Informal Settlement V.S. Formal Housing (1990-2000)

Early in the 1990s, there has already been high-rise public housing project started as a substitution to the squatter dwellings in Jakarta in an attempt to improve the living standards of the citizens. The table below made a comparison in various aspects between the residents living in slum and those who has moved to the newly built high-rise. From the table, it is shown that the daily consumption of different resources for high-rise settlers was slightly smaller due to the fact that the users themselves had to pay for the resources. This thus reflected an interesting phenomenon and livelihood in the squatter area in Jakarta.

Since most of the dwellers and immigrants built their own shacks on the land belonging to “someone else”(government or absentees), meaning that their shelters are unauthorized so they were not supposed to be able to access to the official electric and water supply. Thus, either their electricity supply was stolen from the nearby electric station through illegal cable connection so that it was totally “free of charge”, or the water for daily usage was taken from the nearby Ciliwung River, although the River was more or less contaminated.

Apart from the expected benefits of high-rise housing, the expense made on transportation for the high-rise settlers was apparently higher due to the fact that the new zone planning of Jakarta would try to avoid the regions where there were high density of slums but these public housings were often built on the emptied plot of those squatter areas or places far away from the city centre thanks to the ever-increasing land price and the risky speculation of real estate.

Furthermore, the sense of community of the newly built public housing was apparently weaker than those living in slums. This is accountable in terms of the architecture and the government policies. Architecturally, the public housings at that time were fast prototype that emphasized on quick assembling and efficiency so there was not so much consideration made on spatial arrangement of communal space that could strengthen the neighbourhood. In terms of the policies, the residents were assigned a flat according to the urgency so very often they were forced to engage in a completely new community which might be a very different situation.


Table - Comparisono of resource use, waste produced and livability in squatter and high-rise housing in the Ciliwung River area of Jakarta in 1994 @ Afrief, 1997.
Table – Comparison of resource use, waste produced and livability in squatter and high-rise housing in the Ciliwung River area of Jakarta in 1994 @ Afrief, 1997.

1 Comment on “Informal Settlement V.S. Formal Housing (1990-2000)

  1. It is interesting to note the new public housing had a weaker sense of community due to a government emphasized with efficiency and cost-effectiveness (particularly in terms of building assembly). However the clear reason for this seems to be two-fold; is the failure of public housing due to the lack of consideration for communal space in terms of urban planning, or is the reason for the lack of community due to public policy which forced residents being assigned to new flats based on their sense of urgency? In other words was the failure of public housing during 1990-2000 a physical issue or a policy issue, or perhaps both shortcomings equally contributed to the lack of competitiveness of public housing when compared with the informal slums.

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