Elevated Highways and its Lost Spaces: A Review of Kuala Lumpur’s seldom seen


  • Mohamed Ikhwan Nasir Mohamed Anuar Universiti Teknologi MARA Puncak Alam Campus Malaysia
  • Raziah Ahmad Universiti Teknologi MARA Puncak Alam Campus Malays




Elevated Highways, Interstitial Spaces, Lost Spaces, Possible Usage, Landscape Architecture


The development of the urban highway in and around the city has created vast quantities of left over spaces that seldom integrated into formal planning and design. Vague on purpose, the interstitial spaces formed from these concrete “rivers” are referred as lost spaces. This paper aims to explore the urban interstices and investigate its possible usage. Site observation and photographic recordings of a case study were employed. The site characteristics were recorded in which findings suggested that the interstitial spaces have the potential to be planned and designed to cater adjacent community needs and usage.


Akinci, Y. C., Demir, S., & Demirel, O. (2016). Landscape Architecture and Creating Innovative Spaces under Highway Overpasses. In book: Environmental Sustainability and Landscape Management, Chapter: 1, Publisher: ST. Kliment Ohridski University Press, Editors: Recep Efe, İsa Cürebal, Abdalla Gad, Brigitta Tóth, pp.1-10

Angel, S. & D. Civco. (2012) The fragmentation of urban landscapes: global evidence of a key attribute of the spatial structure of cities, 1990–2000. Environment and Urbanization 24 (1):249-283

Barter, P., (2004). Transport, urban structure and ‘lock-in' in the Kuala Lumpur Metropolitan Area. International Development Planning Review, 26(1), pp.1-24.

Biesecker, C. (2015). Designing urban underhighway spaces. PhD dissertation, University of Georgia.

Bjarke Ingels Group, (2011). Slussen, Social Infrastructure. In T. Hauck, R. Keller, & V. Kleinekort (Eds.), Infrastructural Urbanism Addressing the In- between (pp. 241). Berlin: DOM Publishers.

Brandão A. L. & Brandão P. (2017). Public Space, Infrastructure, Landscape: an interdisciplinary matrix for urban spatial continuity, The Journal of Public Space, 2(1), 123-134, DOI: 10.5204/jps.v2i1.55

Bürgi, M., Hersperger, A. M., & Schneeberger, N. (2005). Driving forces of landscape change-current and new directions. Landscape ecology, 19(8), 857-868.

Canters, K. (1997). Habitat fragmentation and infrastructure: proceedings of the International Conference,'Habitat Fragmentation, Infrastructure and the Role of Ecological Engineering': 17-21 September 1995, Maastricht-The Hague, The Netherlands. In Habitat Fragmentation, Infrastructure and the Role of Ecological Engineering, Conference, 1995, Maastricht and The Hague, Netherlands.

Clements, G. R. (2013). The environmental and social impacts of roads in Southeast Asia (Doctoral dissertation, James Cook University).

Carmona, M. (2010). Public Places, Urban Spaces: The Dimensions of Urban Design. Routledge.

Crisman, P. 2009. Inhabiting the in-between: architecture and infrastructure intertwined. Site Out of Mind. University of Virginia School of architectures.

Dasimah, O. 2001. New towns development and the quality of life in Malaysia. Sixth Southeast Asian Geographers SEAGA 6 Conference.

Doron, G. (2000). The dead zone and the architecture of transgression. City, 4, 2 247-263

Engwicht, D. (1999). Street Reclaiming: Creating Livable Streets and Vibrant Communities. Philadelphia, PA: New Society Publishers.

Forman, R. T., Sperling, D., Bissonette, J. A., Clevenger, A. P., Cutshall, C. D., Dale, V. H., & Winter, T. C. (2003). Road Ecology: Science and Solutions. Island Press.

Franck, K. A. (2011). Occupying the Edge and the Underneath- “Other” Urban Public Spaces. In T. Hauck, R. Keller, & V. Kleinekort (Eds.), Infrastructural Urbanism Addressing the In- between (pp. 117–129). Berlin: DOM Publishers.

Lerup, L. (2000) After the City. MIT Press, Boston.

Gee, T.M., ( 2002). Jalan, Jalan: Invading, destroying and reconstructing the Southeast Asian city. Bijdragen tot de Taal-, Land-en Volkenkunde, 158(4), pp.637-652.

Gullick, J. M. (2000). A history of Kuala Lumpur 1857-1939. Petaling Jaya, Selangor Darul Ehsan, Malaysia: Falcon Press.

Halprin, L. (1966). Freeways. New York: Reinhold Publishing Co.

Hamersma, M., Heinen, E., Tillema, T. & Arts, J., (2017). The development of highway nuisance perception: Experiences of residents along the Southern Ring Road in Groningen, The Netherlands. Land Use Policy, 61, pp.553-563.

Harnack, M., & Kohler, M. (2011). As found. Use, meaning and re-appropriation of contentious urban spaces. Infrastructural urbanism–Addressing the in-between, 131-144.

Hauck, T. & Kleinekort, V. (2011). Infrastructural Urbanism. In T. Hauck, R. Keller, & V. Kleinekort (Eds.), Infrastructural Urbanism Addressing the In- between (pp. 9-17). Berlin: DOM Publishers.

Hauck , T. (2011). Burnside and DIY Skatepark Movement, In T. Hauck, R. Keller, & V. Kleinekort (Eds.), Infrastructural Urbanism Addressing the In- between (pp. 171-180). Berlin: DOM Publishers.

Hormigo, P. & Morita, T., (2004). Urban gapscapes: problems and opportunities in urban design analysis of gap spaces originated by elevated railways. Journal of Asian Architecture and Building Engineering, 3(1), pp.181-188.

Jaffe, E. (2015). Reviving the Dead Space Under Elevated Structures. https://www.citylab.com/design/2015/06/bringing-the-dead-spaces-under-an-elevated-back-to-life/396236/. Latest accessed 25/08/2017

Jane, J. (1961). The Death and Life of Great American Cities. New-York, NY: Vintage.

Lawson, W. (2017). The Woman Who saved New York City From Superhighway Hell. https://www.vanityfair.com/culture/2017/04/jane-jacobs-citizen-jane-documentary. : Latest accessed 25/08/2017

Marshall, C. (2016). Story of cities #50. The Reclaimed Stream Bringing Life to the Heart of Seoul. https://www.theguardian.com/cities/2016/may/25/story-cities-reclaimed-stream-heart-seoul-cheonggyecheon. Latest accessed 25/08/2017

Merrilees, B., Miller, D., & Herrington. C. (2013). City Branding: A Facilitating Framework for Stressed Satellite Cities. Journal of Business Research 66. Pp 37-44

Meyer, W. B., and B. L. Turner II. 1994. Changes in land use and land cover: a global perspective. Cambridge University Press, Cambridge, UK.

Mohamad, J. & Kiggundu, A.T., (2007). The rise of the private car in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia: Assessing the policy options. IATSS research, 31(1), pp.69-77.

Mossop, E. (2006). Landscapes of Infrastructure. In The Landscape Urbanism Reader (pp. 163-178). New York: Princeton Architectural Press.

National Research Council. ( 2002). Surface Transportation Environmental Research: A Long- Term Strategy. National Academy Press, Washington, D.C., USA.

Nor, A. (2001). Urban development and the need for highways: assessing social impacts of bisected communities in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, National Geographical Conference 2001, Department of Geography, University of Malaya, Kuala Lumpur.

Pelan Struktur Kuala Lumpur (2020). Dewan Bandaraya Kuala Lumpur. www.dbkl.gov.my/pskl2020/.

Prasetyo, F.A. & Martin-Iverson, S., (2015). Playing under the fly over A collaborative creative community in Bandung. Procedia-Social and Behavioral Sciences, 184, pp.30-39.

Pu Miao, (1990). Seven Characteristics of Traditional Urban Form in Southeast China. chrome-extension://oemmndcbldboiebfnladdacbdfmadadm/http://iaste.berkeley.edu/pdfs/01.2d-Spr90miao-sml.pdf. Latest accessed 25/08/2017

Qamaruz-Zaman, N., Samadi, Z., & Azhari, N.F.N. 2013. Under the flyovers of Kuala Lumpur: User centred activities in leftover spaces. Journal of Asian Behaviour Studies, 3(10), 89-103.

Rico, E. (2011) The Role of Infrastructural Landscape Within the Image of the City. In Infrastructural Urbanism: Addressing the In-Between. DOM Publishers, Berlin.

Roloff, J. (2011). I-5 Colonnade park. In T. Hauck, R. Keller, & V. Kleinekort (Eds.), Infrastructural Urbanism Addressing the In- between (1st ed., pp.145-158) Berlin: DOM Publishers.

Sahabuddin, M. F. (2011). “Density form and transportation.” inspired by ‘what is lost space’ (Roger Trancik, 1986). The University of Edinburgh. Edinburgh School of Architecture and Landscape Architecture (ESALA).

Sola-Morales, I. R. (1995) Terrain Vague. In Anyplace. Cambridge. MA. MIT Press.

Samuel, P. (2006). Innovative Roadway Design: Making Highways More Likeable. Policy Study 348, Los Angeles: Reason Foundation. http://www.reason.org/ps348.pdf. Latest accessed 25/08/2017

Sanches, P.M. & Pellegrino, P.R.M., (2016). Greening potential of derelict and vacant lands in urban areas. Urban Forestry & Urban Greening, 19, pp.128-139.

Shoaib, H. & El Gendy, N., (2013). Infrastructures: possibilities and potentials in reclaiming public space. Democratic Transition and Sustainable Communities, p.365.

Souma, R. (2008) When a city embraces its paradoxes: exploring the potential of public spaces under elevated highways: a case study in Bourj Hammoud, Beirut. Master’s Thesis. Wageningen University. Wageningen, Netherlands.

Sustainable Cities Institute (2016). Planning urban infill, http://www.sustainablecitiesinstitute.org/topics/ land-use-and-planning/urban-infill-and-brownfields- redevelopment, last accessed 12 April 2016

The City of Sacramento (2016). ‘Infill’, http://www.cityof- sacramento.org/Community-Development/Planning/ Long-Range/Infill.

Trancik, R. (1986). Finding Lost Space; Theories of Urban Design. New York: Van Nostrand Reinhold.

UN Habitat. (2016). World Cities Report 2016. UN-Habitat, Nairobi

Wall, E. (2011) Infrastructural Form, Interstitial Spaces and Informal Acts. In Infrastructural Urbanism: Addressing the In-Between. DOM Publishers, Berlin.

Wolch, J. R., Byrne, J., & Newell, J. P. (2014). Urban green space, public health, and environmental justice: The challenge of making cities ‘just green enough’. Landscape and Urban Planning, 125, 234-244.



How to Cite

Mohamed Anuar, M. I. N., & Ahmad, R. (2017). Elevated Highways and its Lost Spaces: A Review of Kuala Lumpur’s seldom seen. Environment-Behaviour Proceedings Journal, 2(6), 279-291. https://doi.org/10.21834/e-bpj.v2i6.966