Monday, January 21, 2013

'Smart village' ties modernity with sustainable living

A new initiative in Malaysia is giving rural populations hope of a better life with the creation of a model "smart village." The idea is to create a largely self-sufficient community which also sources energy and food in a sustainable manner.
Sustainable living

A "smart village" aimed at tackling rural poverty while promoting community and sustainability has been unveiled in Malaysia.

Built to the northeast of capital Kuala Lumpur, Rimbunan Kaseh is the result of a public/private partnership and could be used as a model for providing relief from poverty around the world, according to its creators.

In addition to 100 homes, residents have access to educational, training and recreational facilities on site as well as a sustainable agricultural system which provides a reliable food source and a supplementary income for residents.

A four-level aquaculture system plays host to guppies and algae which provide food for larger fish like protein-rich tilapia. Filtered water from the fish tanks is also used to irrigate trees, flowers and crops.

"It is a complete loop; a modern farm -- one that could even exist on the rooftop of a building," Tan Say Jim, managing director of Malaysia's IRIS Corporation Berhad, who are spearheading efforts, said in a statement.

"With this project we stimulate rural growth with modern agriculture activities, we balance development and economic activities between the urban and rural areas, we provide income and we improve living standards," Tan added.

All the homes on the 12-hectare site are energy efficient, sourcing power from solar panels complimented by biomass and hydro.

Further villages are planned at as many as 12 locations in the country which will form a network of "smart communities" laying the foundations for future jobs and prosperity, developers predict.

Progress in poverty reduction has been "uneven" in Malaysia, according to the United Nations Development Program, with "pockets of hard-core rural poverty remaining." But the situation is an improving one, with the national poverty rates falling sharply over the last two decades.

Read more on: CNN


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