COMMENTARY

Infernal Housing Affairs

‘One solution fits all’ will no longer work in solving the perpetual affordable housing conundrum

The physical shape and health of most cities across the world is as much affected by its geography as its politics.

Greater Kuala Lumpur is no exception. It has a political form in the shape of a sunny-side up egg, with a rich ‘yolk’ in the form of Kuala Lumpur, governed by the federal government, and an ‘egg white’ under the jurisdiction of the Selangor state government. Despite political boundaries, the city functions largely as a single organism with both parts co-dependent for survival.

After the 12th general election in 2008, the political boundaries were further intensified when the ‘egg white’ and ‘yolk’ ended up being governed by different ruling parties.

These governments have subsequently pursued opposing policies with various attempts in tackling the affordable housing issue. Let’s examine some of these policies from over the past 10 years to see how effective they are.

PRICE CONTROLS
The Selangor state government adopted a price-control strategy beginning 2013. The policy made it mandatory for housing developers to price 20 to 50 per cent of all development units below RM250,000 as Rumah Selangorku housing.


CHA-LY KOH
CEO, URBANMETRY
Trained in city planning at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), Cambridge, US, Koh hopes to harvest intelligence from big data to help governments, city planners, corporations and urban dwellers shape better global cities.

Koh is CEO of URBANMETRY (formerly known as Property Pricetag), a property data company that harvests, cleans and analyses city data, through artificial intelligence and proprietary algorithms, to extract trends and patterns in the built environment—for a more efficient and transparent property market, improved city planning, and sustainable urban environment.

She is the author of “The Secret Atlas of Greater Kuala Lumpur”, in collaboration with Think City, which illustrates how data can help one understand the city better, spot business trends, predict property prices and track user behaviour.


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