Developers who are quick to embrace changing market needs will do well to have additional green lungs that serve as an educational and sustainable spot for residents to thrive and spend quality time at while providing sustenance for less privileged persons in a sustainable community effort.
Developers: Forget the conventional garden with a house formula of conventional houses. Things have changed post lockdown and developers would do well to perhaps take a leaf of an example from Kebun Kebun Bangsar, the new benchmark of what makes an all-Inclusive neighbourhood attractive and viable.
The Movement Control Order (MCO) and extended Restrictive Movement Control Order (RMCO) was not something welcomed by denizens of the city. However, it did yield some expected gems. And one of them was the realisation of priorities.
Overworked denizens of the city were forced to pause to reflect on their lives – given the wheels of capitalism having grinded to a sudden halt. And, while many took to cooking or baking – a rare few took to creating the means to having their own edible garden. One such far-sighted individual is renowned landscape architect Ng Sek San, who is no stranger to the landscape scene – having undertaken a select few prominent projects for blue chip developers here and abroad. Ng also has to his credit – transformed almost a good part of the forest at Serendah into a never attempted before jungle type resort devoid of walls almost –n — where huge trees act as a backdrop wall against the canvas of a forest setting.
Putting his Midas touches to an abandoned piece of land snaking uphill at a secluded hilly spot in Lucky Garden, Ng has transformed a useless piece of land into a masterpiece for city folks — this time, an endearing farm of sorts which Bangsarians can call their own, whimsically and endearingly named as Kebun Kebun Bangsar.
At Ng’s invitation, I made it a point to set the alarm off extra early to join him and his architect friends to explore the recesses of Kebun-Kebun Bangsar with a privileged tour by none other than Ng himself. The morning opened up with an air of excitement as I navigated my car up the hill slopes snaking its way into a secluded spot in Lucky Garden fringed by a hilly terrain. Joining an entourage of excited kids and toddlers in masks accompanied by their parents who purchased animal feed from the storage area, I could sense — like the kids — excitement building in the air as we laid our eyes on cockerels, geese and chickens — and even a fattened turkey, glorious in its various hues up close and personal. The feathered fowl seemed unperturbed by our company, even as an adorable little boy picked up a scrawny looking fowl and carried the prized possession to his kiddy friend. His father meanwhile was busy feeding a white sheep.
Ng’s architect friends were similarly taken in by the sight of farm life roaming freely. As we ventured up the hilly slope, Ng would point out certain highlights – such as the vegetables growing area where the products are not sold – but would be given to the underpriviledged including the to soup kitchens that cook for the homeless, orphanages and refugee groups.
Mid-way up the hilly slopes, he pointed out to us the wetland with water lilies, reeds and other water plants where dragonflies were spotted happily swarming the pond area. According to Ng, this spot used to be infested by mosquitoes but since the appearance of the dragonflies — by virtue of the presence of the wetland — the mosquitoes have since disappeared.
“Things have changed a lot after the lockdown and the reception to Kebun Kebun Bangsar has been gaining momentum,” he shares. This shift in mindset he affirms is reflecting a change in priorities as stressed out denizens of the city realise the importance of embracing nature and of self-sufficiency.
“The trend is no longer in wanting a garden as previously, and now, people want an edible garden instead. Developers will need to address the changing needs of people,” points out Ng who believes that having green natural lungs like Kebun Kebun Bangsar would bring the community close even as it adds educational and purposeful value into the lives of the residents of the neighbourhood.