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The rise of private 'utopias' in mega cities across Asia

Growing cities need to find new ways to protect public interests as developers see potential in creating huge private enclaves

Asian cities like Jakarta, with populations upwards of 10 million, are car-centric environments where poor sewage and littering exacerbate seasonal flooding. As more huge mixed-use enclaves take root across Asia, with big developers building whole di
Asian cities like Jakarta, with populations upwards of 10 million, are car-centric environments where poor sewage and littering exacerbate seasonal flooding. As more huge mixed-use enclaves take root across Asia, with big developers building whole districts from scratch, there needs to be greater discussion about how they can be used to improve the larger urban environment, says the writer.PHOTO: REUTERS

On a plot two-thirds the size of Singapore's Botanic Gardens, in the eastern Bangkok district of Bangna, there will soon be a cluster of homes, shops, offices, a pre-school and a hospital. Apartments there will be cooled by chilled water instead of air-conditioners and electric vehicles will ferry residents back and forth. Waste water will be treated and recycled for use, in a forest that will be recreated from derelict land.

"Imagine happiness", says Magnolia Quality Development Corporation (MQDC), when describing its 90 billion baht (S$3.8 billion) development called The Forestias.

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A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on March 02, 2018, with the headline 'The rise of private 'utopias' in mega cities across Asia'. Subscribe