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Kanniah

QUANTIFYING GREEN COVER

QUANTIFYING GREEN COVER CHANGE FOR SUSTAINABLE URBAN PLANNING: A CASE OF KUALA LUMPUR, MALAYSIA Kasturi Devi Kanniah be identified in this study. High-spatial-resolution satellite images and drone imaging can be used for detailed mapping of various green cover types. Such data are essential to assess environmental quality and quality of life, because higher-volume green cover such as trees have a more profound effect than low-volume vegetation like grass on combating pollution, lowering temperature, providing shade, and removing CO2. Though these findings indicate an increase in total green coverage, Kuala Lumpur also faces continuous loss of green cover (public parks and forest reserves) because of population growth and development pressure. They are not well protected, mainly due to weak enforcement of open/green space policies and the lack of a tree inventory and other green spaces-related data. Open space that is accessible to the public for social and recreational activities covers only 9 percent (2,184 ha) of Kuala Lumpur. Therefore, even a small reduction in open space should be of major concern to the public. Although green areas constitute almost 30 percent of Kuala Lumpur’s municipal area, many of them are usually not accessible to the public, because they are privately owned or not suitable for relaxation and socialising. These might include, for example, shrubs and trees along roadsides, river reserves, electric lines, rail roads, cemeteries, housing areas, etc. Although these spaces are not accessible by the public, they still provide other environmental and ecological functions. The government and the public should be aware of the extent and functions of these spaces and protect them by gazetting more green spaces, collecting more data on green cover to enable the enforcement of laws, increasing the role of public and private sectors, and incorporating greenery on buildings. Such approaches are urgently needed before more green spaces disappear from the city landscape. The loss of green cover may intensify the effect of climate change, adversely affecting Kuala Lumpur’s image and liveability. Conversely, enhancing and expanding green cover will provide improved quality of life, as well as environmental and economic benefits. Malaysia Sustainable Cities Program, Working Paper Series 30 © Kasturi Devi Kanniah & Massachusetts Institute of Technology 2017

QUANTIFYING GREEN COVER CHANGE FOR SUSTAINABLE URBAN PLANNING: A CASE OF KUALA LUMPUR, MALAYSIA Kasturi Devi Kanniah Acknowledgements This work was supported by the MIT-UTM Malaysia Sustainable Cities Program grant (R.J130000.7809.4L161) and UTM Research University Grant (Q.J130000.2527.13H44). United States Geological Survey (USGS) is also acknowledged for providing Landsat Satellite data. Thanks are extended to Prof. Larry Susskind, Jessica Gordon, Selmah Goldberg, and Nick Allen from the Department of Urban Studies and Planning, MIT for providing comments to improve the scientific quality of the manuscript. References [1] American Forests, “Why We No Longer Recommend a 40 Percent Urban Tree Canopy Goal.” Loose Leaf: the Official Blog of American Forests. http://www.americanforests.org/blog/nolongerrecommend40perce nturbantreecanopygoal/ (accessed January 24, 2017) [2] Asner, Gregory P et al. "Automated Mapping of Tropical Deforestation and Forest Degradation: CLASlite." Journal of Applied Remote Sensing 3, no. 1 (2009): 033543. [3] Baharuddin, Zainul Mukrim. "Urban Green Space: Stakeholders’ and Visitors’ Perception in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia." (2010): 15- 26. [4] Baharuddin, Zainul Mukrim, Fatin Nadia Rusli, and Rashidi Othman. "Kuala Lumpur urban biodiversity: birds community in urban public parks." International Journal of Sustainable Development & World Policy 3, no. 6 (2014): 146-159. [5] Bao, Tongliga et al. "Assessing the Distribution of Urban Green Spaces and its Anisotropic Cooling Distance on Urban Heat Island Pattern in Baotou, China." ISPRS International Journal of Geo-Information 5, no. 2 (2016): 1-12. [6] Barau, Aliyu Salisu. "Perceptions and Contributions of Households towards Sustainable Urban Green Infrastructure in Malaysia." Habitat International 47 (2015): 285-297. [7] Berland, Adam et al. "The Role of Trees in Urban Stormwater Management." Landscape and Urban Planning 162 (2017): 167- 177. [8] Brunner, Julie and Paul Cozens. "‘Where Have all the Trees Gone?’ Urban Consolidation and the Demise of Urban Vegetation: a Case Study from Western Australia." Planning Practice & Research 28, no. 2 (2013): 231-255. [9] Centre for Urban Greening and Ecology. “Green in Cities Goes Skywards.” City Green, issue 2 (2011): 1-103. [10] Congalton, Russell G. "A Review of Assessing the Accuracy of Classifications of Remotely Sensed Data." Remote Sensing of Environment 37, no. 1 (1991): 35-46. Curran, Lisa M. et al. Malaysia Sustainable Cities Program, Working Paper Series 31 © Kasturi Devi Kanniah & Massachusetts Institute of Technology 2017

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