Public Plays | a sustainable playscapes
Kampung Belemang is one of the less noticeable rural areas in Johor, located alongside Muar River. The exodus of the youngsters has caused the declination of population of the village to 600 (estimate 70 families). This issue does not just affect this village, but most villages along Muar rivers.Kampung Belemang as well as most riverside village has suffered from inappropriate disposal of garbage that leads to pollutions. Besides, like most marginalize village, the lack of public places has led to disconnection of villagers. Starting from the year 2019, some villagers of Kampung Belemang has decided to re-organise themselves to draw focus on environmental sustainability and community well-being to transform into a new ‘sustainable village’, with this they missionize to be an example and reference for the other neighbourhood villages that facing the same problems. Village leader with the joint effort of some villagers has led to few new projects, andthey hope to exploring more possibilities in terms of creating awareness to public on village’s social and environmental issues. Last but not least with the hope village’s youths to return to help the village with the knowledge they’ve gained through education abroad.From understanding the situation, we hope to contribute our knowledge in architecture (the understanding of relation of people and place) to ease some of the social, environmental and community work. To instil the importance of a community public space, we hope to innovate a participatory and sustainable play-scape that could be fun for the children, that could then lead to gathering of families. These play-scape shall be able to self-built, self-sustain (self-generated energy) hence it’s mobile in nature, and we will be assembling the piece with villagers in order to create gathering places from different sites of the village.
Overview of Issue / Background
Kampung Belemang is one of the less noticeable rural areas in Johor, located alongside Muar River. The exodus of the youngsters has caused the declination of population of the village to 600 (estimate 70 families). This issue does not just affect this village, but most villages along Muar rivers.
Kampung Belemang as well as most riverside village has suffered from inappropriate disposal of garbage that leads to pollutions. Besides, like most marginalize village, the lack of public places has led to disconnection of villagers. Starting from the year 2019, some villagers of Kampung Belemang has decided to re-organise themselves to draw focus on environmental sustainability and community well-being to transform into a new ‘sustainable village’, with this they missionize to be an example and reference for the other neighbourhood villages that facing the same problems. Village leader with the joint effort of some villagers has led to few new projects, andthey hope to exploring more possibilities in terms of creating awareness to public on village’s social and environmental issues. Last but not least with the hope village’s youths to return to help the village with the knowledge they’ve gained through education abroad.
From understanding the situation, we hope to contribute our knowledge in architecture (the understanding of relation of people and place) to ease some of the social, environmental and community work. To instil the importance of a community public space, we hope to innovate a participatory and sustainable play-scape that could be fun for the children, that could then lead to gathering of families. These play-scape shall be able to self-built, self-sustain (self-generated energy) hence it’s mobile in nature, and we will be assembling the piece with villagers in order to create gathering places from different sites of the village.
Project Objectives (Vision & Mission)
To innovate a participatory, sustainable & mobile playscapes systems that inform gathering places to unites the community and instill the ideas of sustainability through recycling and conserving energy with current technology.
- To Design sustainable public spaces to instill unity.
- To Innovate and combine students’ intellectual and knowledge with local communities.
- To haveparticipatory prototype buildwith villagers, in order to be able to replicate and improve among communities.
- To influence the other communities into making sustainable public spaces.
Project Details (Activities and Tasks)
In order to form a successful public place for community to gather, and what we say ‘it takes a whole village to raise a kid’, we start exploring with gathering children.
Playground is one more the significant infrastructure that not only help the development of children, also engage themselves in the surrounding environment and local community with fun context. The fun of the playground also improves the bonding among the villagers and families.
PHASE 1: DESIGN RESEARCH
The project started with design research phase by studying the relation of villagers and Kampung Belemang which gives us sense of cultural insight. Village engagement, case studies will be carried out by committee teams to gather information, voices and opinions of villagers regarding the creation playground. The studies will propose several playground innovations for the next phase of the project.
PHASE 2: INNOVATION
More students from different knowledge backgrounds are invited to form a creative team that will explore the innovation of playground design with prototyping, sourcing and experiments.
PHASE 3: PARTICIPATORY
Villagers and students will build the prototype at Kampung Belemang together. It will be carried out as a workshop that participants are able to learn the construction and improve the prototype.
PHASE 4: EXHIBITION
Public exhibition will be held to motivate progress and share the ideas of playscape system with other communities.
Expected Project Result & Outcomes
- Foster relationship among local communities.
The playground with unique and innovative design can be a focal point, attracting villagers to gather around, inspiring more community events to be held. It brings people together and creates a sense of belonging.
- Influence the neighborhoods villagers
There are other neighborhood villagers along the Muar River that are facing the same issues as Kampung Belemang. The starting point of this project at Kampung Belemang aims to influence the other villagers.
- Sustainable and replicable play scape designs
Participatory, sustainable and mobility systems are the main objectives of the playscape design. The prototype focuses on ease of construction which villagers without knowledge in construction can easily learn and maintain. In the long run, more villages will be encouraged to participate the project by replicating and improving the design at their respective communities.
- Enhance inter-professional collaboration, communication and team building among students
Joint effort among students from various educational background is the key element to achieve the objectives of the project. Innovation design in this context, for example, require students who have the knowledge in architectural revitalization to study the people and place; construction, to assist the making of prototype and safety measurement; infrastructure technology, to enhance the sustainability of the design. The collaboration promotes effective learning environment among the students.
0% of RM1.00 Goal
|University name||:||UCSI University|
|Project leader name||:||Oon Wu Han|
|Project implementation date||:||2020-10-03|
|Location of project held||:||Kampung Belemang, Tangkak, Johor, Malaysia|
|Beneficiary||:||Children, teenagers, and local community|
|Number of beneficiaries||:||More than 50 people and still growing|
- A two-sentence summary of the project goals.
The main objective of the project is to innovate, design and build a playscape to gather the children, which lead to the gathering of their parents and eventually the whole community. Along the process, the project is carried out to engage bonding with the community, joint effort the villagers to contribution their effort to their village
- Did other fund-raising efforts contribute to your projects? What were they?
Public fund raising played a significant role throughout the project. It brought attention to the local village and outsiders about the happening of the playscape installation. It was heart touching when the former representative of Kampung Belemang, Mr Chew willing to help the team to raise fund at the village. With all the positive responses from the villagers, it showed how supportive and generous the locals are to contribute in the development of Kampung Belemang.
- Provide details about how your project actually worked.
The project was carried out for 3 months since early of October. It was started by engaging the local community, immerse ourselves in Kampung Belemang and strategizing playscape installation with some representatives of the village. One of the most unexpected difficulties was the introduction of Conditional Movement Control Order (CMCO) by the government 2 weeks after the project started. As state crossing was not allowed, most of the members from Kuala Lumpur and Selangor were unable to travel to Tangkak, Johor. On the other good side of CMCO, the locals lend us a hand when we were about to start to construct prototype every weekend with only a few of us available in Johor. The assistances from few villagers at the beginning influenced their neighbors and friends, the project spread around the village and we have gained more local helpers!
Despite the movement control has restricted most of our members from travelling to Kampung Belemang from Kuala Lumpur and Selangor, we looked for volunteers from Muar and Tangkak with the help of Muar River Times. Many hands make light work, we greatly appreciate their support every weekend for borrowing tools, sponsoring materials, engaging with the community, prototype constructions and last but not least spread out the news of our project and Kampung Belemang. As a matter of fact, most of the volunteers have never been to Kampung Belemang before and this opportunity enable more outsiders to know about the village, at the same time allowed them to learn about some basic construction skills for the first time.
After several weekends of prototype making from November to early of December, we began our final construction workshop on 19 December after CMCO was lifted. The atmosphere during the workshop was exhilarating, all members of our team, members from the project ‘Assemble to Assembly’, technical welders, volunteers from Muar and Tangkak, children with their parents, local children and teenagers came to help us to charge the speed of construction in order for us to complete the playscape within 10 days. The workshop ended up very well, 4 movable module cubes were built and placed significantly at the riverside of Muar River of Kampung Belemang. With the site located along the river, the villagers are able to move, connect and expand the module cubes playscape in future for different occasions.
Throughout the entire 3 months, without a tinge of doubt we were preparing all the needs for the playscape installation, it was gratifying to see the increase number of helpers from the village and other places with various backgrounds. All these 3 months have acted as a pilot at Kampung Belemang to prove the viability and strength of the village itself. It is an initiative; to influence more development and projects to be carried out at the same place by the community in the long run.
- In several paragraphs, address each of the following questions:
How does or will your project contribute to happiness? Short-term? Long-term?
A community playscape encourages outdoor playing and engagements. According to the locals, quite often the young families living outside of the village coming back to Kampung Belemang during weekend to visit their grandparents. The playscape will attract children to play at the riverside instead of staying indoor playing with technologies devices. Apart from that, a new place to play with and to carry out activities is provided to the students from SJK (C) Chung Hwa Belemang and Sekolah Kebangsaan Belemang.
The playscape also act as a multipurpose cube for various occasions for the community. Due to its ease of mobility, the cubes can be arranged in closed connected or far apart. The closed connected configuration is where the context of play is expanded. Far apart, on the other hand allows the cubes to form a new periphery at the site, which the villagers can organize events around the perimeters
Has your project changed the way you think about the world? How has it changed you?
The entire 3 months have changed how we think about a community project can be done successfully. The main idea of the project is placemaking, to inspire people to collectively reimagine, and reinvent public spaces. It is pivotal for us to change what we used to practice in architecture school, where every project is design driven. However, this project expands our view of horizon, we need to pay attention to the physical, cultural and social identities that define the community, emphasizing community-based participation as its center. As we thought this project has ended after the module cubes were completed, the process of placemaking has just started and we are looking forward to seeing how ‘Public Plays, A Sustainable Playscape’ can be a pilot of community development in future.
- Complete this section with a one to two sentence personal statement, suitable for use as a quotation, addressing how and why this project was valuable and what was the most important thing you learned as a result. (Indicate student’s name for quote attribution.)
“It has been my pleasure working with the team and community of Kampung Belemang to accomplish this achievement together. It is indeed the most exciting and challenging project I ever participated.”
Oon Wu Han
“Next to the river is where people live, next to the village is where we used to be. A castle brings people here to see, the memory is more than it can be.”
Lim Zhuan Yang
“We start from little to more, there are more people joining us, we are getting better and confident,
and we believe we can make it happen.”
Pang Jian Sheng
“Small villages located far from the bustling are oftentimes overlooked, however Playscape has successfully rejuvenated Kampung Belemang through community acitivities with the locals. I really enjoyed my involvement as it opened my eyes to find beauty in the mundane.”
Ridhwan Izzudin Bin Nazri
“This is a valuable project for us and the people of Kampung Belemang as we get to engage the people to come together and build something that belongs to their village. In this project, I get to learn about one important thing that I never realized is how voluntary activities can actually promote social engagement.”
Ng Yi Jia
“This project is valuable for me as an architecture student as I get to involve from design until real build in a short period of time. I learned that there's a lot of factor that affect a design to suit people's preference. The outcome will not always be the same as planned on paper but as long the spirit of teamwork to make things succeed is there.”
Tan Tian Ting
How to use and manage the local resource to solve the local issue is the difficult but main part of this project, and also to get the experience of the community can help the work easier.
Gan Tze Le