Master Of All He Surveys
.... or allows to be built without proper environmental audits.
There are few who live here who have not thought that they could do a better job than whoever occupies the governorship of the urban blight some of us call 'home'.
Thomas Belfield is an Urban Studies student based in Hawaii who has chosen Jakarta as his field (eh?
) of study. Thomas has the advantage of having both an academic objectivity as well as distance. He is, therefore, able to put his thoughts into language which avoids Jakartass-isms when talking about Governors Sooty and Fuzzy Bodoh.*
I have posted Thomas's essay, entitled If I Were Jakarta’s Governor
, as contribution no.3 on Thoughts Outside The Indonesian Box.
Feel free to comment and add your own suggestions.
Give the latter his due: he is making an effort to re-create Jakarta's parks. However, this is mainly by evicting successful markets which have traded on green areas with City Hall permits (= illegal levies) for up to 30 years.Organizations like the Indonesian Forum for the Environment
(Walhi) and the Jakarta Legal Aid Institute (LBH Jakarta) have criticized the city administration for evicting small traders while turning a blind eye to big businesses that occupy former green areas.
Selamet Dayroni, the executive director of the Jakarta office of Walhi, said, "Hotels and malls in Senayan, for example, occupy designated green areas.To address Jakarta's green area problem, the city should also evict these businesses. Don't single out powerless people."
In response to the criticism, Fauzi told the Jakarta Post that evicting big hotels and malls was impractical.
"Would it be realistic to demolish shopping centers and hotels to restore green spaces?"
According to this Property Market Overview
of the Greater Jakarta area including the 1st quarter of 2007, the amount of both retail and office space increased but the occupancy rate and selling rate decreased. Meanwhile the average rent rate and selling price increased. Many businesses are relocating to office buildings with lower rental and service charges.
In other words, it would be feasible for the Governor should call a halt to further construction of malls because there are already too many. He could also issue a regulation ensuring that evicted market vendors are entitled to mall space at a low rental and service charge cost.
Owners and operators of illegally built malls should be given options: demolish, or provide an equivalent land area which can be turned into a recreational park/water catchment area. In addition, their malls should be converted into 'zero-energy' consumers.
Some of this could surely be funded by City Hall which contravened it's own spatial plans in order to facilitate the initial construction of these malls.
That's my two-pennerth. Be sure to read Thomas' more exhaustive manifesto.