Thriving Eco-Towns

Malaysian Villages Model Sustainability




photo by MIGHT

Innovations being successfully pioneered in Malaysia offer ideas for improving the world, according to the UN Sustainable Development Solutions Network (SDSN), including the construction of high-tech, self-sustaining ecological “smart” villages.

These villages are lifting incomes for scores of rural families while promoting environmental sustainability. Each 50-acre community consists of about 100 affordable homes, advanced educational, training and recreational facilities and an integrated, sustainable farm system that provides villagers with food and employment that on average, triples their monthly income.

Low-cost, 1,000-square-foot homes are built in 10 days and the communal farming operations include a cascading series of fish tanks, or “aquafarms”. Filtered fish tank wastewater irrigates trees, grain fields and high-value plants grown in “autopots”, a three-piece container with a valve that detects soil moisture levels and releases water as required, reducing the need for fertilizers and pesticides. Free-range chickens feed on the fast-reproducing worms that process the plant compost.

This system optimizes nutrient absorption, minimizes waste and enables crops to be grown on previously non-arable land. The village’s solar-generated power is complemented by biomass energy and mini-hydro electricity. A community hall, resource center, places of worship, playgrounds and educational facilities equipped with 4G Internet service support e-learning and e-health services.

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