With the support of the Center for Public Policy Transformation (Transformasi), Sarine Arslanian explores the social and economic dynamics of life in the slum areas of Bukit Duri (Jakarta, Indonesia) which have been overlooked in the relocation strategy implemented by the government as a measure for flood prevention. She also examines the bureaucratic and environmental challenges, and alternative approaches to make the plans more sustainable in the long term.
The Ciliwung River is one of Jakarta’s most polluted waterways, which floods its banks at least once a year, resulting in significant losses costing billions of dollars and many lives. Two major factors contribute to the increase of floods: the establishment of settlements along the river, which changes land use and increases waste, and climate change. In 2013, government agencies inaugurated the Ciliwung River Normalisation Programme. In addition to widening the river and building concrete roads on each side to prevent new settlements from emerging, the plans included the forced relocation of riverbank communities into low-cost subsidised apartments.
These plans sparked uproar among local communities who felt that their socio-economic needs were not taken into account in civic design. Bukit Duri’s residents worked in the informal sector, excelling in 33 different activities including; running a chicken slaughterhouse, a factory for “bakpao” [an Indonesian steamed bread filled with meat], food stalls and much more. Most often, residents’ living and working places were one and the same. They had succeeded in building a strong communal identity in a setting where the distinction between public and private space was blurred. “We’re all part of one big family,” was a sentence Sarine often heard while walking around Bukit Duri.
In the Press
UK Visual Anthropology: Anthropological Documentary for Public Policy in Jakarta: http://ukvisualanthropology.com/2015/02/27/jakarta/
Lifegate: Climate change is flooding Jakarta: Watch the documentary: http://www.lifegate.com/people/news/ciliwung-river-jakarta
New Cities Foundation: Rethinking Urban Planning in a Changing Climate: Case study on Flood-Prone Jakarta: http://www.newcitiesfoundation.org/rethinking-urban-planning-in-a-changing-climate-case-study-on-flood-prone-jakarta/
University of Kent: School of Anthropology and Conservation Newsletter 06/03/2015: http://www.kent.ac.uk/sac/news/newsletter_2014_2015/Issue8.pdf