The spatial plans & the kampung 3: President permits controversial land reclamation in North Jakarta

Decree no. 52, 1995. From Bappenas Library (online)
Decree no. 73, 1995. From Bappenas Library (online)













In spite of the requirement of green areas mentioned in the previous post, Suharto issued two decrees in 1995 permitting the reclamation and development of areas along the Jakarta Bay waterfront, to the expense of mangroves, rice fields, coastal lagoons and coral reefs (Rukmana, 2015; Cowherd, 2002; Firman, 1998).

The presidential decree no. 52 permitted development of the whole Jakarta Bay waterfront area, named “Pantura”.

The presidential decree no.73 in 1995 gave permission to develop the Kapuk Naga Beach Reclamation project (Rukmana, 2015; Cowherd, 2002). The 8000 hectare area to be developed was situated in the East of Jakarta Bay as mentioned in decree no.52, and affected parts of Kamal Muara (Rukmana, 2015; Cowherd, 2002).

“1. Reclamation of the North Coast of Jakarta, hereinafter called the Reclamation of the coast, includes massing of soil and removal of water in parts of of Jakarta’s sea waters;

2. The North Coast Area of ​​Jakarta, hereinafter referred to as the Pantura Zone, is part of the North Jakarta Municipality which covers the coastal land area north of Jakarta and the North Coast Reclamation area of ​​Jakarta” (No. 52, article 1) 

“…as regulated by Presidential Decree Number 52 in 1995, it was deemed necessary to establish bay reclamation arrangements in Kapuknaga, Tangerang with a Presidential Decree” (No. 73, index object c) 


As in the case of many other similar decrees (Cowherd, 2002; Sidarta, 1996), economic development was mentioned as the main driving force behind the projects:

“a. that in accordance with Presidential Decree Number 17 of 1994 about Repelita Enam, North Coast Region is included the category of Mainstay Area, which is an area that has value strategic in terms of economy and urban development” (No. 52, index object a)

“ To realize the function of Kapuknaga Beach Area as a Mainstay Area, town planning and development of Kapuknaga Beach Area is required, “ (No. 73, index object b)


The decree mentioned these concerns:

“The execution of Kapuknaga reclamation has to be mindful of the environment, harbor,  the coral reefs of the beach, the fishermen, and other functions in the Bay Area of Tangerang and Northern Bay Area of Jakarta…” (No. 73, article 11)

Note that the decree noted that attention must be paid, but no more specific instructions on how to deal with the concerns.

However, both the development projects, according to several sources, would require the removal of large swaths of irrigated rice fields and mangroves (Rukmana, 2015; Cowherd, 2002; Firman, 1998).  They also led to brutal forced evictions of kampung residents (UN-Habitat, 2005). Mangroves and rice fields were protected by previous presidential decrees, as well as the Spatial Planning Law and the Environmental Law (Rukmana, 2015). Land reclamation and development along the waterfront was strongly discouraged by Ministry of Environment (Cowherd, 2002).

Although attention to certain concerns were emphasized, the decrees still bluntly defied of the spatial plans, official recommendations and the city plan through reclaiming vulnerable areas in Jakarta Bay. It is worth mentioning that situations like these were in fact not uncommon (Rukmana, 2015). Kamal Muara was just one of many kampung which saw increased flooding and evictions as well as decrease in traditional employment options in the 1990s due to development by decree (Cowherd, 2002).



All translations from Indonesian to English by Cheryl Trisnadi, BA ArchStud Y2 at HKU


Keputusan Presiden (Presidential Decree) No. 52, “Tentang Reklamasi Pantai Utara Jakarta” (1995). Retrieved 20.12.2018 from Bappenas Library online

Keputusan Presiden (Presidential Decree) No. 73, “Reklamasi Pantai Kapuknaga, Tangerang” (1995). Retrieved 20.12.2018 Bappenas Library online

Cowherd, Robert, (2002). Planning or cultural construction. In Peter J.M. Nas (Ed), The Indonesian town revisited, pp 17-38. Muenster & Singapore: Lit Verlag & Institute of Southeast Asian Studies

Rukmana, Deden (2015). The Change and Transformation of Indonesian Spatial Planning after Suharto’s New Order Regime: The Case of the Jakarta Metropolitan Area. International Planning Studies, DOI: 10.1080/13563475.2015.100872.

Firman, Tommy (1998). The restructuring of Jakarta Metropolitan Area: A “global city” in Asia. In Cities, 15(4), 229-243.

Second year undergraduate student of Architecture at HKU, now writing about Kamal Muara, a fishing village / kampung in northern Jakarta, and its political circumstances in the 90s.

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