One big reason for the Jakarta flooding is our failure to urbanize properly. As Lefebvre said, everything is now essentially "urban": from the Thamrin-Sudirman corridor, to the mountains of Puncak in West Java, even to the forests of Papua - meaning they are under the power of urban capital interests.
So why shouldn't the old natural flood plains of Jakarta (now places called Pantai Indah Kapuk and Kelapa Gading) fall into urban interests, as every place has? Why - specifically in Jakarta - do such interests manifest in extreme forms: building settlements where there should be none, thus risking their lives and the lives of others? Quite simple: no choice.
People need to live in the city, and they couldn't. I mean, if apartments cost Rp 10 million per square meter (and renting is far from cheap, too), then how many people can afford to live in the city? Naturally, sprawl happens. Destruction of nature is not only due to rich people wanting to have grand villas in Puncak, but also our failure to urbanize Jakarta properly.
But this may about to change. Remember Jusuf Kalla's wild idea (i.e. here and here) to build 20-storey public low income flats (rumah susun) all over big cities in Indonesia? Well, that may soon materialize (although hopefully the Government will not take his words literally!). Last week, the President just approved the exemption of value added tax (PPN) of rumah susun development by developers. The BTN bank apparently is quite excited. They've allocated Rp 1 trillion for financing this. The Director said,
If the Government can provide interest rate subsidy of 3%, then that will bring the interest rate down from currently 14% to 11%.Hey, 11% is quite close to the 10% that Ciputra wanted. Last year, the big real estate mogul said that if he gets 10% rate, he is "willing to invest whatever it takes to build low-income flats in Jakarta."
Are we about to see a better urbanization of Jakarta?