31 March 2009

Informal Settlement and Evictions: Informality

Marco Kusumawijaya

Below are notes for discussion
that you may find it interesting to think over. There are other two notes to come. We borrow the image from masaguz.com [ed.]

The story of Menteng (see in the earlier posting) shows there is much informality also in the use of space among the upper class and the government’s agencies. The ease with which public domains are informally occupied or used may have been caused by an ignorance about what is “public”, but is certainly encouraged by the lack of law enforcement, and triggered by economic situations. There is also a lot of issues with regards to land law or administration.

It becomes an issue of justice, when informality of the poor is targeted for forced eviction, without handling also the informality of the others. The poor takes little, the rich takes more.

In recent years there have been examples of successful solutions to informal settlements, with or without relocations, such as at Surabaya’s Kali Stren canal bank settlement, river bank relocation project in Solo of C. Java, yet in Cirebon of W. Java or Pekalongan, C. Java.

Bangkok’s Ban Mankong scheme has also been introduced to the Governor.
But, Jakarta refuses to learn, reasoning that the risk in the “ibu kota” is higher (ibu kota is the Indonesian word for ‘capital’). There is also pressure to build high-rise subsidised low cost appartment buildings, reasoning that this typology save land.

The Ministry of Housing is probably the weakest in history, making very few strategic decisions and doing as little.

Hope lies at the decentralised democracy, based on the fact that some good mayors and governors did get elected and did good job in recent years; but it may take time before a critical mass of more enlightened public officials are elected through the new democratic process.*

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