Jakarta | jungle jazz

Setiabudi, Jakarta | June 23-25, 2011

MovingCities resides the coming weeks in Jakarta and beyond. ‘Welcome to the concrete jungle’, our cab driver told us when driving in the middle of the night from the airport to our hotel. In the heart of this jungle lays the Setiabudi-district. A hip and distinct location, said the brochure in our hotel room. That is, when one likes sheds, colorful structures and self-built architecture. A report from the metropolitan maze.

Describing Jakarta as a concrete jungle is something more than just an act of poetry or imagination. The city, so it seems, avoids any sense of order, is a gigantic and sprawling entity which neglects the pressing problems of the city; pollution, people, poverty, temporary structures, traffic jams and pavement.

Jakarta is notorious for its traffic jams, shopping malls and limited green spaces. On our first day we avoided all of these and wandered around in a world of sheds and mobile foodstands, explored the high-rise structures along three sides of the Golden Triangle. As with any beating heart of any city under development and under pressure of real-estate development, one can foresee a future where local communities only can temporarily resist the real-estate pressure around them. Here one witnesses the implosion of life under the pressure of international capitalism.

In the coming few weeks we will report on the state of affairs of the city and its architecture scene, as we did back in 2008. For now we listen to the sounds of the jungle jazz, the dense urban forest in which we discovered a range of architectural species, in which we heard the sound of street vendors, the roar of construction sites, the drone of community chatter and the mobilizing sounds of the muezzin.

Setiabudi, Jakarta | June 23-25, 2011

Pictures by movingcities.org

Setiabudi is a subdistrict in South Jakarta, one of the five administrative cities which forms the Jakarta Capital Region. The Golden Triangle of Jakarta, a term used to describe a triangular area of business and commercial establishments in Jakarta, is located in Setiabudi Subdistrict.

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