For every production to occur, next there must be a stage. The stage is the site. It was first developed by the British on the former 486 hectares Effingham Estate, as an answer to the problem of overpopulation in Kuala Lumpur in 1952 and has since witnessed a dramatic growth in terms of population size and geographical importance. The development of Petaling Jaya commenced in 1952 with the construction of 800 houses centered around the area currently known as “Old Town” today. Lieutenant-General Sir Gerald Templer (then the British High Commissioner of Malaya and Petaling District council chairman) planned for Petaling Jaya to be a satellite town to prevent people from assisting the communists and the earlier housing areas were all fenced up.
The first two main roads built in Petaling Jaya were simply called "Jalan 1" or Road 1 and "Jalan 2" or Road 2. Road 1 was later named Jalan Templer while Road 2 was named Jalan Othman. Until the end of 1953, the town was administered by the Kuala Lumpur District Officer. The Petaling Jaya Town Authority headed by Mr. N.A.J. Kennedy commenced administrating Petaling Jaya in 1954. On 24 August 1959, Encik Abdul Aziz bin Haji Mohd Ali became the first Malayan to head the PJ Authority. Administratively and historically, it was considered part of Kuala Lumpur. However, Petaling Jaya ceased to be part of Kuala Lumpur when the latter became a Federal Territory on February 1, 1972. It then became a township in its own right within the state of Selangor. PJ South (also known as PJS), from Section 8 until PJ Old Town, had the first settlements, which were established around 1953.
As development progressed, PJ North, located on the other side of the Federal Highway, was developed. The first shopping complex in Petaling Jaya – Jaya Shopping Centre (better known as Jaya Supermarket) – was built in 1974 in Section 14. On 1 January 1977, the Petaling Jaya Town Authority was upgraded to become Petaling Jaya Municipal Council or Majlis Perbandaran Petaling Jaya (MPPJ). Petaling Jaya progressed rapidly due to the massive rural-urban migration. As more people from rural areas immigrated, Sungai Way and Subang districts along with new areas such as Subang Jaya, Seksyen 52 (New Town or colloquially known as State; the name of the first, former cinema in the area) developed in areas under the jurisdiction of the municipality. Eventually, in a boundary realignment exercise in early 1997, parts of Petaling Jaya such as Subang Jaya, Sunway, Puchong and USJ were placed under the jurisdiction of the newly formed Subang Jaya Municipal Council or MPSJ. Petaling Jaya also acts as one of the centre hubs of Klang Valley (comprising of Kuala Lumpur, Petaling Jaya, Shah Alam, Subang Jaya and surrounding areas) for industry. True to its name "Jaya" (Malay for success), Petaling Jaya quickly became the most prosperous municipality in Selangor.