Monday, February 09, 2009

Developing failure?

Sat, 02/07/2009 1:06 PM | Lifestyle
With apartments sprouting up across the city, Jakarta could soon be more crowded than ever.
Urban planner from Trisakti University, Yayat Supriatna, said the likelihood of problems represents a failure on the part of the government to provide better housing for people.
Living in the suburbs, he said, became very costly for many who work in the city, making people go back to the city.
For for those who are less fortunate, the only way to get around is to rely on public transportation, no matter the problems.
"In the 1970s and 1980s the Jakarta's middle class flocked to the suburbs like Pondok Indah, Bekasi and Depok, but now it's becoming so difficult to live in the suburbs. It creates many problems, especially with access to workplaces. So beginingg in the late 1990s there has been a trend of people moving back to the city," Yayat Supriatna said.
"People just don't need a neighborhood anymore, as long as they can pay for what they think is efficient in terms of distance, time, cost and choice fits what they need."
Developers saw the opportunity and have favored the 'superblock' approach. A superblock is a vertical complex complete with supporting facilities, including shops and offices.
Due to land speculation, which was not anticipated by the government, up to 60,000 hectare of land reserved for housing around the greater Jakarta has been bought by developers. This shows that the government has not done its job to provide affordable housing, Yayat said.
To build a house in Jakarta is nearly as expensive as to buy an apartment.
"How can we be able to buy a house at an affordable price if all the land is owned by developers, building materials cost are high and the tax burden falls on the buyer?"
All these problems, he said, have made housing not just a mere social matter but a capital or investment matter.
"Only if the government acts quite extremely and buys back land to provide houses for people we will be able to find affordable housing prices."
He said that, the government's low cost apartment projects (Rusunami), are build on state-owned land, meaning that the government has no ability to provide land for housing except from what they already own.
The choice to build many high rise and luxury apartments also makes many people worry that it is a heavy burden will be put on the environment and create social problems.
"The biggest question is where does the water supply come from? I doubt they will only rely on the water company PDAM. If they use ground water, how much will they use?"
Beside environmental damage, there are concerns about emergency preparedness incase of a disaster and social control among the occupants of apartments.
Supriatna said that the development of apartments and condominiums by big business has gotten out of control.
"What we really need is to provide the informal sector with a subsidy so that they can provide themselves with affordable housing.
"The government is not the developer. They are supposed to only provide an attractive climate for the property business. If they lose control over the property business, only a certain class of people can afford proper housing."--JP/Matheos V. Messakh

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