'Smart Village' Sets Example for Poverty Relief

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A model village in Mayalsia is changing the way communities tackle poverty. Rimbunan Kaseh, a rural village sitting on 30 acres of land near Kuala Lumpur, was built to serve as an example of how to address rural poverty issues by promoting environmental sustainability with technology. The project was detailed at this year's Global Science and Innovation Advisory Council meeting in San Jose, Calif. The GSIAC is made up of international leaders from several countries to find ways to build sustainability and a stronger economy for the Asian country.

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The community offers education, training and recreational facilities, as well as 100 affordable post- consumer material built homes, selling from $16,000 to $20,000. A closed-loop agriculture system is a big part of the community, providing food and income for its residents. ‘Closed loop’ means that everything in the community is inter-connected, for example: An aqua-culture system raises fish for a protein-rich food supply, waste from the fishtanks is then used to irrigate plants to grow fresh produce. The produce is grown in hydroponic pots that can detect soil moisture, which makes it easer to water plants accurately without wasting water. All of these processes come together to provide reliable food supply and augment resident’s income by $400 to $650 a month. Sustainability is also supported with the communities solar power capabilities, biomass energy and mini-hydro electricity.

Ribunan Kaseh offers everything typical communities do like schools, playgrounds and places of worship, with a high-tech twist. Educational facilities are equipped with 4G Internet service that supports e-learning and e-health services. Ellis Rubenstein, President and CEO of the New York Academy of Sciences, said at the GSIAC meeting, “Integrated smart communities could transform services available to Malaysia's citizenry while creating thousands of jobs, complementing GSIAC's unprecedented alliance to improve education in that country at every level from cradle to career.”

More “smart villages” are planned for the area, with up to 12 sites in the near future. While it’s centralized to Malaysia for now, this example could set a new precedent in creating change for people experiencing poverty all over the world.

Credit: MiGHT