What Is a Slum, and What So Special about Slums in Jakarta?
When talking about slums, what comes into our mind probably relates to poverty and the poor hygienic conditions of the dwellings. However, around the world, the definition of slum varies among different countries. The word slum appeared or started to become a common word in the 19th century in the America and European countries when people, especially the architects and urban planners, began to concern about the issue of a proper town planning and somehow, they realised that there are some regions that should be ranked top the priority list to tackle in order to be an ideal city. Generally, they defined slums as “Any area of old, neglected and deteriorating housing is a slum as soon as it becomes insanitary or otherwise injurious to its occupants”*1, meaning that the conditions in slum are so bad to an extent that it cannot be recover on its own, other than the intervention by the local government through proper welfare and housing policies.
The formation of slums in Jakarta are slightly different. In general, the majority of slum in Jakarta originated from a kind of settlement called Kampung, which is a term equal to village. These kampungs consist of several hundreds of settlers living together to form a community. These kampungs themselves are self organised and able to operate on their own, independent of the support from external sources, although the houses there are often densely populated. Originally, they were the norm in Jakarta, but as time went by, they started to become the leftover regions. “After independence (of Indonesia), European ideas about urban spatial structure were adopted by the new political elites and adapted to the images they wished to propagate”*2
The urban development of Jakarta tore apart the social gap between the rich and the poor.
Bibliography and Reference
1. James, F., Phelps-Stokes Fund (1971) Slum and Housing: With Reference to New York City: History, Conditions, Policy, Volume 1. Negro Universities Press, p.11
2. Eric, S., Philip, P., David, F. and Richa, N. (2009) A World of Difference: Encountering and Contesting Development. New York: The Guilford Press, p.486