Maybe it’s just an environmental issue that could take me back to Jogja and stay there for more than two weeks, kind of long journey because it’s been years since I’m not leaving home for such a long time. Especially to the city with a love-hate memory before.
Because of the theme is Low Carbon Eco City, I submitted myself as one of the teams who will develop one of the city village in Jogja. Not a ‘real’ develop, because we are in a contest with another team to present the best design for the chosen city village.
But the great one is, we work not with our team from Universitas Indonesia, but we spread into five teams and have to work together with other students some university in Central Java, and from France also. Yes, this is the time to learn about connectivity in a different culture. My team was named Bromo, consist of 4 Indonesian students, me, Bayu, Wisnu and Yohana and 4 France students, Perrine, Aurelien, Come, Mahy, with a different background such as architecture, urban planning, sustainability, and landscape. Also Mr. Romeo from France with Mrs Ova Candra and Mr Teguh Utomo from Indonesia who guiding us to do the project. Of course, with that composition, we deserve to have a good solution for the place that we’ve been assigned.
This program is developed in the framework of the cooperation in Sustainable Urban Development between Indonesia and France initiated in 2013 and strengthened through the signing on the 29th of March 2017 of a Cooperation Agreement between the Ministry of Public Works and Housing of Indonesia, the Ministry of Environment Energy and Sea of France, and the Ministry of Housing and Sustainable Habitat of France. The French agency developing this cooperation with the DGHS is the ADEME (Environment and Energy Management Agency).
It must be noted that the contest “Re-think the city for a low carbon future” and the Low Carbon Ecodistrict (LCED) program are developed in synergy with the program KOTAKU managed by the Directorate General for Human Settlements (DHGS) aiming to eradicate slums in Indonesia. Therefore, both the contest will have perimeters including KOTAKU (City without Slums) areas and will participate in Indonesian efforts to fight against poverty. The field of the project is the Pakuncen area, a district of Yogyakarta town, near the river Winongo, presenting some crucial planning and development issues as poverty reduction, transport regulation, and development, housing, heritage management.
After we receive some documents about the area, we start with the survey around Pakuncen Village, collect self-experience and the fact-finding and the evidential reasons from what actually happened on daily life basis in Pakuncen. We do an on-site interview and checking the on-site basis-facilities by foot because the road inside is quite small, most likely is an alley between the building. The site is quite hilly, where the place we use to gather is higher than the other settled areas closer to the river.
Some of the house is non permanent for almost 70 years, built with brick and bamboo skin sheet (gedhek) and inhabited by old man and woman. We walked down to the riverbanks that attracted attention. There were some children playing around the riverbanks, but the quality of water was very poor. Some rubbish were seen mounted on the edge and unpleasant views. The houses are built very near the river, and only a few points have a narrow path by the river.
The interesting point is that we met some of the deep well and public toilet with some small open space around between the housing. That indicated social activities of the community around. We also talk to some inhabitants in their house who explained the usual time to use the well. Because of the method is Participatory Action Research, so we need to recheck our impression after the survey around with the inhabitants. We discussed creating a walking path based on the node of community and built greeneries in the steep middle of the village and near the river.
Surprisingly, our team didn’t follow the regulation about 4 meter wide path. We thought about access, safety, and emergency, proposed by two approximately 2 meters wide paths. One path is located along the river and one path is located along the ridge by the green belt. We proposed the idea, because the other village di across Winongo River also had 2 meter width. Otherwise, if we still persisted with 4 meter wide, it will destroy a lot of housing along the riverbanks. The second one, we preserve the public toilet as a social point which will be connected inhabitants in the community, because one house one toilet is still difficult to do, and take a lot of space inside each house.
Did the idea receive easily?
Of course not, we had to discuss this with the inhabitants due the design time, check and recheck again what they really need, the proposal suited to them. But the interesting point is, we were doing this happily! (hmm, we always have a coffee after lunch near the Pakuncen village).
Developing this one region into a new concept is not easy. Lots of things found in the field that can not just be applied to the design. Some residents think A, while other residents think differently. Shared space between buildings, waste disposal to the river, lack of children’s play space, vehicle parking needs, access very close to Jogja National Museum, elderly people who can not move anywhere else, unsaved public toilet, cross passage land, road access that is too narrow for passing vehicles, poor sanitation and aeration, motor passage, not accessible market, and other things.
Surrounding this area and being a translator with French friends becomes a unique experience in itself. Some were being chased by children who are curious to see the stranger, the other always asking the type of plant and sketch it. Or choose ‘blusukan’ in the aisles and found the kitchens in front of the house as a social tool, where mothers cook while chatting.
Actually, the area is not exactly slum either (especially compared to Jakarta), because the wide alley is still enough for two people to pass, not too damp with the circulation inside is still tolerable. But around the riverbanks looks dirty, especially with the garbage on the edge. In this location that we propose the making of sample houses with material that is easy to obtain, also easy to be built by the community, and use minimal energy.
The first week is a lot of survey and discussion, and the second week with all those studio work. In between, we had a lot of chit chatting and laughing. Or I’m just too happy practicing my English conversation a lot. Some of us learn French language, or some of us learn Indonesian language. Yeah, French is quite difficult to pronounce but worth to try. For the theme of connecting and togetherness for the design propose, I thought it has been built also on our team. Each learns from each other through discussion. The last night before the presentation, we almost didn’t sleep until three in the morning (when I didn’t sleep at all).
The project respects the inhabitants’ requests of public and semi-public spaces able to support the wills of togetherness. Natural spaces as green and productive ones are incremented in the quarter, using both horizontal areas and the slope as a base for growing plants. The new building respects the low carbon and bioclimatic architecture keeping the experiences from the traditional materials and shapes then improving them with new technologies. Also applied to the concept is integrated wastewater system, integrated waste treatment, organic structure of housing, path walk to reduce CO2 and green transportation, renewable energy for public spaces. And my favorite is an idea of mini-park face to Jl Ahmad Dahlan, which is connecting the community, the market, the main road with the existing plantation which can be maintained by the inhabitants.
But it turns out that living in Jogja two weeks was very enjoyable although living inside the campus. From morning jogging around the campus about 4 km (once two days, but my right leg gets hurt in the second week), find cheap meals for breakfast, walk along Kotabaru enjoy colonial buildings, eat ice cream until midnight, spend the morning to Kotagede before opening for tourists, eat again, meet many cyberspace friends who live in Jogja, even meet friends from Flores here.
Of course in Jogja our team was not less of picnics, sometimes spend the nights relaxing to the cafe, on holiday still had time to vacation to the beach, and after the presentation had to Merapi for jeep tour (which is actually not a low carbon vehicle), enjoying Borobudur history and end at Kedung Kayang Waterfall is very beautiful at the hilly Mount Merapi. Oh yeah, determined that the end is Liquid (smiley face).
And the last message when those French farewell from Wisma Kagama is, “C’mon, go to Paris with us!”
Sure, I’ll come to Paris next year.
(because a wish must be spoken)
Jakarta, May 30th, 2018.