The Jakarta Post
South Tangerang in Banten has enjoyed rapid development in the past decade as residential areas expand and public facilities are constructed in Jakarta’s youngest satellite city.
However, the massive urban development comes at the cost of public space. South Tangerang, home to 1.64 million people, has more than 500 gated residential complexes, each of which may or may not provide playgrounds or green space. Those living outside of such upmarket residential complexes struggle to find areas for children to play or residents to interact.
The local community, together with architectural consultancy firm LabTanya, has begun to solicit input from residents in a forum dubbed Musrempong. The monthlong activity that concluded recently saw residents gather to discuss the problem and find solutions.
Musrempong is a play on the word Musrembang, a regional development and planning forum set up by a regional administration as a platform for residents to provide insight and take part in the development of their city. While the original term evokes a sense of formality with regard to the meetings, under the Musrempong initiative residents gather to discuss pressing issues in a more relaxed manner.
Sawah Baru, a Ciputat-based community, for instance, discovered that many residents were lamenting the lack of open space to gather.
“Many places where I used to play no longer exist. There are only a few rice fields now. Some traditional games are on the brink of extinction, but when we introduced them to the kids, they actually like them,” said Nico, 23, of the community.
“We believe this stems from the fact that the kids no longer have any open space to play,” he added.
Similarly, the Andrawina Youth Group in Pamulang found that the construction of the Serpong-Cinere toll road, as part of the Jakarta Outer Ring Road II, has also affected open space in their area.
It has prompted the locals to invent the term Brad Pit, which stands for “Berkarya di pinggir tol”, or becoming creative on the roadside of the toll road.
LabTanya founder Ignatius Susiadi Wibowo said the activity was aimed at collecting authentic input from residents.
“We want to find out whether gatherings to discuss future development are still relevant in this era,” he said. “Residents seem to be unaware of their power to determine city development. The Musrembang appear to have failed in creating such awareness.”
The Musrempong initiative is supported by the South Tangerang Development Planning Agency (Bappeda) in an attempt to invite participation from residents and to facilitate communication between residents and the administration, agency head Taher Rachmady claimed.
“We want to create a habit. Well established communication will also help us deliver information,” he said.
Taher acknowledged that it was not an easy job to find available land in South Tangerang as well as in other big cities of the country. However, he was confident that the city could fulfil its obligation to provide 30 percent open public space.
The 2007 Spatial Planning Law stipulates that a city should have at least 30 percent of open space, with 10 percent to be contributed by the private sector. Public space in South Tangerang currently amounts to only 9 percent.