SAN JOSE, Calif., July 17 (UPI) -- A high-tech "smart village" built in Malaysia is a potential global template for addressing rural poverty in a sustainable environment, experts say.
Built northeast of Kuala Lumpur, Rimbunan Kaseh consists of 100 affordable homes with high-tech educational, training and recreational facilities, and a closed-loop agricultural system designed to provide both food and supplementary income for villagers, attendees at a meeting in San Jose, Calif., of the Global Science and Innovation Advisory Council heard.
The council consists of international and Malaysian experts in sustainable development.
The village includes an aquaculture system to raise tilapia, a fish that provides a source of affordable protein. Fish tank wastewater is then used to irrigate trees, grain fields and crops.
In addition to access to reliable food supplies, the system allows villagers to augment their monthly income by an estimated $400 to $650, experts said.
The village's energy-efficient homes of about 1,000 square feet take about 10 days to construct at a cost of about $16,000 to $20,000.
Malaysia is looking to repeat the smart village initiative at as many as 12 sites in the near future, a release from the Malaysian Industry-Government Group on High Technology, or MIGHT, said.
"This model offers a great opportunity to create holistic change for people in the worse circumstances in Malaysia and other nations as well," said Ellis Rubinstein of the New York Academy of Sciences, which is affiliated with the council along with MIGHT.
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