The Jakarta Post
After successfully taking over 18 buildings and renovating five of them in Kota Tua historic site, Lin Ci Wei, a famous financial analyst who currently is the Jakarta Old Town Revitalization Corporation (JOTRC) CEO, is now facing yet another challenge of how to keep the buildings and the surrounding areas economically and culturally vibrant.
'There have been five attempts [to revitalize Kota Tua]. They all failed,' Lin Che Wei said during a discussion, which coincided with the launch of newly renovated Olveh building on Jl. Jembatan Batu recently.
Lin considered the main cause of the failures were that no one understood the business model for the old buildings. 'The 150-hectare area used to be the center of the colonial government. The buildings were used for civil administration, trade and financial matters. All the functions have gone now,' he said.
Lin believed that resurrecting the essence of its old function would make Kota Tua a distinctive attraction, as well as being its main asset to revive the historic area.
Lin said that one interesting model to revive Kota Tua was creating an education community.
'The city administration has previously pledged to move one of the campuses of the Jakarta Arts Institute (IKJ) to Kota Tua. We have been preparing the building on Malaka 7 and 9 for that,' he said.
The idea was supported by David Hutama, a lecturer at the University of Pelita Harapan (UPH) school of design, who said that altering the old buildings into a campus would be the most suitable way to revive the old city.
'When the campus is there, its surrounding area will organically develop. For example, there will be housing for the students as well as cafes and restaurants,' he said.
The same argument was also delivered by Rainier Tuaranga, the director of human resource consultant Daya Dimensi Indonesia.
Rainier argued that youngsters were the key ingredient to revive the city. 'Youngsters are full with energy and time,' he said, adding that based on his firm's survey, youngsters nowadays loved to work in a field that could improve society.
The plan, however, has made no progress so far. The relationship between Lin and Jakarta Governor Basuki 'Ahok' Tjahaja Purnama had turned sour as Ahok impatiently demanded quick results from the revitalization efforts.
Directorate general at the Education and Culture Ministry, Hilmar Farid, said that he would start with simple programs to help revive Kota Tua.
'Relocating a school is a big mission. However, we can start with small ones, for example, creating programs so that Kota Tua would still be interesting to visit,' he said.
Hilmar revealed he would conduct further meeting with JOTRC to figure out the right programs.
'It can be as simple as a text message buzz when you arrive at the train station and you get information [via SMS] on the buildings around here,' he said.
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