Concluding notes

In a world disintegrating in seemingly intractable divisions, conflicts and self-righteously justified hatreds, authors believe the topics covered in this book are immensely important. Kuala Lumpur urban spaces are relatively less scholarly addressed than their equivalent in other Southeast Asian cities; however, Kuala Lumpur and its metropolitan region are extremely interesting because of its demographic and spatial diversity. Malaysian political culture is similarly ingrained in the issues firmly rooted in ethnic and religious diversity of the country. Ethnicity continues to be a vital factor politically and socially; religions, as the book discussed, have severe economic consequences.

It is important to remember that in the recent history of Malaysia, the British and Dutch colonial administration systems had entered into agreements as well as the embeddedness of Malaysian Islam. The robust theoretical framework in this book gives the reader an intellectual tools to investigate KLMR's built environment, its legal, religious and political systems as well as the dominant cultural imagination. The book suggests to (re)read KLMR as the stage of constant dialogue and renegotiation. It also introduces a theoretical perspective focused on the socio-material dialectic of segregation/interaction between different communities in the metropolitan region. Following this perspective, every built element of KLMR should be seen as the particular stage for the creation of the ‘communities of a higher-order’ through the interaction with urban materiality. The book acknowledges a high level of fragmentation of KLMR, but at the same moment discusses possibilities and existing practices of inclusivity beyond just political slogans and educational campaigns.

The book argues that elements of urban infrastructure could work as an essential mediator ‘beyond community’, allowing inclusive urban social structures to be built, despite different cultural and religious tensions. Based on empirical study, it explores how different communities use the same spaces and shared elements of infrastructure in K.L according to a theoretical framework accounting for both western and Islamic conceptualisations of the idea of community.

This book is framed by relational methodological perspectives (STS/ANT), which are very strongly focused on the materiality of the researched subject (built environment and its users). The theoretical framework gives readers intellectual tools to connect investigations of three different phenomena—built environment, legal system and cultural imagination—but a new theoretical conceptualisation is also an essential outcome of the book, contributing to the broader discussion on urban infrastructure and the multi-cultural, not western city. The book attempts to question conventional Western urban narratives and open paths to decolonise urban theoretical engagement.

By locating the subject of this book outside Europe, in a globalised, post-colonial and predominantly Muslim city, the book aims to contribute to the decolonised reflection on public spaces and urban infrastructure. Understanding the mechanisms of social cohesion is of urgent importance not only for policymakers, but also for urban designers, urban planners and other practitioners working in the built environment. Though limited to one city, this book aims to contribute towards the creation of more inclusive places in other multi-ethnic, multi-cultural and multi-religious communities. As well, the content of the book should provide an essential basis for planners and designers to design urban places in the city based on an understanding of the socio-political dimension of the KLMR. its urbanisation process and the historical perspectives of the people and places.

The book demonstrates that KLMR is undergoing a massive property-led redevelopment and rapidly transforming from an inclusive city to a global urban environment characterised by social polarisation and increased number of utopian private exclusive communities. However, there is a strong inclination among the urban community, especially the ethnic Malays, to retain local traditions by attaining public spaces for events such as religious festivities, weddings, social gatherings, and for activities, including outdoor eating and open food markets. It is a challenge for all local authorities in the metropolitan region to ensure that this good practice of everyday urbanism is continued in the future.

The content of the book oscillates between highly theoretical reflection on elements of Western, Islamic and Chinese urban and political theory and discussions on particular case studies and research done in KLMR. The ambition of the book is to provide limited (the format of the book series is relatively compact) but comprehensive description

Concluding notes 119 of the city and suggest a diverse set of narratives how the city could be read and interpreted. The book is not providing any ultimate conclusions; it is not a manual on how to create an inclusive K.LMR. However, authors believe that it gives a set of tools to understand better and to engage more in-depth into the process of making KLMR a better place. Authors believe K.L gives a unique opportunity to intellectually test new urban narratives, to speculate about diverse, inclusive city rooted in non-Western (or not-only-Western) traditions. Kuala Lumpur and its surrounding urban conurbation is not that city (yet), as authors discussed in the book—the current form of the city seems less inclusive than it was at the beginning of independent Malaysia. Despite this, authors believe that the new form of inclusivity is slowly emerging in the city, and the book gives intellectual tools to help understand how this (radical) inclusivity could be achieved.

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