Sustainable Neighbourhoods for A Better Future

Sustainable neighbourhoods are the building blocks of sustainable cities. For Penang to become a cleaner and greener state, we need to ensure our neighbourhoods are living sustainably. So, what is sustainability? And, why is it important to city development?

According to United Nations World Commission on Environment and Development, sustainability is defined as the ability to meet the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs.[1]

Developing a sustainable neighbourhood is important because these communities;

· Are where people live, play, work and hang out

· Are where children grow up and make friends

· Shape people’s identities and sense of belonging

· Provides the opportunity/medium for people to seek support and advice

· Provide a place to contribute

· Encourage network building to foster happier and healthier relationships

It is also important to emphasize that the involvement of local community is key to the success of developing a sustainable neighbourhood. This empowers the local community leaders to be proactive in taking action and strengthens civic participation by involving everyone there to work together, creating a better community and environment to stay in.

There are a few good examples of sustainable neighbourhood initiated by community-based efforts namely the Taman Bagan Lalang and Sungai Ara neighbourhood in Penang. The Bagan Lalang community has set up a resource centre that consists of recyclable collection points, compost area and recreational park. In March 2020, they have started their very first Zero Waste Community Market. Whilst the market aims to engage local residents in waste reduction, it also promotes zero waste practices through upcycling, composting, recycling and etc.

The place where the committees set up to process the food wastes they collected from their neighbourhood and turn them into compost or enzyme.

Photo 1: The place where the committees set up to process the food wastes they collected from their neighbourhood and turn them into compost or enzyme.

Photo 2: The residents of Taman Bagan Lalang take the efforts to segregate into 6 streams which are e-waste, aluminium, plastic, paper, carton/box, and clothes.

Photo 3: The residents are selling their upcycling products / second hand items during their first Zero Waste Community Market.

Photo 4: The committees has also started to produce their own home-grown vegetables.

On the other hand, the local community in Sungai Ara has also shown a great start by turning the empty land by the riverside into a beautiful garden where the residents are happy to jog around and admire the beauty of nature. The river water quality is monitor together by the people and the authorities to maintain the river healthiness. This is indeed a good example of civic monitoring and participation.

Photo 5: Green transformation of Sungai Ara riverside.

Let’s be the change we want to see in ourselves, family, community and nation. We welcome any local community leaders to drop us an email to share about your success stories or plans to transform your neighbourhood into a sustainable one. Penang Green Council will be happy to assist you to achieve a more sustainable neighbourhood.

[1] Photo and efforts credit to Sungai Ara and Taman Bagan Lalang, Penang communities.

Contact us for more information:

Penang Green Council (PGC Strategies Sdn Bhd)

Address : Level 46, KOMTAR, 10503 Penang, Malaysia.

Tel : +604-2503321

Fax : +604-2503323

Email :