Wednesday, 21 October 2009

Community Based Movement as Alternative Solution in Housing Issues

Today's visit to the housing area in Pasirkaliki, Bandung, Indonesia was an eye opener. In seeing urban housing issues, particularly in Indonesia, we cannot avoid from being bombarded with various questions regarding multiple social-economy-cultural paradigm. These paradigms often come together with the complex problems in housing condition, especially when it involves the marginalized urban poor.

The current area is made up of unique, complex and often contradictory compositions of flats, squatter housings, old factories, cremation building, urban infrastructures and a railway. The mostly ‘spontaneous’ structures found around the site are always being seen as ‘illegal’ and unfit for the rapid urban development for the city of Bandung, which is worryingly being controlled by the capitalistic policy of the city.

In searching for innovative solutions in revealing and exploiting the potential of these issues, housing design must be seen as a process, rather than creating formal assumption based on previous rules of thumb or general theories. Probably the problems of dwelling in this area are supposed to be treated equally with the problem of those above-mentioned problems of paradigms. Not only the physical condition of this housing area shall be explored, but also certainly, the most important point of view is to understand the psychological and thinking behavior of the society that has made up the area as what it is today. These basic thinking and behavioral issues of dwelling will be the guiding path in selecting, reducing, summarizing and developing problems and issues into potential, innovative and localized design solutions.   

To be able to understand the way of thinking of the dwellers of this area, a strong community based movement is being seen as the most suitable approach in searching for alternative solutions which hopefully will benefit the users, surrounding environment as well as a long lasting tool for capacity building. Probably the best intervention is not only creative design, but also a self-helped, conscientious program is most needed in securing a better and fair living environment for the marginalized urban poor community. 

Photo Credit: I Ketut Dirgantara


  1. Hafiz,
    It is obvious that urban squatters has been one of the pressing problem in the most of urbanized area of the developing countries as it has been in Bandung. This area of Industri Dalam is one of the most complex problem regarding housing and urban regeneration in terms of its existing fabrics and social conditions.
    I think you're right in mentioning that understanding social and economic condition of the existing dwellers is one of the valid approach in solving the problem. However, we also need to look at the wider perspective as to locate the industri dalam area within economic and spatial development of Bandung as a whole.. ADT

  2. Hafiz, you are absolutely right, but for this moment, for the sake of our discipline ( which is of course: architecture), please think of everything as an approach of "designerly" way of thinking, any solution for design problem should be proposed in terms of architectural recommendations, not in social or economical suggestions, yet other disciplines of course are considered to be the supporting idea but still, the entry point should be, somewhat, architectural

  3. kikikiki,,pake di tulis namanya segala...thank's fiz...taro yang banya juga gapapa..hehehe...

  4. Many thanks for the comments Pak Apep and Pak Bas. Will try to look upon those issues and recommendations.

    Dirga..jangan lupa kameranya Senin ini. Untuk dokumentasi projek buku kita..