhancing quality of life and public well-being

There is an increasing interest in urban parks and their potential for enhancing the quality of life and well-being of the public. Urban parks provide conducive environments that encourage active lifestyles that help reduce the risk of cardiovascular and metabolic diseases and improve mental health. Urban parks, in addition to their aesthetic value, also provide sports and exercise facilities, with their number and quality greatly influencing both physical activity and public health.

Appropriate design and planning, adequate financial allocation and continuous provision of urban park maintenance are all vital for ensuring that our parks are capable of fulfilling the diverse needs of the public.

Recent urban policies focusing on issues of sustainability has led to concerns about how urban parks are managed, especially regarding the maintenance of key park facilities and amenities. It is important that proper park maintenance guidelines are in place to ensure that park facilities and features are kept up to standard and always fit for use.

In Malaysia, park management and maintenance are given very little attention, often due to inadequate resource allocation, lack of long-term commitment from local authorities and the absence of an accepted Park Maintenance Guideline. In the last decade, there were numerous reports of poor park management. Indeed, many recreational parks within in Kuala Lumpur are abandoned, becoming hotspots for drug-abuse and other criminal activities. This, together with the deterioration and damage of park facilities and features due to improper maintenance and repair, has discouraged people from using these areas for recreational activities.

We recognise the importance of developing proper maintenance guidelines for park facilities and features (sport/gym facilities, jogging/walking paths, cycling paths, landscaping, etc.) ensuring that they meet user expectations and support cost effective maintenance practices. Maintenance priorities must also be identified; this can be determined by identifying and acting on visitor preferences towards park facilities and features.

A research team under the IIRG (Impact Oriented Interdisciplinary Research Grant) program (IIRG008C-19HWB) is currently conducting an ongoing project to study urban park maintenance and develop new guidelines for park management and maintenance; this project will end in May 2022. A single case study has already been conducted at Taman Rimba Bukit Kerinchi. During this study, various problems including broken boardwalks, damaged benches and lack of proper directional signage were identified.

A questionnaire survey has also been distributed to the park visitors throughout Malaysia to identify maintenance issues within the parks and thus determine their priority. The research outcome, in accordance with the Sustainable Development Goal of United Nations Development Programme, is expected to not only be beneficial to all recreational parks in the country but also provide urbanites with universal access to safe and accessible green public spaces.

This article has been published in UMR Bulletin, an internal publication by IPPP, UM (Ed.)