Lodan Report: Private to Public

Kampung Lodan, Kampung Kerapu and Kampung Tongkol are three riverside villages situated in the north of Jakarta. Shrink-thinking is deeply embedded within the spirit of their people.

When the inhabitants of the Ciliwung river communities arrived in Jakarta in the 60’s and 70’s nobody wanted to live on the dirty, unhealthy river banks which flooded regularly. But the new arrivals had no choice, adapted to circumstance and built their small unofficial settlements right up to the river’s edge. They prospered and became close-knit thriving communities until the city government recently decided that because of health and safety reasons homes were not allowed be build within 5 meters of the river. The new policy created an existential threat to the Ciliwung communities. Most are reluctant to move to the new housing projects the government has made available. So rather than leave, the communities decided to ’shrink’ their homes and give up more than half of their already small houses. Surprisingly, as a result of this creative shrink gesture, what had been walls between neighbours now turned into a narrow strip of public space. Public space to meet each other, public space to grow vegetables and fruits, public space to cook, wash and do the dishes, and public space for strengthening the community. When something shrinks, something also grows.

  • Share/Bookmark