Inspired by success stories in Yogyakarta and Malang, an increasing number of slum areas in major cities across Indonesia have transformed into new colorful quarters worthy of sightseeing.The Jakarta Post writers Corry Elyda in Jakarta and Aman Rochman in Malang take a closer look at how the trend is sparking a new social media craze.

by Corry Elyda & Aman Rochman

A slum neighborhood in Krendang, West Jakarta, was ablaze with colors on a recent afternoon. The walls of the houses, which lined a sparkling alley, were emblazoned with murals depicting popular cartoon characters. It appeared that the quarter had shed its stinky image. Unlike anywhere else in Tambora district, which is notorious for fires, gutters in Krendang became surprisingly clean — at least by local standards. The alley came to life at around 3 p.m. with lots of children playing their favorite games in the absence of decent playgrounds. “Here we can play and admire the cartoons on the walls,” said Samsul Ikhwal Nugraha, 10, who was staring at a picture of a minion, a character from Despicable Me. The neighborhood that otherwise lacks breathing space now boasts a public garden that helps create a relaxed ambience for its 17,000 residents. The artistry and ...