At 191 hectares in size, Desa ParkCity is Kuala Lumpur’s largest master-planned community. As a privately-owned, self-sustaining development, it aims to provide the essential components of modern living and therefore features a range of commercial and residential amenities including a shopping centre, a hospital, several schools, and a range of leisure options. All combine to make it safe and self-contained township that removes the need to travel elsewhere for events and activities.
Created originally from the remains of a disused quarry, the rehabilitated site has turned a former eyesore and environmental blackspot into a valuable resource. One of the main focuses of developer Perdana Park City has been a commitment to sustainability, greenery and walkability – an unusual approach in Malaysian residential developments, which tend to be characterless and mass-produced. Apart from copious green open spaces, a man-made lake, jogging trails, and cycling lanes, there is a heavy focus on landscaping, with many new trees planted or mature trees retained.
Technically, Desa Park is a gated residential community. However, access is not exclusively reserved for residents, with public spaces freely accessible to the general public. The residential zones, which make up the majority of the development, are segmented into a series of thematically-distinct sections consisting mainly of landed properties built in phases since construction began some 20 years ago.
In addition, there are landed strata properties (again, quite unusual for Malaysia), as well as several high-rise residential towers. Some 70 percent of the residential units had been completed as of February 2022. The residential zones are arranged around Central Park, which houses a range of commercial, leisure, and retail facilities.
A wide, landscaped pavement network runs throughout the township, linking residential areas and other amenities, setting a benchmark for walkability, and largely eliminating the need for cars.
Security is another focus. This can be a problematic issue in Kuala Lumpur, and the developer has therefore equipped the project with a range of security features, including electric surveillance and alarms, a patrolling auxiliary police force, and thoughtful design aspects such as a line of trees planted between roads and pavements to discourage potential thefts by motorcycle riders.
From a financial perspective the success of Desa Park is underlined by the fact that residential units are completely sold out and that prices are some 20 percent above those of equivalent properties elsewhere in the city.
Until now, developer Perdana Park City has assumed responsibility for management and general upkeep of the community, which is maintained to a high standard. Over the long term, however, the usual practice in Malaysia is for roads and public areas to be handed back to the government upon completion of the entirety of development, which raises the question of whether the standard of facility management can be assured. That said, the government has so far been willing to allow the developer to continue to manage the site, and there are plans in future for residents to collectively organise and finance a future strategy for upkeep of the public realm.