Tourism products is an application of ideas and terminologies drawn from marketing science has been particularly apparent in that sector of tourism which makes use of the past as a tourist attraction. Tourism products can be programmed to be more efficient and profitable in term of economics. Today, there are many types of tourism products can be found. Therefore the tourism products can be classified from the type of activities and the tourist needs. Other than that natural element, facilities including infrastructure and superstructure; along with accessibility will considered as main factors to design a tourism products. Nowadays, tourists are more concern towards education and heritage tourism. They love to get information, interesting facts and natural elements. The tourism product’s basic raw materials would be the country’s natural beauty, climate, history, culture and the people. The authenticity of tourism products is very important to attract tourist towards the heritage places. The attractions could be cultural like sites and areas of archaeological interest, historical buildings and monuments or scenic like flora and fauna, beaches, mountains and national parks. The culture and heritage value are related and can attract tourist with their authenticity, genuinely and originality. Heritage resource should be planned by great stories that reflect to the original heritage and culture. In other hand, a great stories and exact information can support the heritage tourism by doing conservation and preservation programme. By enhancing the promotion and marketing, it can help the tourists to feel and experience more of the tourism products in each place. ‘Marketing’ by definition is the development of a product to meet the needs of the consumer and then employing the techniques of direct sales, publicity and advertising to bring this product to the consumer.

1.0 Authenticity

Authenticity could be defined as a product or representation of the particular culture or heritage which produced it. When trying to declare something as authentic, it is important to know “based on what?”, who makes the call?, why and for what purpose?, how is the story being told? This brings us to needing to understand such constructs as “historical fact”, “folklore”, and even “fakelore”. Folklore: is made up of the traditional things we say (including local histories and folk stories), things we make and things we do. Fakelore: to describe that which is connected, falsified, fabricated or refined from the raw data of the anonymous tradition of folklore by particular individuals usually for profit.


Authenticity can be achieved in terms of experiencing the physical environment, or through a social interaction or people-based experience.

Four possible scenarios of a tourist experience:

1) Authentic people in authentic environment
2) Authentic people in inauthentic environment
3) Inauthentic people in inauthentic environment
4) Inauthentic people in authentic environment

Aspects of the experience:

1) The social interaction (with local people)
2) The physical environment (the site)

The potentiality of having an authentic tourist experience in both spheres, the physical and the social, is there but in a way it is the individual tourist him / herself who will determine the authenticity of the experience especially in the social interaction aspect of the experience. Element of the authenticity of the experience depends on the tourist: “Depends on who the person is and how they felt when they are through going through the sites”.

(Source: J.J. Zorilla (2000), Authenticity in the Context of Ethnic Tourism: The Local Perspective, University of Calgary, Canada)

1.1 My Understanding to Authentic Means

The authenticity of certain product can be showed by culture and heritage of each ethnic or race in the country. By doing the preservation and conservation programme, all artefacts, archaeological things and monuments can be enjoyed by us today. In this case, the authentic tourism products can be referred to certain things which have a historical value and great interesting stories. To give clear and exact information to the tourist, we should plan a certain trails which can give continuity of the historical and heritage places. There are two types of historical facts to be considered in each story line. First is folklore, that means a way of life and traditional things including local histories and folk stories. Second is fakelore, that mean the way how to give distinct information which is refined from the raw data of the anonymous tradition of folklore by particular individuals usually for profit. Everything that is authentic does not have to be old or historic, but the basis for the claim needs to be established and shared with the person hearing the story in other words, put in perspective by setting the stage or context in which the authenticity is derived.

1.2 Example of the authenticity products

Photo 1: Porto de Santiago gateway as today

This fort which is also known as ‘A Famosa’ meaning the famous has many gateways and bastions (control / watching platform). Only through this gateway, Porto de Santiago still remains today. With the conservation and preservation programme, the monument is a part of the historical, heritage and culture products in Malaysia.



Photo 2: The fortress was buried under the ground

This fort was built in 1540 during the reign of Sultan Alaudin Riayat Shah II, the prince of Sultan Mahmud Shah of Melaka, when it was invade by the Portuguese in 1511. The fort that is located in Tanjung Batu was part of the Johor Lama settlements with government and defence centre along the Johor River. Today, only a few graves, old wells and a few defence walls still remains preserved and conserved by government of Malaysia.



2.0 Tourism Products

A ‘product’ may be defined as the ‘Sum of the physical and psychological satisfactions it provides to buyer’. In the case of tourism product, the basic raw materials would be the country’s natural beauty, climate, history, culture and the people.

(Source: A.K. Bhatia (1991), Tourism Development – Principle and Practices, Sterling Publishers Private Ltd, New Delhi)

Major Considerations:

1) The attractions cover both natural elements (landscape, seascape, climate and ecological factors) and manmade ones (reservoirs, chair lifts, cable railways to scenic viewing points, cultural activities, historical sites and buildings).

2) The facilities include the infrastructures and superstructures of the area (accommodation, local transport, roads, railways, airports and other public services).

3) Accessibility is measured not only in the time taken to travel to the resort but also by the modes of transport available (air, sea, rail, road) and the degree of comfort involved ( for example the use of smaller aircraft or wide-bodied jets).

( Source : F. Douglas ( 1985), Travel and Tourism Management, The Macmillan Press Ltd, London )

Types of Tourism Products:

Although the typical mainstream tour package might involve routine 7 – 14 day tours encompassing several cities in a region, increasingly special packages are being created for niche attractions. A useful definition or common thread for organizing special tourism programs would be that they appeal to a narrow, like-interested population base. The US Tour Operators Association Web site, for example, lists about 50 types of special tourism products including the following:

1) Alumni
2) Archaeology
3) Architectural
4) Barge/river cruises
5) Bicycling
6) Bird watching
7) Castle/chateau stays
8) Culinary
9) Farm
10) Fishing
11) Gardens
12) Gay/lesbian
13) Golf
14) Heritage
15) Hiking/trekking
16) History
17) Honeymoons/ weddings
18) Horses/ranches
19) Hot-air ballooning
20) Nature/wildlife/ safaris
21) Rafting
22) Railroad
23) Shopping
24) Singles
25) Spa
26) Theatre/opera
27) Whale watching
28) Winery

( Source: B.S. Paul (2008), Travel and Tourism – An Industry Primer, Pearson Prentice Hall, New Jersey )

2.1 My Understanding about Tourism Products

Tourism products in definition are the combination between tourism package and marketing. The package sold either to the individual tourist himself or by using travel agents. Tourist product also known as the attraction of each place and it provides tourist with facilities and accessibility for their convenience. The attractions offered to the tourist should be prominent and could represent that place itself. We must deeply introduce the tourist about the place they like to visit. The places that are potential to attract tourist should have the element such as archaeological sites, historical buildings and monuments; also natural elements (beaches, mountains / highlands and seas). The examples of attraction places in Malaysia are Langkawi Island, Mount Kinabalu and Cameron Highlands. The facilities offered to the tourist should be convenience and comfortable to use. Facilities can help to enhance and develop the attraction places by providing the accommodation, entertainment place, recreational area and camping site. Through providing accessibility, it can assist and ease the tourist to go to the attraction place. Accessibility design should connect all the attraction places. Nowadays, there are several types of tourist and it influenced the tourism products:

1) Rest and relaxation – tourist who needs relaxation to release their tension. This kind of tourist needs a comfortable accommodation but at the same time, is affordable in price.

2) Cultural visits – interested in experiencing others’ culture and heritage. The location usually visited by the tourist such as historical places and villages (homestay).

3) Educational visits – people who go for a studies at the other place. The examples are people who further their studies or attend the short / long courses.

4) Exotic and unusual holiday – needs an extreme experience, such as camping in the jungle / up the mountain / national parks, fishing at deep seas or cruising along the river. Usually they just need a minimum facility.

5) Travel as norm behaviour – people who have tourism behaviour. They like to travel abroad or by cruising the sail if they have free times. Usually they need smooth routes and activities appropriate with their status.

6) Other travellers for pleasure – The common interest tourist will follow a similar reasoning and response as that of the cultural tourist. The location, status and other aspects of the casino will rank more highly.

7) Business traveller – for business purposes. Influence by time and mode of travelling, routes, duration of trip and destination. Business travel tends to be price inelastic and non-seasonal.


A heritage resource is an authentic resource that reflects or conveys tangibles or intangible elements of local heritage. Categories of heritage resources currently include sites, services, events, tours, routes, products and living treasures. Future categories will include communities and landscapes. In addition to authenticity, the programme emphasizes the importance of interpretation – the way that resources convey their importance to visitors, or how they “tell the story” of heritage they reflect. The authenticity criteria for each type of resource are slightly different, because each type raises different issues. For a building to be considered authentic, it must have an appearance that is consistent with its periods of significance – the era that is most important in the building’s history.

Heritage Products

A heritage product is an endemic folk and decorative art, craft, or trade object that authentically reflects local heritage. As a physical expression of commonly held beliefs, customs, and traditions, each Heritage Product has a unique and well-defined cultural significance. Heritage products are made locally by skilled artisans, craftsmen and women, and trades people. A heritage product is generally made by hand using traditional materials and time – honoured methods of production. Creative contemporary interpretations of traditional designs, patterns, motifs, or styles must bear a reasonably apparent relationship to the recognized traditional form of the product to warrant its designation as a Heritage Product. Heritage products are not factory – made, manufactured, mass produced in an assembly line, or made from a kit.


3.1 My Understanding about Heritage Resource

Heritage resource is authentic things that convey the evident element of local heritage. Heritage resource can be categorised into several character such as sites, services, events, tours, routes, products and living treasures. Other categories are relationship between community and landscapes. In other hand, all interpretations about heritage are depending on who tell the stories. Interpretation is the art of explaining the natural, historic, or cultural significance of a resource to the public. It is not enough for a resource to be a significant part of the country’s natural, historic, or cultural heritage – it must convey that message to visitors through effective interpretation. Heritage products such as endemic folk, decorative art, craft, or trade object that authentically reflect to a local heritage. Heritage products are usually man made. It is made by locally skills artisan, craftsmen and trade people. Every motive or design for the heritage products showing the originality, the relationship between traditional form and heritage to be emphasized. Other than that, the heritage products are not manufactured and massly produced but they are only made by skills artisan and expertise.

Photo 3: Souvenir shop at Pantai Cenang, Langkawi

The souvenir shop at Pantai Cenang sells T-shirt, key chain, craft and other thing related to Pantai Cenang and Langkawi Island. Today, they are emphasizing Langkawi as Geopark since it is being awarded by that status by UNESCO.

Photo 4 : Floating market at Bangkok, Thailand

Floating market at Bangkok, Thailand is the most interesting place to buy a local heritage product. The uniqueness of this place is tourist must cruise along the river to buy a souvenir.



Tourism products such as accommodation, hospitality, attractions, events, and other tourist services should be considered in a site plan. These tourist facilities include hostels, restaurants, hospitals, and public restrooms. When developing a site plan the following factors should be considered:

1) The scale and type of development.

2) The kind of tourism activities (ecotourism, heritage tours), facilities, attractions and amenities that will be included in a site plan.

3) Approaches that minimizes negative impacts through design, land-use planning zoning and management.

4) Development of a project financing strategies that focus on local control and minimize economic leakage from the community.

5) Tourism vision statements and goals that are communicated to commercial and other stakeholders of the sites to be included in the planning.

6) Policies that allow room for future growth and alteration in the plan and the sites themselves

(Source: Canadian Universities Consortium, A Manual for Sustainable Tourism Destination Management, Canada)

4.1 My Understanding about Designing Tourism Products

Tourism product such as accommodation, hospitality, attraction and other services should consider about site plan. The purpose of having site plan is to know the scale and types of development, to know what kind of activities that are suitable for the tourist, the attraction sites and amenities to propose in the site plan. The site plan also is used to set up approaches to minimize the negative impact by design, land-use planning and management. Most of the tourist love to visit the main attraction places. Therefore we should know the tourist volumes and flows towards the main attraction place. We also have to consider the facilities and amenities provide for their convenience and safety. Accessibility to the main attraction place also is a main issue to minimize the negative impacts. Main road to the attraction place should have continuity between other attraction places. It can give extra experience to tourist when they are going for a pleasure trip.


The potentiality of having an authentic tourist experience in both spheres, the physical and the social, is there but in a way it is the individual tourist him / herself who will determine the authenticity of the experience especially in the social interaction aspect of the experience.

Element of the authenticity of the experience depends on the tourist: “Depends on who the person is and how they felt when they are through going through the sites”.

(Source: J.J. Zorilla (2000), Authenticity in the Context of Ethnic Tourism: The Local Perspective, University of Calgary, Canada)

5.1 My Understanding about the Local Perspective

When certain areas undergo a development, there will be some benefit to the local people. The area developed by the tourism industry will focus on attracting tourist to come to that place. The failure to control the volume of tourist can make congestion to that place, natural element also will be damaged by vandalism, spreading of yellow culture, changing jobs and disturbance of social system. From the economic aspects, local people will gain financial benefits, switch the service to tourist and offer vacancies to the local people.


It is widely recognized that authenticity plays a major role in some kinds of tourism including tourism products. The authenticity of a cultural manifestation can only be determined by the performers of such manifestation. Tourism products also influenced by the interaction between tourists in a context of cultural presentation. By providing that experience and the elements they take into account in order to determine the authenticity of the tourist experience. We can teach, show or share something about the site; they are free to do it on the way that they think is most appropriate.

Cultural heritage tourism benefits communities and the country by:

· Creating jobs and businesses
· Diversifying the local economy
· Attracting visitors interested in history and preservation
· Increasing historic attraction revenues
· Preserving local traditions and culture
· Generating local investment in historic resources
· Building community pride in heritage
· Increasing awareness of the site or area's significance


1) B.S. Paul (2008), Travel and Tourism – An Industry Primer, Pearson Prentice Hall, New Jersey.

2) A. Gregory, G. Brian ( 1991), Marketing Tourism Places, Routlegde Chapman and Hall Inc, New York.

3) F. Douglas ( 1985), Travel and Tourism Management, The Macmillan Press Ltd, London.

4) A.K. Bhatia (1991), Tourism Development – Principle and Practices, Sterling Publishers Private Ltd, New Delhi.

5) Canadian Universities Consortium, A Manual for Sustainable Tourism Destination Management, Canada.

6) W. Bruce (2004), Direct Marketing of Crafts and Souvenirs to Vladimir Visitors, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign.

7) J.J. Zorilla (2000), Authenticity in the Context of Ethnic Tourism: The Local Perspective, University of Calgary, Canada.






Uniform Building By-Laws 1984

The Uniform Building By-Laws 1984 was amended in 1990 to include the provision of by-law 34A which requires that all buildings that can be visited by the public be provided with facilities for disabled people:

a. The First Section requires that access be provided to enable the disabled to enter, exit and move about within a building and the design of the access must be suitable for the disabled.
b. The Second Section stipulates that the specifications of the facilities for the disabled should be in accordance with the Malaysian Standards MS 1184 and MS 1183.
c. The Third, Fourth and Fifth Sections stipulates that local authorities should ensure that building plans submitted must comply with the Malaysian Standards, i.e. to include facilities for the disabled in the building and any alterations made to the building.
d. The Sixth Section lists the buildings that are required to adhere to this by-law. These include office buildings, terminals, car parks, and public buildings such as hospitals, government buildings, restaurants, cinemas, sports complexes, schools, hostels, hotels and others.
e. On the whole, in the legal context, facilities for the disabled have been included in the amendment to the Uniform Building By-Laws (1984) in 1990 by adding provision 34A. All Local Authorities are required to enforce these laws and ensure that the facilities are provided according to Malaysian Standards MS 1184 and MS 1331.

SIRIM Code of Practice

1) Code of Practice for Access for the Disabled to Public Buildings (MS1184)

This code of practice, issued by SIRIM in 1991, represents the Malaysian Standard for the provision and design of special facilities within a building so that they can be used easily an safely by disabled people.

The main subjects included in this code are specifications of the features for the facilities such as the size, measurement, type, material and design which are suitable and safe to be used by the disabled. These facilities include ramps, handrails, stairs, toilets, bars, signs and symbols.

This code also specifies the types of buildings that are required to provide these facilities:

a. Hospitals, clinics, welfare centres, mosques/suraus;

b. Shop houses, supermarkets, administrative centres, offices, banks and post offices;

c. Restaurants, cinemas, conference halls, community centres, swimming pools, sports

complexes and recreational buildings;

d. Government/public buildings;

e. Schools, colleges, universities, zoos, museums, galleries, libraries and science and cultural

buildings; and

f. Hostels, hotels and residential buildings except private houses.

2) Code of Practice for Access for Disabled People Outside Buildings (M8 1331) 1993
This code of practice, issued by SIRIM in 1993, represented the Malaysian Standard for the provision and design of special facilities outside of buildings so that they can be accessed and used the disabled.
Among the facilities are pavements, lighting, ramps, stairs, handrails, street furniture, pedestrian walkways, special seating, underpasses, footbridges, pedestrian crossings, traffic islands, special parking areas, bus stops, signages and symbols. This code applies to all types of buildings including place of work and public buildings - Private residences are excluded.

3) Code of Practice for the Means of Escape for the Disabled (MS 1183)1990
This code of practice provides guidelines to building designers and contractors for works on new buildings or renovation of existing buildings. It also outlines the steps that need to be taken involving the safety of the disabled in the event of a fire. Among the fire prevention and safety provisions for the disabled include stairs, spaces, exits, emergency/fire lifts, emergency phones, stairs and lifts specifically for wheelchair users.
As with code MS 1184:1991, this code has also been gazetted in the Uniform Building By-Laws, 1984 with the addition of provision 34A which requires that all buildings (except private residences) that can be visited by the public, are provided with fire safety facilities for the disabled.

Implementation Policies

i. Provision of facilities for the disabled must be done according to the requirements outlined in the:

a. Uniform Building By-Laws 1984; and

b. SIRIM Code of Practice MS 1184 and MS 1331

ii. The preparation of the Structure and Local Plans should take into consideration the facilities required for the disabled;

iii. Local Authorities should enforce the of planning guidelines and standards prepared by the Town and Country Planning Department in when granting planning permission and approval of any development application; and

iv. The provision of facilities for the disabled should be in compliance with policies and guidelines stipulated in the development strategies of Structure and Local Plans.

Planning Principles

i. Justice
Provide appropriate and suitable facilities for the disabled in residential areas, public buildings, commercial centres, transportation systems and recreational areas.

ii. Compassion
a. All facilities for the disabled must be user-friendly and must fulfill their needs; and
b. Provide adequate basic and public facilities as well as effective and comfortable traffic and transportation systems for all.

iii. Peace and Security
a. Planning for the support facilities for the use of the disabled should emphasize on safety, comfort and adaptability; and
b. Planning for accessibility should incorporate the use of spaces and facilities for people with various types of handicaps and disabilities.

iv. Effective and Efficient
The sitting of support facilities for the disabled requires careful planning to maximize effectiveness and efficiency of usage.

v. Trustworthy and Credibility
a. Accessibility must take into account the ability of the disabled to leave a place without any obstruction;
b. The implementing authority has a social responsibility to ensure that a barrier-free environment is created for the disabled.

vi. Rights of the Individual and Society
a. Give rights to the disabled, listen and accept their views; and
b. Provide protection to the disabled from victimisation and other acts which infringe their rights as individuals.

vii. Unity
Encourage unity through writings, symbols and images.

viii. Encouraging Congregation and Interaction.
Provide areas and elements which encourage congregation, interaction and community activities.

ix. Preservation of the Environment
The preservation of the natural green areas, historical landscape and wildlife and forest reserves so that they can also be enjoyed by the disabled.

(Source:Town And Country Planning Peninsular Malaysia, 2002)

General Guidelines

These guidelines focus on the provision of facilities for the disabled in the area surrounding buildings, either for public or commercial buildings, public transport terminals or recreational areas.

i. The provision of access for the disabled to all buildings, which has to be approved by the Local Authorities in accordance with the Uniform Building By-Laws, should take into account the SIRIM Code MS 1331:1993 and MS 1184:1991 and the planning guidelines for the disabled;

ii. Access for the disabled to public buildings, multi-storey dwellings, commercial buildings, public transport terminals and recreational areas should begin from the car park or public transport terminal and be free from any obstruction;

iii. When providing access. the ability of the disabled to leave these places without any obstruction should be taken into consideration;

iv. Planning for accessibility should cover the use of areas and facilities for people with various types of handicap and disabilities;

v. The planning and guidelines on the accessibility must take into account the limited abilities of the disabled such as mobility, seating and others;

vi. Planning of the support elements or facilities for the use of the disabled should emphasize safety, comfort and suitability;

vii. All facilities for the disabled must have user-friendly features; and

viii. The location of the support facilities for the disabled requires careful planning to maximize efficiency and effectiveness of usage.

Planning Concept For Facilities For The Disabled

In preparing a layout plan of a particular development, areas specified as facilities for the disabled should be planned in accordance with the concepts set out in Figures 1 and Figure 2.

1) Standards
The components in the planning of facilities for the disabled cover the following aspects:
i. Accessibility;
ii. Spaces; and
iii. Support facilities.

Facilities for the disabled should be planned according to land use based on the Proposed Modular Plan (Refer to Table 1 and Table 2 )

Figure 1:External Planning Concept


Figure 2:Schematic Diagram Of Facilities For Disabled

(Source:Town And Country Planning Peninsular Malaysia, 2002)

Table 1:Matrix On The Usage Of Facilities For Disabled By Location
(Source:Town And Country Planning Peninsular Malaysia, 2002)

Table 2:Proposed Facilities For The Disabled Types Of Land Use
(Source:Town And Country Planning Peninsular Malaysia, 2002)




The Malaysian Social Welfare Department uses the following definitions:
- Disabled person as anyone who is incapable of obtaining for himself all or part of the normal needs of an individual and / or cannot participate fully in the life of the community due to abnormality since birth or in later life.

(Source: Town And Country Planning Peninsular Malaysia, 2002)

The World Health Organization (WHO) uses the following definitions:

1) Impairment

Any loss or abnormality of psychological, physiological or anatomical structure or function. An impairment can be temporary or permanents. This includes the existence or occurrence of an anomaly, defect or loss in a limb, organ, tissue or other structure of the body, including the systems of mental function.

2) Disability

Any restriction or lack (resulting from impairment) of ability to perform an activity in the manner or within the range considered normal for human being. A disability may be temporary or permanent, reversible or irreversible and progressive or regressive.

3) Handicap

A disadvantage for an individual, resulting from an impairment or disability, the limits or prevents the fulfillment of a role that is normal (depending on age, sex and social and cultural factors) for that individual.

(Source: Holmes - Siedle. J,, 1996)

For the purpose of this study, it has been necessary to define particular handicaps, impairments and restrictive devices so that they may be related to individual design elements. The terminology used below, with the exception of “temporary impairments”, is generally accepted and used in literature dealing with the handicapped.

1) Wheelchair

A wheel chair is a chair on wheels normally propelled by the occupant by means of handrims attached to the two side wheels. Wheelchairs may also be motorized or propelled by an attendant (Refer to Figure 1).

Figure 1 : Wheelchair

2) Crutch

A crutch is a staff with crosspieces at the top to support the person in walking. The point of support may be under the shoulder, upper arm or forearm. For each crutch, a person support is provided at hand level (Refer to Figure 2 ).

Figure 2 : Persons Who Using A Crutches

3) Cane

A cane or walking stick is a short staff either straight or curved at the upper end, used to provide some support at hand level in walking (Refer to Figure 3).

Figure 3 : Person Who Using A Cane
4) Walker

A walker is a four-legged stand which provided support for the user. It is moved by lifting or by wheeling on casters.

5) Brace

A brace is defined as any kind of supportive device for the arms, hands, legs, feet, back, neck or head, exclusive of temporary casts, slings, bandages, trusses, belts or crutches (Refer to Figure 4).

Figure 4 : Persons Who Using A Brace
(Source:Robinette.G.O., 1985)

6) Artificial Limb
An artificial limb is device to replace a missing leg, hand or foot. It does not necessarily have moving parts. A device employed only for lengthening a leg where the whole leg or foot is present is not included in this definition.

7) Special Shoes
Footwear specifically designed as pediatric aids to be used in assisting people in walking.
(Source : Robinette.G.O., 1985)
8) Ramps
Ramps are an essential method for assisting wheeled traffic to cope with changes in level that are traditionally overcome by using steps. Wheeled traffic can include wheelchairs, parents with prams, trolleys and other vehicles. Ramps are not replacement for stairs and steps, but are needed as and additional method for dealing with change in level (Refer to Figure 5).

Figure 5 : Ramps

9) Pathways
The ideal pathway is well illuminated, even, firm and well drained, presenting a non-slip surface in both wet and dry conditions. Sudden or irregular changes in gradient and gaps more than 10mm wide in the surface of the path should be avoided (Refer to Figure 6 ).

Figure 6 : Pathways

(Source: Holmes - Siedle. J,, (1996)

Basic Guideline For Consideration in Physical Planning And Design.

1. Accessibility - The built environment shall be designed so that it is accessibility for all people, including those with disabilities and elderly persons.

2. Access or Accessible - This means that people with disabilities can, without assistance, approach, enter, pass to and from and make use of an area and its facilities without undue difficulties. Constant reference to these basic requirements during the planning and design process of built environment will help to ensure that the possibilities of creating an accessible environment will be maximized.

3. Reachability - Provisions shall be adopted and introduced into the built environment so that as many places and buildings as possible can be reached by all people, including those with disabilities and elderly persons.

4. Usability - The built environment shall be designed so that all people, including those with disabilities and elderly persons can be use and enjoy it.

5. Safe – The built environment shall be so designed that all people, including those with disabilities and elderly persons, can move about without undue hazard to life and health.

6. Workability - The built environment where people work shall be designed to allow people, including those with disabilities, fully to participate in and contribute to the work force.

7. Barrier-free or non-handicapping - This means unhindered, without obstructions, to enable disabled persons free passage to and from and use of he facilities in the built environment.
(Source : O’Morrow, G.S, (1976), Therapeutic Recreation – A Helping Proffesion.)

Categories of the Disabled

The Welfare Department has categorized the handicapped into four categories:

i) Physically handicapped (polio, half-paralysed, cripple and spastic),
ii) Hearing-impairment (deaf and dumb),
iii) Sight-impaired (blind and partially blind) and
iv) Mentally retarded (Down’s syndrome, autistic and others).

Based on these categories, this study divides the disabled into two groups, i.e. permanent disabled and temporarily disabled. Both of these groups encompass the following categories:

i) Physically handicapped such as deaf, blind, no hands/legs;
ii) Mentally retarded or insane;
iii) Special children (Down’s syndrome, autistic and others);
iv) The elderly with limited physical capability;
v) Wheelchair users;
vi) Pregnant women; and
vii) Children and persons of stunted growth.

(Source: Town And Country Planning Peninsular Malaysia, 2002)




Assoc. Prof. Mustafa Kamal Bin Mohd. Shariff, AILAM
Department of Landscape Architecture
Universiti Putra Malaysia
43400 Serdang, Selangor Darul Ehsan


It is hard to imagine living in a world devoid of colours. From the day we were born we are surrounded by a multitude of colours and colours determine who we are and our choices for survival. So pervasive are colours in our lives that they have always been taken for granted. Until, off course, we are deprived of colours or got ourselves labelled with the wrong colour! This paper attempts to explore the raw and refined aspects of colours and how they have been used in the past as well as the present and perhaps the future. From the mysterious white light of the sun to the delirious green tropical canopies, colours have never failed to captivate, excite or disenchant us. Colours are not only a significant part of the landscape but rather they originate from the environment itself.


I am about to bring you on an exciting journey. It will begin with facts as raw as a slice of red meat on a butcher’s table. But by the end of this, I hope to delve in finer things that surround this subject matter. However, if you find the journey boring, then it is the fault of the guide, never the journey.”


The discussion on colours, be they scientific, psychological or philosophical ones, is indeed very interesting and rewarding. It must have been so because since antiquity, scientists, philosophers, lawyers and barbers have thought and debated about the phenomena of colours that colour their lives.

For us mortal humans, colours are so common and have become a part of us that we sometimes become so careless as to take them for granted but with unpredictable consequences. Such things occur when we happen to support the wrong colour with true intention or display our true colour at the wrong occasion. In either case, the aftermath can lead to dire consequences. But are all creatures so fortunate as us to be able to see so many colours? Science indicated that many animals are not so fortunate in that they can only see in monochrome – in shades of black and white. So what kind of fools are the matadors who tempt to rage the bulls with red pieces of cloth when a simple black cloth or a stick will do the job? But then again a fiesta would not be a fiesta without the pomp and gaiety that colours can bring. So we know that colours are more for the human spectators than for the unfortunate bull. But scientists also noted that some animals can see colours that are even beyond the normal ability of human beings to see!

But seeing colour is one thing. The ability to communicate colours to another presents a different set of challenges. According to Tuan (1993), most major languages in the world lack the ability to name or describe colours adequately. This includes the English language. The inadequacy is so bad that Munsell decided to use letters and numbers to describe colours in his famous colour chart instead of English. Across the world the Maoris of New Zealand are said to perform better at describing some colours. They are able to describe many more colours of red. The Inuits of the Alaskan wilderness, on the other hand, can describe many more shades of white. They need to as their ice covered world largely appear in white and its variations.

But where do colours come from? Today, any school children knows that the light from our faithful sun carries seven colours – red, orange, yellow, green, blue, indigo and violet. And with the right tools we can “see” two more colours at the opposite end of the spectrum i.e. the infra-red and the ultra violet. But the amazing thing is that all these colours can appear united as one single colour. Sometimes what appear as pure is actually composed of diversity like the truth itself. Pass it through a prism, a single white light can generate its true composition. Pass through scrutiny truth itself may take on many forms. Therefore, it is the natural light that gives colours to everything that we see. The colours that we see vary with the light quality and intensity. Colours appear brighter when the sky is clearer and appear dull when the weather turns cloudy or hazy. In the absence of light, colours cease to exist.

Having known where colour originates we now turns to what makes colour. Again our science colleagues came to the rescue. Light, they say, are made up of particles that vibrate with a certain magnetic wavelength. The fact was explained by Isaac Newton back in 1666 with his prism experiment. Red has the longest frequency wavelength of the colour spectrum while violet and beyond have the shortest. So short and powerful are the latter wavelengths that they could penetrate through the human body and other objects giving rise to Roentgen’s X-ray.

When natural light of various colours hits objects, most colours in the spectrum will be absorbed by them. However, some will be reflected away. And it is the colours that are reflected away that enter the retina of the eye and are picked up by the special cells at the back of our eyes strangely named rods and cones. The sensitive rods and cones then transmit the sensations to the brain and we give names to the sensations as red, orange, yellow, blue and others relying solely on our knowledge and past experiences. A well experienced person can picked up between 150-200 different colours. Going by logic and the explanation given, a yellow mango is everything else but yellow. This is one of the contentions of a debate that will be delved in slightly later.

While we think that we know colours, describing them is not a simple matter. Those that have to deal with colours in their profession such as designers and colour consultants need to communicate well about their subject matter. And thus, we have come up with terms such as a hue to mean the type of colour, for example, red, orange and yellow. The degree of lightness and darkness of a colour is called its value. Thus, we can now describe bright pink or dark burgundy. And colour intensity refers to the “brightness or dullness of a colour.”

To further pacify our simple mind in recognizing and describing colours, we devised the colour wheel that has been the standard colour aid in any design studio. The wheel is based on colours that are considered primary because of their purity. These are red, yellow and blue. Then we have the secondary colours of green, orange and purple. They are called secondary colours because they are composed of a mixture of two primary colours. Blue mixed with yellow will give us green, red when mixed with yellow result in orange and blue when added to red will give us purple. But what if a primary colour is mixed with a secondary colour on the colour wheel? The combination results in tertiary colours such as yellow-orange, red-orange, red-purple and so on. While describing how a colour is formed seems to be easy enough, using colours to achieve an intended effect is not as simple. And thus the colour wheel tells us that there are combinations of colours that result in harmony while others can result in a discord. Colours that are found close to one another on the colour wheel are said to be analogous while those on the opposite side are complementary. Therefore, yellow, yellow-green, and yellow-orange are analogous colours. On the other hand, red and green or blue and yellow are complementary colours that are contrasting and yet in harmony.

While we have said quite a bit about colours and their origin and how they come about, the effects they have on our mood and behaviour are a matter of greater concern to us. To begin with, there are colours that are said to be warm. These include red and yellow and their combinations. The reason why these are grouped as warm colours is perhaps because they excite us and bring cheers to our lives. Warm colours generate activity and a faster heartbeat. They visually and psychologically warm the temperature of a space. Bright coloured flowers when used in a garden bring cheer and happiness. These colours are also said to be inviting, optimistic, encouraging, and stimulating to the appetite. Bright colours tend to blend objects, patterns and textures better than cool colours. Correctly used, warm colours visually reduce large spaces and contribute to intimacy. Young children love warm colours which help them to dissipate their boundless energy. They often use bright colours to express happiness.

On the other hand, cool colours work in the opposite. These colours such as green and blue have a more calming effect. They soothe our mind into a state of relaxation. And perhaps that is one reason they are preferred by the elderly. Researchers have pointed out that these are also the qualities that draw people to nature and the outdoors to escape the excitement and fatigue of city life. Used in confined spaces, these colours appear to recede and visually expand the existing space. A point of interest to those who are concerned about their diet – cool colours are believed to subdue the appetite! We would not want to eat so much rice that is coloured blue instead of yellow.

So powerful were the effects of colours on our psyche that lead some to describe colours as “the most personal and emotional of all the elements of design.” The ancient Greeks, Egyptians, Chinese, Indians and others are known to use colours to treat all sort of ailments. And colour therapy is making a comeback into our twenty first century lifestyles.

As mentioned earlier the effects of colours on us are influenced by a number of factors. Knowledge, experience and one’s culture may determine how we perceive colours and thus, how we react to it. Let us take a look at our reactions to colour from an instinctive viewpoint. Bright colours such as reds and yellows are called warm colours. And as mentioned earlier, they naturally cause our heart to beat faster. And thus we get more excited on seeing red than other colours. More adrenalin is pumped into our system. But for whatever reasons? Then we notice, too that poisonous plants and animals are brightly coloured. Could it be that the excitement that we feel today on seeing warm colours is a reminder of our distant past when our ancestors had to deal with venomous creatures?

Our response to colours depends also on our past experiences. It has been determined that we often associate colours with things and events in our lives. Here colour becomes very personal and difficult to generalise. Tuan (1993) mentioned how past experiences influenced our taste for colours when he said that before the industrial revolution, Europeans love to dress themselves in gay colours that bordered on the garish. However, after the industrial revolution, their tastes inclined towards grey and black. This is large due to the large amount of smokestack soot in the air that stained everything including clothing grey and black.

Likewise one’s culture too has a great influence on how we react to colour. To the traditional Chinese reds and yellows are the colours of happiness, good fortune and wealth. Thus, Chrysanthemums and Peonies are a favourite at celebrations. On the other hand, black is associated with misfortune, death and sorrow. However, among the Malays, black is the colour of courage and the mystics. We are taught that green is a colour of nature and therefore the Greenpeace Movement whose activities mainly centred on saving nature. A compact disc entitled “Touching nature, greening minds” is surely about educating people loving the natural environment. But green is also the colour that is associated with Islam. Surely the West would have some difficulty in interpreting this colour if “civilisations were to clash.” And currently it seems that the “red, white and blue “ are smothering all the other colours in hegemony.

Now let us take a look at what lurks behind the philosophy of colours. Great thinkers including Plato, Socrates, Averrhoes, Santayana, Descartes and others, just to name a few, stir up much debate about colour. One of their main contentions revolves around whether colours really exist! Ackerman (1990) claimed that:

“Colour doesn’t occur in the world, but in the mind. Remember the old paradoxical question: If a tree falls in the forest, and no one is around to hear it, does it make a sound? A parallel question in vision: If no human eye is around to view it, is an apple really red?”

A number of concepts have been proposed and are still being proposed to answer this question. One, for instance, focuses on objects as having colour properties while the other looks from the aspect of colour as a quality of the perceptual experience of the observer. The former seems to be favoured by those inclined towards the scientific approach to looking at the truth of the natural world.

Another problem with colour has been touched slightly earlier. If a colour of the object seen is that of the colour that is reflected and not absorbed by the object, then should we call the object by the colour that it is not? This seems to be another paradox of colour that has satiated philosophers’ appetite for many years.

And finally, we come to the theme of our conference “colours amidst green” Is green not a colour among colours? May be the conference organiser is confused or had a hidden agenda. Or perhaps green symbolises nature and colours are the diversity of life. I have not a faintest idea but if we are to argue that green is anything but green and colours are therefore green, then are we talking about the one and the same thing or nothing at all?


I seek no apology from the organiser nor you my dearest audience. For if you are lost then I am, too. For this is what philosophy is – seeking what is not rather than what it is…”


Ackerman, D. 1990.A Natural History of the Senses. Random House Inc. New York

Ashley, L. 1995. The Colour Book: Using Colour to Decorate Your Home. Ebury Press, London.

Nielson, K.J. and Taylor, D.A.. 1994. Interiors: An Introduction. Brown and Benchmark Pub., Madison.

Tuan, Y.F. 1993. Passing Strange and Wonderful: Aesthetics, nature, and culture. Island Press, Washington, D.C.





Datuk Dr. Saharan Hj. Anang
Director General
Malaysian Agriculture Research and Development Institute
MARDI HQ, P.O. Box 12301 General Post Office
50074 Kuala Lumpur


Kehidupan masa depan yang lebih selesa dan ceria dapat ditingkatkan dengan membangunkan landskap yang berfungsi dan berkualiti. Tumbuhan landskap masa kini dan hadapan mempunyai peranan penting untuk mengujudkan landskap yang ceria dan selesa di taman tropika. Pengenalan dan penggunaan spesies baru untuk landskap masa kini dan akan datang akan menambah kepelbagaian dalam rekabentuk landskap tempatan. Warna yang terhasil dari tumbuhan landskap memberikan input yang amat besar kepada kita untuk merancang dan menghasilkan landskap yang harmoni untuk masyarakat. Pembangunan spesies baru dengan kepelbagaian warna seharusnya melalui proses penyelidikan dan pembangunan teknologi yang akan menjadi pemangkin kepada perkembangan industri landskap. Teknologi seperti penggunaan spesies hutan tempatan, pemilihan pokok eksotik yang sesuai, pembiakbakaan spesies orkid/hibrid dan juga kaedah bioteknologi dalam menghasilkan warna dan bahan tanaman akan membantu menambah kepelbagaian warna dalam landskap. Proses pemilihan dan pembangunan spesies berdaya maju dijangka akan dapat merealisasikan kehidupan masa depan yang lebih berkualiti, bersinar dengan pengolahan konsep yang tepat dan bersesesuaian dengan kehendak serta situasi landskap di masa hadapan.


A better and comfortable life can be improved through creation of functional and quality landscape. Currently, landscape plants play important role of creating beautiful and conducive environment in tropical garden. Identification of new species for current and future landscape will add diversity to the local landscape design. The colour from the landscape plants gives very deep impact to man in planning and creating a good landscape design for the public. New species development with colour diversity is important through research process and technology development to enhance the landscape industry. The identification of local forest species, selection of the right exotic species, breeding of orchid species/hybrid and the use of biotechnology techniques in producing colour variety will help adding colour diversity in landscape. The selection and development of promising species is expected to develop better future. These include the process of conceptual planning and implementing an appropriate landscape garden.


This working paper aims to outline the planning strategies and use of landscape plants, either native species or exotic in the future by focusing on various aspects of colours. Plants play important role as fillers on some landscape features and more importantly they add the aesthetic values to the landscape of a location. In today, manmade world, the aesthetic values of plants are becoming more highly appreciated. Plants provide a basic contact with nature and heighten pleasure in our surroundings. Their aesthetic value is more difficult to quantify than the values already discussed and is difficult to describe, in fact, without seeming trite or overly sentimental. Without elaborating on the principles of landscape design, the following are some of the aesthetic advantages that plants can provide:

1) Plants provide varieties of colour, form, texture, and pattern in the landscape.

2) Plants soften architectural lines and accentuate structural details.

3) Plants can form vistas, frame views, provide focal points, and define spaces.

4) Plants relieve the monotony of pavement and masonry.

5) Plants, particularly trees, make enticing play areas.

6) Plants offer cooling shade, pleasant fragrances, intriguing sounds, and serene settings.

7) Plants create the impression of a well-established place in new residential areas and minimize the raw, unfinished look.

8) Plants unify, giving coherence to visually chaotic scenes.

(Richard, 1983)

From the visual angle, colour on plant parts can increase the visual landscape quality in the city. Thus, people will interest to do activity with related to recreation for enjoyable life. Combination of softscape and hardscape to get colour balance will influence the surrounding temperature. Choices of various colour from plant in our country partly depend on newly introduce species through cultural manipulation, breeding programmed, and biotechnological research. Through this approach, plant characters such as free flowering plant, flowering longevity and uniformity could be identified.

Colour diversity in landscape plant

Colour is one of the inherent characteristics, through which a plant type could be usually distinguished. It has physiological effect to mankind and environmental quality (Booth, 1983). Bright colour plant give more conducive enviroscape and cheerful while plants with dark coloured give impact of dim and gloomy. All plant parts like leaf, flower, fruit, branch and trunk have unique colours to distinguish with other plant types (Ahmad Makmom, 2000). Plant colours help to strengthen their character in landscape composition, especially for large trees or any ornamental plants. Various colours will add variety and reduce monotone composition in any landscape design (Booth, 1983).

Many birds’ species are attracted to bright coloured flowers. Usually landscape plants with characters such as good canopy, bearing fruit and bright flower are suitable habitat for nesting. Plant characters such as bright flowers, aromatic and produce honey are some suitable criteria for attraction of insects like bees and butterflies. Some examples of these plants are Melastoma malabrathicum, Ardisia elliptica, Clerodendron spp. and Ixora spp.

Native plants

Native plant is a plant that grown naturally in any country (Corner, 1998) According to Muhammad and Mustafa Ali (1994), there are 250,000 around species of flowering plant in the world and 8000 species are estimated from Malaysian forest. From that estimation, it is not impossible to make these native species the biggest contributor in terms of flower, leaf and also fruit on colour diversity in landscaping.

The government has given encouragement and advocacy on native plant research. According to Ministry of Science and Environment, only 3% from the plant in our forest were used in research especially for medicine and health food purposes. This low percentage shows that too little research efforts have been done on local native species. Research in landscape development is still new and not much research has been done in this area.

In this millennium era, awareness on the important of local species planted has started. This is indicated through several new domesticated species in the tropical landscape garden. Malaysian native species like Eugenia oleana (Kelat paya) give very good impact in landscape through the bright colour on the leaf. The leaf colour change gradually from red, maroon to green is due to the phenological process of plant growth. Likewise, Bauhinia kockiana, a native species can produce very attractive orange flower with free flowering. Turnera sp. which produce yellow flower and glisten leaf colour has good landscape impact if planted with other ornamental plants.

Colour diversity that is produced through various part of plant such as leaves, flowers, stem and fruits need to be explored further in term of plant requirements to grow well in urban parks or green spaces. This is to sustain the natural of the plant and provide dominant impact to the landscape. As such, adaptation of native species should be done through specific procedures to ensure that data on certain growth requirement is always documented (Mustafa and Zulhazmi, 2003).

Evaluation and characterization of identified species against to new landscape environment is very important for the native plant. to determine plant function and usage in landscape. Basic procedures in selection of newly native species for used in landscaping should be followed as shown in figure below.

Figure 1. Development of adaptive procedures on native species

Exotic plant

Exotic plant means plant that is introduced by man to a new place (Corner, 1988) for certain feature such as attractive flowers, leaf colours or medicinal values. Previously, exotic flowers were introduced by navigators when they migrated from one place to another. Today, these exotic plants are commonly introduced in this country through demand in landscape industry.

For example, Hibiscus sp. which was brought from China long time ago were adapted to Malaysian environment and have been chosen as our national flower. These flowers have good characteristics like big flower, attractive shape and red colour, which symbolizes the courageousness. Since thereof, various hibiscus varieties with various colour spread in every space in the country.

The development throughout the nation was further boost up as Malaysia became the host country for the Commonwealth Games in 1998. Consequently, the landscape development was further enhanced. This was observed through the increasing demand for the landscape plants. This situation encouraged the local nursery and other landscape entrepreneur to introduce attractive species that produce flower and leaf with various colours. Consequently, ornamental plants like Heliconia sp., Turnera sp., Iresine hebstii, Duranta gold, Ficus yellow and other various species gained popularity. The different bright colours from these species give contrast to the existing green landscape. Dramatically colour produced by the exotic plant symbolizes that certain event begins.

Temperate plant

Many temperate plants were introduced during colonial era and a few varieties gained popularity in the local landscape such as Impatiens, Petunia, Poinsetia, Tagetes, Salvia, Catharanthus etc. The specialty of these temperate plants is the ability to produce bright coloured flowers or leaves. Visually this would attract attention to the viewers.

The ability to schedule the flowering time is an advantage to be planted in tropical garden. Temperate plants also have the ability to give instant effect on colour in landscape protocol areas such as roundabout, government buildings, prime avenues and royal palaces. Coloured leaves and flowers will increase the aesthetic value of landscape garden especially in the large cities like Kuala Lumpur and Putrajaya. Although the cost of planting material and maintenance is quite expensive its impact in landscape is very significant. These plants will give instant colour when planted at flowering stage in landscape garden. It also produces colour for a long time with frequent flower development or replace with new plants. Using temperate plants will enhance the scenario of a place due to the colour effect. Bright coloured flower will give visual effect on the compactness and further harmonise the place.


Planting orchid as one of the landscape elements does not require high cost and maintenance as compared to other ornamental plants. This is proven through organized planning. Several factors that should be considered are as follows:

1. Selection of suitable variety
2. Quality of planting materials
3. Proper planting techniques
4. Proper plant maintenance

If all these procedures are observed, orchids will always produce flowers with various colours. Orchid selection for landscape is based on their flower uniqueness and colour. The following factors should be considered in varietals selection of orchid for landscape use:

1) Hardiness and vigour in growth

2) More tolerant to major pests and diseases

3) Fast growing and easily adapted

4) Free-flowering

5) Preferably produce big flowers with bright colour or small but many flowers

(Rozlaily and Hanim, 2003)

Orchid, with appropriate selection of variety and good maintenance, will give diversity of unique colour and attractive garden.

Technology contribution for production of various ornamental plant colours

Cultural manipulation

Growth and flowering manipulation of ornamental plants should be explored further. Several aspects like budgrafting technique, hormonal effect, light intensity and agronomic practices are a few approaches in manipulation and initiation of flowers.

The phenology and growth of individual plants should be documented to determine the time to first flowering, flower longevity and scheduling of colours in landscape. This could assist in manipulation of plant characteristic, whether to synchronize with the market demand or to manipulate their flowering, growth and form. Growth control is particularly important for potted plants. The various possible methods used are through mechanical technique, cultural practices, environmental manipulation and chemical treatment.

Plug system

Currently, both vegetative propagated flowering groundcovers and shrubs for bedding or indoor decoration are raised in polybags. The plant cuttings are normally stuck into medium in polybags and they are managed and handle individually. A propagation system that allows handling of plants in-group may increase production efficiency. One of the possible systems is plug system. Using this, the plants are sown or grown in specialized plug trays that are partitioned into individual cells per tray. The seedling or plant produced in each cell is called a plug. Production of plant materials using plug system has been recognized as the greatest improvement to date in bedding plant production industry in the United States and Europe. Use of this technique has influenced the materials handling methods, greenhouse design and automation, benching design and even determined the design of new cultivar and variety. The development of above technique also can produce big amount of planting material in one time and uniform. The plants are generally grown in a close proximity in a uniform media. Its can produce a big scale of colour to be use in landscaping (, 1999).


Biotechnology is the technique or process use science related to living things such as micro organism, animal or plant for solving problems or make product which are useful to mankind. New biotechnology techniques allow researchers to take certain genes from a source organism and put those genes into another plant or animal. These techniques are called genetic engineering.

Biotechnology was practiced about 10,000 years ago when men domesticated animals and cultivated crop for food and clothing. In recent years, genetic engineering has been used for improvement of ornamental plants. It would help in the production of certain flower characteristics or traits that are desired in a directed manner. As opposed to normal breeding techniques which involves crossing, the genetic engineering approach would help in the transformation of the plant with the sole purpose of introduction certain traits that can be changed by genetic engineering. Several areas of flower crops have been studied most intensively using the techniques. One of which is the production of novel coloured flowers by the transformation of genes in the anthocyanin biosynthesis pathway. Using the antisense technology on genes such as Chalcone synthase and Dihyroxy flavanol reductase (DFR), new colours had been produced in Petunia. Other areas include enhancement of fragrance, plant that glows at night, pattern of flower and prolong the vast-life of flower by inhibition of ethylene production using antisense gene technology.

Today, however, transgenic approaches are also being introduced. The impressive results of traditional breeding are obvious to anyone who visits flower exhibitions and auctions (Joseph, M. 1998). These varieties, with their range of colours and patterns, constitute an enormous mutant collection for scientific study.


The use of plant in tropical garden will add colour diversity. The domesticated local forest species will contribute to colour diversity in landscape. Colour development is obtainable through saintific research. Several technologies such as genetic engineering, breeding program, cultural manipulation and plug system will contribute colour diversity in ornamental plants. With the above technologies production system could be carried out more efficient.


Ahmad Makmom, A., Marzuki, I. and Tay, A.C. (2000). The role of plant in landscapes. Proceedings of the National Horticulture Conference 2000. pp. 22-23.

Booth, N.K. (1983). Basic Elements of Landscape Architectural Design. Elsevier Science Publishers Inc. New York.

Corner, E.J.H. (1988). Wayside Trees of Malaya. Vol. 1 & 2. Third edition. The Malayan Nature Society, Kuala Lumpur.

Hanim, A., Ab. Kahar, S., Yahya, A. and Zulhazmi, S. (1999). Production of planting materials for ornamental ground covers and shrubs using plug system. Occasional paper No. 6/1999, MARDI

Joseph, M., Enrich, G and Ronald, K (1998). How genes paint flowers and seeds. Trends in plant science, reviews. Jun 1998 Vol3 No.6. pg: 212-216

Muhamad Zakaria and Mustafa Ali. (1994). Traditional Malay Medicinal Plants. Fajar Bakti. Sdn. Bhd.pp 1-8.

Mustafa, K.M.S and Zulhazmi, S. (2003). Using native shrubs for Malaysian Urban landscapes. Proceedings of the National Landscape Seminar 2003. pp. 108-109.

Richard, W.H. (1983). Arboriculture: Care trees, shrubs and vines in the landscape. Prantice-Hall, Inc., Englewood Cliffs, New Jersey. pp.10-11

Rozlaily, Z and Hanim, A. (2003). Vandaceous orchid for recreational park. Proceedings of the National Landscape Seminar 2003. pp. 210-211.

Roof Garden System


According to D. Nigel and K. Noel (2004), a green roof is a green space created by adding layers of growing medium and plants on top of a traditional roofing system. The construction and success of system depend on the specific needs and conditions of site. A roof garden is any planted open space, intended to provide human enjoyment or environmental enhancement, which is separated from the earth by a building or other structure (O. Theodore, 1999).

Commonly green roof is composed of simply at least two layers: the vegetation itself and the media or substrate within which they are growing. In addition most commercial green roof systems will also consisted of five or six components including, above the roof deck: a waterproof membrane, a protective layer, the growing medium, vegetation materials, and irrigation system. (D. Nigel and K. Noel, 2004 ).

Many of the problems associated with green roofs are a result from the faulty installation of one or more of the layers during the construction works and careless maintenance practices (D. Nigel and K. Noel , 2004 ).

Illustration of Roof Garden.
Section Of Typical Roof Garden
( Source : )

Same with other roof on which it is to built, a roof garden is constructed in layers and the garden is in turn intimately connected to the roof. The roof top garden should include at least 4 essential component layers such as plantings, paving, furnishings and water features or sculpture. Once the design has been determined, installation is the key concern. The failure when installing the roof top garden component can cause significant damage to building and make it costly to repair it back. The importance thing that we should consider is choosing the highest quality of materials.


Basically, roof garden can be separate into two type of roof garden that is intensive and extensive green roof. The differences between two types of roof garden are their visual appearance and in the amount of maintenance they may require, fundamentally, the division exists because of their relative overall weights.

Extensive gardens require minimal maintenance and behave as another from of roofing material. They are not intended for heavy foot traffic nor do they need to meet any additional safety standards. The intensive gardens created with the intent of active human use. These gardens require landscaping and regular upkeep. The intensive gardens may also need to comply with safety regulations regarding decks and public areas on raised structures. These regulations may require some kind of fencing or barrier to be installed with the intent of preventing people from slipping over the edge of the roofline. (source :

The consideration that we need before choosing the type of roof garden is possible, therefore, relates directly to be load-bearing capacity of the roof structure of the building.

According to D. Nigel and K. Noel (2004), when calculating loading, “it must be remembered that the weight of green roof materials will vary greatly depending on how compacted and how moist they are” (page 59). Saturated weights of materials will indicate their maximum loading. The existing roofs measures can be taken to give additional support if necessary. Strengthen the roof with strategically placed additional structural components such as columns, beams and braces. Place the heaviest components of the roof on or near column heads and over beams. We should consider system that attach the green roof to wall or on small structures, such as garage or outbuilding, or consider constructing a framework around the building that enables the green roof to sit clear of the existing roof.

The typical loadings of extensive green roof system range from 80 to 150 kg per square meter. This is in contrast to typical intensive green roof loadings of 300 to 1000 kg per square meter or more (D. Nigel and K. Noel, 2004).

Table 1: Typical Loadings
80 – 150 / sqmc -----------300 – 1000 / sqm

( Source : D. Nigel and K. Noel, (2004), “Planting Green Roof and Living Walls”, Timber Press Inc, Portland, Oregon, USA.)


Slippage is the major problem when we are talking about green roof sloped. Basically no green roofs avoid having a fabric membrane or membrane interface for example, at root barriers and sheet drains. Without additional slope stabilization measures, it is unwise to design green roofs for slopes steeper than 2:12, which equals around 9.5o or 17% slope (D. Nigel and K. Noel, 2004).

A Wooden Grid Provides Further Stabilization. We can solve this problem by the use of horizontal strapping, laths, battens, or grids. Finally by using these methods, green roof can readily be constructed on pitches up to 7:12 which equal 30o or 58% but to build on steeper than that we should use special media mixes and specialize devices.


Structural engineers divide loads into two categories: “dead loads” and “live loads”.
The Dead Load- Refers to the weight of the weight of the roof structure itself and any permanent functional element.
The Live Load- Includes element such as human occupant, rain, maintenance equipment and other items of a transient nature.

Component of eco roof assert that these systems lightweight generally requires little additional load bearing capacity from most buildings structural systems, and in some cases may be installed on existing buildings with no structural modification.

The green roofing system manufacturers that suggest that extensive landscape systems need not be heavier than gravel covering used on some roofs. According o Kolb’s article in Anthos, a German are covered with gravel (approximately 5cm), which has a load about 100 kg / m2. Using this load as guideline for an extensive system, Kolb suggests that many gravel roofs might be greened, without additional load reserves.


According to D. Nigel and K. Noel (2004) in their book “Planting Green Roof and Living Walls”, structures on roofs have to withstand high wind uplift because of their exposed position. This pressure varies across the surface of a flat roof, being relatively low in centre and at its most extreme near the edges and corners.
The layer of a green roof are therefore vulnerable o wind shear, particularly if the waterproofing layer is not bonded to the roof beneath and the green roof itself is acting as ballast to hold it down (D. Nigel and K. Noel, 2004).

Selecting Plant And Other Roof Garden Element.

Nevertheless, a strip of gravel, stones or pavers around the edge of the roof and used vegetation barriers, preventing damage by plants to the edges of the roof where the waterproofing layer rises above the surface of the growing medium.


According to D. Nigel and K. Noel (2004), it has four main irrigation methods are used on green roofs that is:-

1. Surface spray with traditional systems. These are wasteful of water and can also encourage surface rooting which is vulnerable to extreme temperatures and moisture stress.
2. Drip and tube systems. These can either be pegged to the surface or buried in the substrate.

3. Capillary systems. Porous mats deliver water to the base of the substrate and are ideal for shallower a system, that is 20cm or less.

4. Standing water systems. These systems maintain a layer of water at the base of the roof.

Typical Irrigation For Roof Garden.



The main function of the components or layers of green roof are include weatherproofing of the roof, protecting the roof surface from root penetration and damage, drainage, and the support and growth of the vegetation layer.

Section of Typical Extensive Green Roof Component.
(Source: D. Nigel and K. Noel, (2004), “Planting Green Roof and Living Walls”, Timber Press Inc, Portland, Oregon, USA.)-Page 65

Section of Typical Intensive Green Roof Component.

Source : (


Basically, there are 3 types of membrane we are using know that are the built-up roof (most commonly encountered and are composed of the familiar bitumen / asphalt roofing felt or bitumized fabrics), single-ply membrane (rolled sheets of inorganic or synthetic rubber material that are overlapped at the joints and sealed with heat, in the case of thermoplastic materials such as PVC) and the fluid-applied membrane (available in hot or cold liquid form that is sprayed or painted on to the surface of the roof and forms a complete seal when set, eliminating the problem of joints).

An effective waterproof seal to the roof is an essential prerequisite for all green roofs, and the importance of making sure this is effective and durable cannot be overstated (D. Nigel and K. Noel, 2004).


If the membrane on a roof upon which a green roof is to be installed contains bitumen, asphalt or any other organic material, it is crucial that a continuous separation is maintain between the membrane and the plant layer because the membrane will be susceptible to root penetration and the activity of micro-organisms- these organic oil based materials are not root proof. If the roof is not completely flat, then any pockets off collecting water can also form he basis of plant growth on a roof – again there be protection from roof damage (D. Nigel and K. Noel, 2004).

Balancing act of costs and benefits are main ecologist issues if we are talking about root protection barrier. Meanwhile some of commercial systems are based upon plastic base plate or metal because that form are a complete underlying structure to the green roof and isolate and raise the green roof completely from the underlying roof structure.

The membrane sheets are welded together to form a complete seal -it is essential that the welding is effective because any gaps or weaknesses will be exploited by the plant roots (D. Nigel and K. Noel, 2004).


Proper drainage is an importance thing when installing the roof garden. To maintain the drainage we should look to a several reason, which is: the protection of waterproof of roof membrane, precipitation falling onto a green roof and green roofs turn our normal interpretation of rainfall runoff on its head.

Drainage can be achieved in several ways. These techniques relate mainly to flat or very slightly sloping roofs. Where there is a more definite slope, which is, 5o or greater, drainage may effective without specific drainage layers. Combining a drainage layer with a water storage layer below it not only further reduces runoff compared to roof greening systems without such layer, by 11% to 17%, but acts as a reservoir for plants to draw upon in dry weather (D. Nigel and K. Noel, 2004).

The main types of drainage material are granular material (Coarse granular materials such as gravel, stone chips, broken clay tiles, scoria (lava rock), pumice, expanded shale or expanded clay granules, contain large amount of air or pore space between them when packed together in a layer or space), porous mats ( which operate similar way to horticultural capillary matting, act like sponges, absorbing water into their structure), and lightweight plastic or polystyrene drainage modules ( these modules vary tremendously In design and appearance and most sheets are thinner than 25mm).

Irrigation Lines Are Run Through Channels.
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A new designed of drainage medium are stronger, easily handled and cut, very lightweight drainage layer for roof gardens and planters of all kinds. Below grade, it protected from ultra violet light, it is permanent and highly efficient drainage medium (O. Theodore, 1999).

The ideal substrate has to achieve the seemingly miraculous combination of being highly efficient at absorbing and retaining water while at the same time having free-draining properties. Substrate should be able to provide anchorage for the plants of the green roof. The ideal growing medium will comprise 30-40% substrate and 60-70% pore space. This will ensure good moisture retention capacity as well as aeration to the roots of the plants. If the pore space is saturated on along term basis, that is, continuously less than 15% of the substrate containing air filled pore space, then poor plant growth will result (D. Nigel and K. Noel, 2004).

For plant growth artificial soils can be superior to many natural soils provided they ate tailored for the specific type of vegetation they are to support. Artificially produced materials that have been used include vermiculite and perlite – both forms of heated and expanded mineral formed into granules. These are both extremely lightweight but it also have disadvantages in that they must be mixed with other materials because they cannot store nutrients and water and the particles of vermiculite tend to collapse aver time (D. Nigel and K. Noel, 2004).

Some Materials Used As A Basis For Green Roof Substrates.

Natural Minerals
1) Sand
2) Lava (scoria) and Pumice
3) Gravel

Artificial Minerals
1) Perlite
2) Vermiculite
3) Light expanded clay granules (LECA) Expanded shale
4) Rockwool

Recycled Materials
1) Crushed clay tiles, brick rubble
2) Crushed concrete
3) Subsoil


System Provide Drainage and Root-Zone Airflow.
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1) Drainage Design - Water flows gravitationally through the modular system to the waterproofing layer and out to the roof drains.
2) Protection- The network of modules provides protection of the roof membrane during construction and maintenance activity from mechanical damage.
3) Weight- Eliminates gravel drainage medium typical of traditional intensive gardens. This is significant weight and labor savings.
4) Appropriate Soils- Each module can contain a totally distinct plant media thereby allowing the landscape architect maximum flexibility in the selection of plants.
5) Environment- Airflow beneath the root zone through the pallet channels develops deeper root structure and healthier plants.
6) Roof Membrane Repair- If there is leak in the roof membrane; modules can be easily removed and replaced later after leak fixed with minimal disruption to the garden.
7) Flexibility- The garden can be built off site and installed quickly upon completion of roof.


The problems to construct the green roof can be divided into 4 that are:
1) People Thinking
Nowadays, in Malaysia the green roof concept not very famous or familiar with people in this country. The green roof is a new phenomenon that we start to learned. Unfortunately, people still weird to talk about roof garden and stick with idea garden only can provide / develop at ground level.
2) Promotion
That is because lack of knowledge about green roof and lack of promotion to design our roof. However green roof are specified by professional with limited plant knowledge, whether they be landscape architect or horticulturist. Many of landscape architect in Malaysia today not really knows about green roof and they can’t propose green roof into their design.
3) Budget
To built a green roof basically we should have a lot of money and the budget is the main constrain to built the green roof. The planting green roof is often the most neglected aspect of the whole installation process. This may be result of budget limitations.
4) Law And Regulation
Malaysia have their own guideline to built green roof but the guideline not very completely show the importance of green roof as part as the way to control Urban Heat Island (UHI). The statement in that guideline only based on design of roof top garden and no explanation the importance to built green roof.
5) Policy
Government should give subsidize to encourage the building owner to built roof top garden on their building.

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