Friday, August 18, 2006

Low Income Flats: More Polemics

Ever since Jusuf Kalla's statement, low-income vertical housing (flats) are gaining attention. Jakarta's Deputy Governor Fauzi Bowo rebutted the VP's call to build 20-storey flats in all cities with more than 2 million. He said, "to build flats we need a wide area. We just don't have that kind of land in the middle of the city." Fathi R Shidiq from the Parliament exacerbated the logic of this whole argument by saying "if the government forces its will to build low-income flats in the middle of the city, then get ready to confront the urban poor."

What interesting statements. Here's my response:
  1. To Mr. Bowo: Isn't vertical housing invented as a solution to the issue of land shortage? Your reason to disagree with flats is all the more reason to build it.
  2. To Mr. Shidiq: Won't these flats be built FOR the urban poor? If they can still stay in the same strategic area of the city, with secure tenure, then why should they oppose it? Unless you're saying that usually what happens is that the poor previously living in the area get evicted, and that the flats in the end are occupied by the middle class...
It seems like building these flats is not as simple as the VP may have thought, eh?

1) Pak Darrundono, in another article, provided the more institutional and cultural challenges of flats provision. These include such flats being too product oriented, too expensive, exclusive to the private sector and tenants, weak on management, opposes the principle of government as "enabler," transplanted into Indonesia from other cultures, are difficult to accept by the low-income population since to live in such flats, hey have to undergo a sudden change of culture.
2) Another article profiles Jakarta's attempt to redevelop the Pulomas flats in Jakarta into a middle class settlement.
3) Photo above portrays the chaotic utility (water) pipes in the Penjaringan Flats.

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