Lodan Report: Private to Public

Kampung Lodan, Kerapu and Tongkol are 3 riverside villages situated in the north of Jakarta. Shrink-thinking is deeply embedded within the spirit of their people. We’ve visited the community to learn about some of the more practical sides of smaller.

When the inhabitants of the Ciliwung communities arrived in Jakarta in the 60’s and 70’s nobody wanted to live on the dirty, unhealthy river banks that flooded regularly. But the new arrivals had no choice and built their tiny homes right up to the river’s edge. Thirty perhaps forty years later the city governor decided that people could not live along the river because of safety and other reasons (mostly because by now the prices of land had risen considerably). He decided homes were not allowed within 5 meters of the water. The new policy creates an existential threat to the closely knit Ciliwung communities. Most of them were born along the Ciliwung. They work there and are reluctant to move to the new housing projects the government has made available. The inspiration is how they reacted. Rather than leave the communities in the 3 kampungs decided to ’shrink’ their homes by repositioning the front of their house 5 meters from the river’s edge. In the process they gave up more than half of their already small houses. As a result of this creative shrink gesture 5 meters of private space became public space. Public space to meet each other, public space to grow vegetables and fruits, public space to cook and do the dishes (as most inside kitchens became so small one could hardly move in them), and public space for strengthening a sense of community. When something shrinks, something grows.

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