Lodan Report: Private to Public

October 19, 2017 By arne hendriks Off

Kampung Lodan, Kampung Kerapu and Kampung Tongkol are three villages situated on the banks of the Ciliwung river in the sinking Indonesian city of Jakarta. Because the river beds along the Ciliwung were, and increasingly are, subjected to regular flooding it was never a popular place to live. Nonetheless, in the 1960’s and 70’s hundreds of families that didn’t really have a choice built thriving communities right up to the river’s edge.

In the mid 2010’s the city government (perhaps also inspired by future prospects of real estate development) decided that due to health and safety reasons buildings were not allowed within five meters of the river bank. The new policy created an existential threat to the Ciliwung communities since most homes were partly built in the now illegal five meter zone. For some this meant they had no other choice but to relocate away from the communities they helped create. The inhabitants that wanted and were able to stay showed inspiring resilience. They cut five meters of their already modestly sized homes, shrinking private space while, to the surprise of most, a narrow strip of connected public space emerged. This ‘street’, paved with the scattered remains of kitchen floors and bathroom tiles, connected the community in new ways. Street vendors paddled their goods, local repair people provided their services, vegetables and fruits were grown and shared in the narrow community park, a ferry connects the two river banks. What at first seemed an open wound was ‘healed’ by resilient communal activity.