Handmade Urbanism

In the first week of June, 2013, BCCF was invited to participate in an exhibition and symposium with the theme Smart Cities: The Next Generation at Aedes Network Campus Berlin, Germany. We were asked three questions that determine the “smart” aspects of our city for the exhibition materials:

  1. How does your project “smarten up” your city?
  2. Why does your city need your project and what challenges are country­‐specific to your urban context?
  3. What are the new behaviors your building/planning/initiative encourages?

While working on the answers, we became more convinced that the strength of Bandung is in its proactive citizens who have been interfering with their own habitat, to make it more livable. Our presentation in Berlin included a series of Kampung Kreatif (Creative Kampong/Neighborhood) program and Helarfest 2012, which brought up issues concerning four elements of the city: river, forest, kampong and park. Next to Bandung, there are also other Indonesian cities such as Jakarta and Medan participating in the event. During the event, it was evident that most growing, dense cities in developing countries are facing similar problems due to overpopulation and underdeveloped infrastructures and facilities, of which solutions mostly depend on the survival ability of the inhabitants.

Handmade Urbanism

Handmade Urbanism book and Urban Future CD

On our last day in Berlin, we found a book whose contents resonate what has been done in the local neighborhoods of Bandung. This book, titled Handmade Urbanism, describes the journeys of five world cities that have brought them to receive the Deutsche Bank Award for their civic initiatives: Mumbai, Sâo Paulo, Mexico City, Istanbul, and Cape Town. The book also comes with a CD, titled Urban Future, containing documentary videos of these cities. Each city has its own issues, which received different treatments as well, and they are not always expensive, nor requiring a substantial amount of budgeting and infrastructures. From the stories, we could learn that all things started small – but they got started anyway – whether from a group of people or an individual, from common villagers or planners/architects to public figures, with different backgrounds.

The examples in Handmade Urbanism show results after about 10 years of the interventions, when citizens could already enjoy the results, where social changes are evident and physical improvements are obvious. Kampung Kreatif program in Bandung started in 2012, now not even 1 year old, and – as experienced in all fields – getting started and maintaining the energy and spirit are the most challenging phase. There is still a long way to go, but we are convinced that we can also keep the program going and reach up to such benefits!

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“All over the world, water takes a significant part of a city” – Mumbai

“The problem (of a city) will never be solved if we keep trying to demolish the slum” – Mumbai

“Community-based programs take place and succeed where administration fails” – Mumbai

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“City growth as desired by politicians creates greater tensions among its citizens” – Sâo Paulo

“Small gestures (planting, library, mural, etc.) can help create space and connectedness” – Sâo Paulo

More positive activities > more life security > less crime > less reason to demolish the “slum” – Sâo Paulo

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“Small scale activities and movements can create great changes in a community” – Mexico City

Next to soccer games, gangs also organize graffiti classes, which have lowered the criminal rates – Mexico City

“A change of an urban space can change the attitudes and activities of the local people” – Mexico City

“Improving accessibility for all (citizens) means improving the quality of life” – Mexico City

“A city is more than a place to make money, people need more than roofs above their heads” – Mexico City

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“Teach children to tend a garden, they’ll go home and teach their parents” – Cape Town

“Municipality needs to recognize what has been done at the grass root level, the activism and pro-activeness” – Cape Town

Bamboo Bike from Temanggung

Singgih S. Kartono, one of o2indonesia contributors, is currently testing his bamboo bike prototypes. In these series of photos, taken along the routes of Balun – Kelingan – Citran – Bendokuluk, he shows that bamboo has indeed been a part of village people’s daily lives. More photos from this trip can be seen in his Facebook photo album:  3rd Day Proto#2 Test

More albums that contain Singgih’s bamboo bike prototypes:

Bamboo bike testing

Prototype #2 Bamboo Bike Tested

2nd Day Proto#2 Test

Visit his Facebook for more photos about bamboo bikes, bikes, design workshops, Magno wooden radio, and the mesmerizing, tranquil scenery of Temanggung, Central Java, where he set up his design studio, manufacture and home: https://www.facebook.com/singgih.s.kartono

bamboosinggih01 bamboosinggih02 bamboosinggih03 bamboosinggih04 bamboosinggih05 bamboosinggih06 bamboosinggih07 bamboosinggih08 bamboosinggih09 bamboosinggih10 bamboosinggih11

Bandung 2035

DAbdg putihOnly very few things are more exciting than having the chance to determine your own future. This time, the chance came as a workshop called Riung Gunung, which invited children to create a city of their desires. This workshop was held by Sahabat Kota, a community that focuses on conducting activities that provides a fun way to educate children about urban environment, as a Selasar Kids Program and also as one of the pre-events of DesignAction.bdg.

As mentioned in the previous post, Riung Gunung completed the workshop last week and is currently having an exhibition of the results. At the opening, the participants (children aged 8-12) acted out the conditions and current problems of Bandung, and their wishes for this city are translated into concepts and models. This exhibition goes on at Selasar Sunaryo Art Space until July 21, 2013, and some highlights will be selected and exhibited again during DesignAction.bdg on October 1-3, 2013 at the conference venue, Bumi Sangkuriang, Bandung.

Tokens of the regents that should be gathered in order to heal Sang Hyang Riung Gunung

Tokens of the regents that should be gathered in order to heal Sang Hyang Riung Gunung

Riung Gunung workshop was an adventurous one. The kids were divided into groups that represent five regions of Bandung and were given a mission: to heal Sang Hyang Riung Gunung, a spirit that lives in Bandung who has been ill due to the current conditions of Bandung. In order to do that, they must gather Sang Hyang Riung Gunung’s six regents, who live in mountains that are surrounding the city of Bandung, which represent six sectors of a city: (1) marketplace and trading, (2) cleanliness and landfill, (3) nature and parks, (4) urban housing and neighborhood, (5) sports and health, and (6) balance of knowledge, environment and social aspects. They were to gather tokens of these regents and put the pieces together to complete a puzzle.

During this mission, the kids were taken to a high density neighborhood to talk to the local inhabitants about their daily lives and mobility. They had a ride on a train (which, in this case, was the kind of train commonly used by mid- and low-income people), went to a marketplace and a Puskesmas (a clinic or health center that normally serves low-income people). They also went to a landfill and recycling center and public parks, before walking up the tower of Gedung Sate (currently the office of West Java governor), to have a good view over the city of Bandung.

Report books and photos of their adventures throughout the city: marketplace, train, health center, etc.

Report books and photos of their adventures throughout the city: marketplace, train, health center, etc.

These kids made reports, noted down as much data as they could absorb by all their senses, expressed their wishes in poems and drawings, composed a dramatic storytelling performance and created a city according to their desires in three-dimensional miniatures of the city. All these materials can be viewed at the exhibition, including a documentary video that records their activities.

Viewed briefly, their main messages are not far from what we are longing for our own living environment: peaceful neighborhoods, fun public parks, a smooth transportation system, pleasant shops, maintained historical buildings, surrounded by lots of playgrounds, plants and trees, and friendly animals. This is the City of Bandung in 2035, the kind they decide to live in.

What’s most moving was to see, during the opening of the exhibition, how these kids could articulately explain their plans through all their models and reports, happily, and full of spirit. It is obvious that they are proud of their works! Let’s hope that they would fondly remember this experience, and also not forgetting the fun process of achieving all these results, when they reach the age of mature citizens of Bandung, when they would have already become professionals, who could make actual contributions to the city. Let’s hope that they remember their dreams and desires, make them happen with their own hands, and leave footprints that they can also be proud of!

Salute to Sahabat Kota for the hard work and much respect to the volunteers who have pulled off this program successfully! :)

Farewell photo of the workshop participants and their instructors after the opening of the exhibition

The green part of that wall is Tangkuban Parahu mountain, from where cable cars come and go into the City of Bandung

The green part of that wall is Tangkuban Parahu mountain, from where cable cars come and go into the City of Bandung

Crayons are available for those who want to add ideas

Crayons are available for those who want to add ideas

You can tell that this is somewhere in the center of Bandung by the railway

You can tell that this is somewhere in the center of Bandung by the railway

Brainstorming ideas and illustrations

Brainstorming ideas and illustrations

The five regions of Bandung for each group

The five regions of Bandung for each group

Riung Gunung: children as co-designers

DAbdg putihChildren are important stakeholders of a city. In the next 20-30 years, they will be the ones taking over and making decisions for the city. However, they are often neglected, or not taken into account, by public facilities and infrastructures that are built in Bandung. The streets – and even sidewalks – are too dangerous for them to walk or ride bicycles alone, city parks are neither closed nor unkempt, playgrounds are almost non-existent, and so on. It is due time that they should say their desires for the city and to be listened to. This is the main reason why Riung Gunung is on!

REV [RG]Poster_05 (pendaftaran)

Riung Gunung promotional poster

Riung Gunung is a workshop organized by Sahabat Kota, a community/organization in Bandung that has been active in holding programs and events for children and youth who want to learn about the City of Bandung and urban life. As a part of the pre-event series approaching DesignAction.bdg, Riung Gunung is coming up really soon as the next one. This workshop is held for 60-90 children between the ages of 9 to 12, whose main task is to make a scenario of Bandung 2035. In this 6-days workshop, they will go through the phases of exploration, city adventure, envisioning, co-design workshop, and realization. As a result, they will make a model or a physical miniature of the city according to their design, and will act it out, according to the systems they create. These results will be performed and exhibited on July 7, 2013, at Selasar Sunaryo Art Space, a gallery at the North of Bandung, and also during DesignAction.bdg event on October 1-3, 2013.

The 30 instructors who will accompany these children during this workshop have been having their own workshops in order to be prepared with appropriate knowledge, with the following subjects: design thinking, sustainable development, child psychology, education for sustainable development, city planning, performance, games, child handling and creativity.

Detailed program of Riung Gunung

Detailed program of Riung Gunung

We are really looking forward to having this workshop. Hope for a lot of fun and incredible results!

More about Sahabat Kota: http://kisahsahabatkota.wordpress.com/

Sahabat Kota at Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/sahabat.kota

Sahabat Kota at Twitter: https://twitter.com/sahabatkota

Sahabat Kota videos at YouTube: http://www.youtube.com/user/komunitassahabatkota

Design Thinking workshop: urban mobility

DAbdg putihWe plan to hold DesignAction.bdg, an international conference/workshop on Design Thinking, but not all of us have a design background, nor are familiar with conventional design process, and most of us have never experienced Design Thinking approach. Therefore, as one of the pre-events that precede DesignAction.bdg, we held an internal workshop on Design Thinking, by inviting Amelia Hendra (ex-IDEO Shanghai) to be the facilitator. This workshop consisted of an introduction about Design Thinking, then an exercise to use the method within the context of urban mobility issues. It is like doing a simulation of the actual DesignAction.bdg event in a smaller scale.

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Day One: introduction

The workshop was held on April 5-6, 2013, attended by about 30 participants. In the first day, Amelia introduced herself. It helped that she was born in Indonesia (originally from Pontianak, West Kalimantan), so Indonesian language was used the whole time. During this workshop, she was assisted by Adi Panuntun, founder of Sembilan Matahari and co-founder of Bandung Creative City Forum (BCCF), a movie maker/ video mapping creator who pursued his study in Design Thinking at Northumbria University, UK. The participants are organizing members of/ contributors to DesignAction.bdg event that came from different backgrounds and communities in Bandung, such as Riset Indie, Labtek Indie, Sahabat Kota, Vidour, GrowBox, Sembilan Matahari, KreativeLab, Fight.BDG, ITB (from School of Business and Management, Faculty of Art and Design, and Architecture Department) and UNPAR. Amelia proceeded with giving an overview about Design Thinking method and examples. The participants came up with questions, whether the Design Thinking phases should start from a certain point or if it can be started anywhere, about “extreme users”, and discussed the importance of “reframing”, since this is practically the most important skill required in the process. Lunchtime was filled with a documentary video about Curitiba, which inspires us all: that with few resources we should still be able to move and make changes. The day ended with an assignment that required the participants to break into groups and started a fieldwork: Understanding urban mobility through the lens of Bandung. The participants should map out design challenges: map out key stakeholders, list out interview questions, and divide tasks with team members.

(c)AmeliaHendra2013

(c)AmeliaHendra2013

1 Observe & Understand: Not only about being creative | But also about being empathetic

2 Reframe: Does not start with the answers | But about asking the right questions

3 Ideate: Not only for designers | But also for problem solvers and optimists

4 Prototype: Not only about designing and thinking | But also making, learning, and sharing

5 Co-design: Not only about perfection | But also about perspectives

Processing ideas

Processing ideas

In the second day, the process was continued and completed, up to prototyping and sharing phases. There were four groups, each took a different focus: angkot (a public minibus that serves as a public transportation method that dominates Bandung), pedestrian, DAMRI (city bus) and PKL (mobile food vendors that often cover a parcel of roads and sidewalks). As a closing, each group presented their findings and solutions, all in role-playing, and it was obvious from this phase that everyone enjoyed the workshop. It was a pleasant way to identify actual Bandung mobility problems from different viewpoints, to exercise all forms of creativity and to come up with recommendations that might be solutions for the problems.

The groups proposed products, systems, programs and activities that might release some burden related to mobility and traffic, at different scales. Some might need conventional way of infrastructure improvements, but most could actually be implemented without requiring substantial financial capital and complex bureaucracy, and could be succeeded as long as networks and collaboration among local people and communities are available.

An impression from a participant (Ronaldiaz from Agritektur): Collaboration is an important key point, since this workshop was joined by people with multidisciplinary background. If one participant from each discipline could contribute one solution from his/her field, by collaborating we would be able to give a comprehensive solution. The power of collaboration is indeed frightening!

Thanks to Amelia and everyone involved in the workshop! We had fun – a productive kind of fun – which what we of young productive age actually need, to be able to respond innovatively to endless problems faced by our urban environment.

The results of the four groups were all presented at the next Pre-Event of DesignAction.bdg, PechaKuchaNight.BDG that was held on Sunday evening, 26 May 2013.

Pedestrian team

Pedestrian team

Angkot team at work

Angkot team at work

DAMRI team

DAMRI team

Amelia closing the workshop

Amelia closing the workshop

Amelia assisting a group

Amelia assisting a group

Story of a City Forest

Not every city has a natural forest, moreover a World City Forest, like we have in Bandung: Babakan Siliwangi (BakSil). Now that we have one, what do we do with it? Merely disrupting it by replacing the trees with massive concrete buildings would be unimaginable, since that is the same as destroying the forest; but this is what seems to be the near future of BakSil City Forest if local people and communities do nothing about it.

Forest Walk at Babakan Siliwangi. (c)GalihSedayu2013

Forest Walk at Babakan Siliwangi. (c)GalihSedayu2013

Therefore, several communities have been holding events in this area to activate the idle space, while inviting more people to interact with the forest. Among the communities is Bandung Creative City Forum (BCCF), an independent organization that has previously hold two events to intervene BakSil. The first one was in 2011, during TUNZA: having BakSil declared as a World City Forest and building a canopy walk, presently called ForestWalk, at the premise. The second one was in 2012, with an event called Lightchestra as the opening of Helarfest2012: a three-days sound- and light-play in the forest, with an open-air concert of local indie bands, painting artists’ live performances, a photography contest, a paper lantern workshop for children, communities that perform best at night such as B.U.L.B. (Barudak Urban Light Bandung, a light graffiti community) and Bandung Urban Jedi; also collaborating with an environmental organization to limit and measure solid waste (food packaging, plastic bags, etc.) produced during the event.

"Al Fresco" forest picnic at Forest Walk during REGIA. (c)GalihSedayu2013

“Al Fresco” forest picnic at Forest Walk during REGIA. (c)GalihSedayu2013

This time, as the first 2013 program, BCCF held “Regia”, which aimed to refresh our relationship with our only city forest. The name “Regia” was taken from a dominant tree species that grows within the area, Delonix Regia, or Flamboyan in local name. During the two days of Regia, 20-21 April 2013, a lot of people gathered for various events, such as “Al-Fresco” or potluck picnic at the ForestWalk, children activities and games, open library, photo exhibition, morning yoga, forest dinner, live blues performance “Blues Leuweung” by several local blues musicians, and a discussion session about urban forest to close the series of event. An infographic, that was especially made for this event and was published in a regional newspaper and online social media, presents a number of facts about BakSil City Forest and how important it is for us.

From time to time, we need to celebrate our public space. Especially in a dense, growing city with substandard infrastructures like Bandung, whose inhabitants often need to take their own initiatives to improve their living environment.

After Regia, it seemed that there is hope that the company who has the developing right over BakSil would postpone its plan to build any commercial entity on the area. But our hope is yet again on trial, due to today’s update that the developer now has possessed permission to actually build a restaurant. Irritated as we are, we shouldn’t lose focus and conduct, within our capacity, smart responses to this issue. Let’s just make sure with all of our might that the story of our city forest continues for generations, onwards.

Related links:

Today’s news: the company is granted a permission to build on that area

Why we should care about our city forest

I wish these trees could stay

BCCF event announcement: REGIA

A photo essay by Galih Sedayu: on REGIA event

A photo essay by Galih Sedayu: about a series of graffiti that protests the commercialization of the city forest

Why we should care about our city forest

Regia Infographic

Regia Infographic by BatasFana (c)2012

Babakan Siliwangi, a Green Open Space in Bandung, is maintained as a preserved area up to today. On September 27, 2011, Babakan Siliwangi was declared as a World City Forest by the United National Environment Program (UNEP) in TUNSA event (an International Children and Youth Conference on Environment). There are not too many people, even those living in Bandung, know about Babakan Siliwangi City Forest, including a number of its interesting facts. Therefore, a wider dissemination is necessary, in order to reintroduce Babakan Siliwangi City Forest, among other by conducting a variety of creative activities in the area, and by spreading the information about the area. Following are a number of facts about Babakan Siliwangi City Forest.

In the earlier days, there were twelve fresh water springs within Babakan Siliwangi City Forest area, but today only one is left. Soil water surface has been reduced from 22,99meter to 14,35meter (data from 1999). If the area of this city forest is reduced, so will the soil water surface, due to the reduction of its absorbing area.

Babakan Siliwangi City Forest is a habitat for 120 plant species and 149 animal species. It is also a transit spot for six species of migrating birds. If this forest area is gone, the migration route of these birds will be cut.

Trees that grow within the area are, among others, Cola (Cola nitida) and Sempur (Dillenia Indica L.), but the dominant one is Flamboyan (Delonix Regia). Plantations in this area function as a buffer for air and noise pollutions. Whoever spends time in the middle of this city forest will feel a sense of serenity, although it is located very near to crowded big roads.

The width of canopy from the trees that grow in the forest reaches up to 5 hectares, while the width of Babakan Siliwangi area itself is only 3.8 hectares. The canopy functions as a shade that can reduce stress in human beings that stand under the area, since the trees also produce Oxygen.

The function of trees in this area as CO2 absorbance reaches up to 13,680 kilograms per day, while releasing O2 up to 9,120 kilograms per day. If the price of pure O2 is up to IDR 25,000 per liter, then the economic value of Babakan Siliwangi reaches up to IDR 148,000,000. From this calculation, it can be figured that if the area of Babakan Siliwangi is reduced even “only” up to 20%, Bandung will have a loss of about IDR 10 billion.

This information is only a few, compared to all the facts around Babakan Siliwangi City Forest, and these are facts that can mostly be observed and measured. However, beyond these facts, there are other evidences such as people’s interaction, communal activities, and social relationships that are established due to the existence of this unique, open urban space, such as this city forest. Such advantages cannot merely be quantified, since their widespread impacts and sustainability cannot be measured in a short, limited time scope. Judging from the height of activities in this area, which shows the crucial role of an urban space that invites its citizens to come out and enjoy their habitat, it can be concluded that Babakan Siliwangi City Forest should be preserved as a qualified Green Open Space that is kept open for all Bandung citizens.

*the Indonesian version of this article was published in Pikiran Rakyat

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