Lodan Report: Private to Public

Kampung Lodan, Kampung Kerapu and Kampung Tongkol are three  villages situated in the north of Jakarta on the banks of the Ciliwung river. Because the land along the Ciliwung was, and still is, subjected to regular flooding it was never a popular place to live. Yet in the 1960’s and 70’s several hundred families, having no choice, came there and built thriving communities right up unto the river’s edge.

However, recently the city government decided that because of health and safety reasons buildings were not allowed to exist within 5 meters of the river bank. The new policy created an existential threat to the Ciliwung communities since most people had homes that were at least in part in the now illegal locations. For some this meant a painful relocation far away from the communities they’d been part of for 40 or 50 years. But that’s where the story takes an inspiring turn. Rather than leave most people within the community decided to ’shrink’ their properties and give up 5 meters of the already modestly sized homes thus defusing the governments arguments for having to leave by shrinking private space.  What had once been walls between neighbours now became a narrow strip of public space. A boulevard of sorts, not only allowing for the people within the community to more regularly meet each other, but as a place to grow vegetables and fruits, keep pigeons as well as develop a new public display of otherwise relatively private activities like cooking, washing and doing the dishes.