Green space is unlikely a priority for the Jakarta government. The city administration does not have a green perspective in its development plan. Many green spaces have been turned into commercial sites. If the administration had a strong political will, it would not be difficult to allocate 30 percent of the city areas as green open spaces.
Jakarta’s spatial plan for open and green spaces has been amended several times since the 1970s, when the green spaces in the city started giving way to a plethora of high rise buildings, shopping centers, apartments, hotels and office buildings.
In 2000, 9 percent of the city was green space. In 2010, this had only increased by less than 1 percent to 9.79 percent. Clearly, the administration has been inconsistent in meeting its own target of setting aside 13.94 percent (of the city area) for public green space in 2010, and it has failed to do so.
The 2007 Law on Spatial Planning mandates that every city sets aside 20 percent of its urban land for public green areas and another 10 percent for private green space. This is intended provide a balance for the city ecosystem — its hydrological system (soil and water conservation), climate amelioration, pollution (air, water, sound) controls, biological diversity (wildlife habitats, conservation of flora and fauna) maintenance, health facilities, sports, recreation and nature education, and improve the aesthetics of the city as well.
Satellite imagery (GIS, 2008) of the city shows that an area of 42,941.38 hectares (66.62 percent) has already been built on, while 21,515.81 hectares (33.38 percent) is open space comprising public green space (9.79 percent) and potential green space (23.59 percent).
Jakarta’s most densely populated urban areas can also be seen, particularly three subdistricts in which solid buildings occupying more than 90 percent of the areas: Tambora (92.82 percent of which is occupied by buildings); Johar Baru (94.05 percent); and Cempaka Putih (91.49 percent). This means that less than 10 percent of these areas is open space in these three subdistricts, which would have serious impacts on the quality of the local environment.
A total of 31 subdistricts can be found where solid buildings occupy more than 70 percent of the areas. These include Grogol Petamburan (88.96 percent); Jatinegara (88.13 percent); Kebayoran Lama (86.89 percent); Palmerah (88.30 percent); Sawah Besar (88.31 percent), Senen (89.29 percent) and Taman Sari (87.87 percent).
Only six subdistricts (14.28 percent) are less than 50 percent covered in solid buildings, among them Cipayung (41.52 percent), Makassar (36.85 percent); Jagakarsa (45.32 percent).
Three subdistricts, Kebayoran Baru, Tebet and Menteng, need special attention because established areas have exceeded 70 percent — Kebayoran Baru (87.19 percent), Tebet (85.79 percent) and Menteng (78.31 percent). Menteng and Kebayoran Baru were initially designed as garden cities.
The total public green space managed by Jakarta administration covers an area of 6,309.89 hectares (9.79 percent), comprising 241.46 hectares of protected forests, 2,385.13 hectares of common green space, 332.97 hectares of cemeteries, 529.26 hectares of parkland; 686.10 hectares of recreational sites, 1,632.53 hectares of riverside, lakeside and reservoir green space, 168.53 hectares of paddy fields and 333.88 hectares of ponds and the coastal green belt.
The city also has a lot of potential green areas that could be turned into green open spaces, covering up to 15,205.92 hectares (23.59 percent), but efforts must be made for the city to achieve this target.
First, the city administration needs to release land within the city to be developed into new parks. The private sector can contribute through a green partnership program (corporate social responsibility). Measures, such as the Interactive park development program (200-500m2) in dense settlements (two parks in each of the 267 villages in Jakarta), must be increased, as this will help add to Jakarta’s green space.
Second, corridors, such as road lanes and highways (1,114.32 hectares), pedestrians (90 hectares), riverbanks (1,384.21 hectares), water ponds (374.08 hectares), railways (141.71 hectares), high electricity lines (47.40 hectares), and the North coast (750 hectares), could be developed as green belt corridors.
Third, re-greening reservoirs and mangrove forests, as well as gas stations. Fourth, the city administration could encourage the development of private green spaces (homes, schools, offices, hospitals, factories, shopping centers, hotels) — a total of 6,494.69 ha could be converted into private green space by providing incentives to landowners.
Fifth, the city administration and the city council should prioritize the issue of green space in its budget discussions and development programs. We need a local regulation on green space, on the provision of a rewards and punishments system, and on an audit team for green open space. Sixth, establishing a green community in the capital city through community education, workshops and campaigns.
The writer is the chairman of the Indonesian Landscape Architecture Study Group, Jakarta. This article is dedicated to Earth Day on April 22, 2011