Urban Expansion And Its Impact On Local Communities: A Case Study Of Seberang Perai, Penang State, Malaysia

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Elhadary, Yasin Abdallah
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University of Khartoum
Urbanization is a major planning and policy concern in all spatial scales because more than half of the world’s population lives in urban areas, especially in developing countries. Industrialization policy has led to the rapid growth of urban population in Asian countries, including Malaysia. In Penang State, for example, urban population growth has resulted in the expansion of city limits with substantial countryside encroachment. This has resulted in remarkable changes in the physical landscape and in the socio-economic condition of the local community. Thus, investigating the impact of urban expansion on communities in the peri-urban areas of Penang State is a timely effort. This study employs quantitative and qualitative methods and uses data gathered from 192 respondents. Twelve in-depth interviews were conducted with senior citizens and village leaders living within areas experiencing intense urban development. The study found that local communities have more employment opportunities in formal and informal sectors and have better livelihoods, generated by urban development. The expansion of built-up areas, however, has placed pressure on lands and has caused significant loss of agricultural lands, which affect the livelihood of farming communities at peri-urban areas. Agriculture land size has been reduced and has become unprofitable, forcing farmers to sell their lands in the hope for quick returns. The findings of this study show that appropriate planning policy should be devised to protect arable agricultural lands at peri-urban areas and ensure that urban development also benefits local communities
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peri-urbanization, socio-economic impact, Malaysia, urban expansion