Social Sustainability of Kampung Communities
Malaysia is a tropical country and has rich tradition of vernacular architecture. Traditional vernacular houses (Kampung Houses) are proved to be environmentally sustainable, and the neighborhoods containing these houses traditionally showed the potential to build up community bonding inside the neighborhood, and hence social sustainable. But the future of this social sustainability might be in danger. Malaysia is currently rapidly urbanizing, and now 72 percent people live in urban areas. These urban areas are often very close to the Kampungs, and local people often move to urban houses. The urban housings lack the traditional pattern of community bonding. With every respect to the environmental sustainability of Kampung houses, and recognizing the rich tradition of social sustainability of Kampung neighborhoods as a whole, the question is whether Kampung communities will remain socially sustainable in future. This study took an ethnographic method, and interviewed existing Kampung dwellers of three different generations for their view on why people should or should not live in Kampungs in future. After qualitative analysis, several interesting findings evolved through grounded theories, and the study tried to suggest strategies on how to bridge this increasing gap between living harmoniously both in the rural and urban setup for the future generations in Malaysia. Data showed that though all generations acknowledged the benefits of living in Kampungs, better job opportunity motivates the young generation to leave Kampungs. It concludes that Kampungs still have the power to sustain the modern society with its powerful social potentials, but needs to be nurtured with modern facilities.
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