LANDED properties are a rarity nowadays as far as new developments are concerned.
With the shortage of land in the Klang Valley, apartments are built and many city folks have to live in these low- or high-rise units despite many yearning a home with a garden of their own.
Alas, many of the gardens and recreational areas in the apartment premises offer a dull view and lacking in facilities.However, this is not the case for residents of Damansara Damai, Petaling Jaya.
Their surroundings have, one can safely say, too many recreational facilities for the young and old.
Each apartment block has its own mini-playground and a par course, besides a community hall.
Some blocks even have swimming pools and multi-storey halls for recreational fun.
As if these aren't enough, there are four urban parks with playground and other recreational facilities in a forest-like surrounding.
"It is a good place for us to go to for walks during the weekend or in the evenings," said Hanifah Abdul Latiff, a resident since 2003.
He added that he and his family would go for regular walk in the neighbourhood urban parks on weekend or in the evening.
"The park is a good place to relax, especially for nature lover.
"Most of his friends are surprised with what the township offers," said Hanifah, adding that his friends thought that it would be a concrete jungle.
The friends are usually surprised to discover the number of parks in that area.
The four designated urban parks add up to 19.4 ha or so, covering 12% of the township total land area.
Open to its residents and the public from 7am to 7pm, the parks are mainly secondary forests that have been incorporated into the township.
The developer has allocated about RM5mil for creating this green environment with the assistance and advice from the Forest Research Institute of Malaysia.
It is part of the developer's plan to encourage a healthy lifestyle among the residents.
Each park offers a different terrain and caters to different levels of fitness. Walking in the urban park is a sight and sound treat.
There is even a tree house in the middle of the park with walking and jogging tracks along the parks. Other parks feature long canopy walkway and 1.5km cycling track for off-road enthusiasts.
There are also rangers in the parks.
Another resident, Ahmad Kamal Daud said he too, was attracted by the neighbourhood.
He said the design and facilities made the area look exclusive, despite the affordable prices.
He added that although he and his family are staying at a low-cost apartment, they enjoy facilities similar to those in medium-cost apartments.
"Our home costs only RM42,000. Our block has a multi-purpose hall with shops and the school is within walking distance.
"I do not feel like I am staying at a low-cost apartment at all," said the father of three.
Some of the residents get together in the evenings for badminton matches or religious functions at the surau or mosque.
They also advocate a kampung-like community by practising good neighbourliness, like helping each other during kenduri or events.
Built by Medan Prestasi Sdn Bhd, a subsidiary of MK Land Holdings, Damansara Damai is a mixed development project offering affordable homes.
Despite that, it offers a healthy living and green environment for the residents.
"A neighbourhood which is a blend of both city and nature is hard to come by, as more and more housing estates in and around the Klang Valley resemble concrete jungles with houses chock-a-block and high-rise buildings and very little greenery.
"But it is different here," said Ahmad, adding that the neighbourhood is an enclosed community with ample facilities for the residents.
Most of the residents bought the property because of the location. All of the phases are self-contained with shops and key facilities.
Located north of Petaling Jaya and adjoining Bandar Sri Damansara, this privatised leasehold housing scheme will comprise about 20,000 housing and commercial units.
The project completion is expected by 2007.
For now, Damansara Damai is accessible via the North-South Expressway, Damansara Puchong Highway, the New Klang Valley Expressway, Penchala Link and the Middle Ring Road II.
It has its own primary and secondary school complex, a mosque, occupied shops and offices, petrol station, fast-food outlet, police base with several major bus services plying the route.