Menteng is no longer a conservation area. This is not a statement from a legal point of view, of course, but from the reality in the field. The irony is that legally it is. The conservationist perspective has long prevented it from being looked at as to its real, basic problem: How to maintain a comfortable living in the city’s center.
What is happening there is, first of all, not a destruction of a shared colonial heritage, but simply a destruction of a good-quality residential neighbourhood.
It is an epitome of what is happening to the whole of Jakarta, as it is being turned into a gigantic machine to earn a living, with little left for living itself.
The Jakarta Post recently reported the increasing conversion of residences into business establishments, and all the vices and complaints it has generated, in two of the most interesting residential neighb...