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Political Representation In Urban Public Space In Jakarta Child-Friendly Public Space (Ruang Publik Terpadu Ramah Anak – RPTRA)

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  • Monash University Indonesia

Abstract and Figures

The design of public space often embodies the power and political representation of a specific regime. As urban architecture symbolizes and establishes the identity of a regime, authorities often use a top-down approach to implement urban architectural programs. As a result, the spaces constructed often display power and identity, but lack consideration of public use. Public spaces are often exclusionary for public use. They merely stand for the representation of the authority. Accordingly, many public spaces built by the government are abandoned soon after their launch. Big ceremonies and public space displays only last a few days before these spaces are then closed to the public or appropriated for different uses. Most top-down approaches focus on the physical development, overlooking the users’ inclusion in decision making. This research analyses the political representation of public space design in RPTRA Bahari located in the South Jakarta. It analyses the political reason behind the development of RPTRA in Jakarta and the way participative design approach is employed during the design process to get public engagement in public space. Therefore, it investigates how the political representation is perceived in everyday life by analysing how the public space has been used three years since its launch. Through observation and interviews, this paper interrogates the political representation in urban forms and how public spaces become an arena where the government’s intentions and everyday uses meet. It concludes that a participative, bottom-up approach leads to more public use and engagement.
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6:2 (2019) 3949 | ijbes.utm.my | eISSN 22898948|
IJBES
International Journal of Built Environment and Sustainability
Published by Penerbit UTM Press, Universiti Teknologi Malaysia
IJBES 6(2)/2019, 39-49
Political Representation In Urban Public Space In
Jakarta Child-Friendly Public Space (Ruang Publik
Terpadu Ramah Anak RPTRA)
Eka Permanasari
Department of Architecture, Faculty of Technology and Design, Universitas Pembangunan Jaya, Jalan Cendrawasih Raya B7/P Tangerang Selatan,
Banten, Indonesia 15413
Email: eka.permanasari@upj.ac.id
Sahid Mochtar
Department of Architecture, Faculty of Technology and Design, Universitas Pembangunan Jaya, Jalan Cendrawasih Raya B7/P Tangerang Selatan,
Banten, Indonesia 15413
Rahma Purisari
Department of Architecture, Faculty of Technology and Design, Universitas Pembangunan Jaya, Jalan Cendrawasih Raya B7/P Tangerang Selatan,
Banten, Indonesia 15413
ABSTRACT
The design of public space often embodies the power and political representation of a
specific regime. As urban architecture symbolizes and establishes the identity of a
regime, authorities often use a top-down approach to implement urban architectural
programs. As a result, the spaces constructed often display power and identity, but
lack consideration of public use. Public spaces are often exclusionary for public use.
They merely stand for the representation of the authority. Accordingly, many public
spaces built by the government are abandoned soon after their launch. Big ceremonies
and public space displays only last a few days before these spaces are then closed to the
public or appropriated for different uses. Most top-down approaches focus on the
physical development, overlooking the users’ inclusion in decision making. This
research analyses the political representation of public space design in RPTRA Bahari
located in the South Jakarta. It analyses the political reason behind the development of
RPTRA in Jakarta and the way participative design approach is employed during the
design process to get public engagement in public space. Therefore, it investigates how
the political representation is perceived in everyday life by analysing how the public
space has been used three years since its launch. Through observation and interviews,
this paper interrogates the political representation in urban forms and how public
spaces become an arena where the government’s intentions and everyday uses meet. It
concludes that a participative, bottom-up approach leads to more public use and
engagement.
Article History
Received : 28 January 2019
Received in revised form : 24 March 2019
Accepted : 17 April 2019
Published Online : 30 April 2019
Keywords:
Everyday uses, political representation, public
space.
Corresponding Author Contact:
eka.permanasari@upj.ac.id
DOI: 10.11113/ijbes.v6.n2.351
© 2019 Penerbit UTM Press. All rights reserved
40 Eka Permanasari, Sahid & Rahma - International Journal of Built Environment and Sustainability 6:2 (2019) 3949
1. Introduction
For the past few years, public place making in Jakarta is only
targeted to fulfil the lack of green open space in the city. Based
on the article about Indonesian city planning No 26, 2007, it is
stated that every city should have at least 30% of green open
space. Therefore, to achieve this goal, governor tend to use top
down approach in making green open spaces. By 2011, the
ministry of Women empowerment and Child protection issued
an article No 12 about child-friendly city indicators that every
city should achieved. Here, the role of public space is not only
to provide green open space, but also to enable children to have
safe environment. By the end of 2014, the late Jakarta Governor
Ahok in collaboration with the Indonesian Women Welfare
Organization (PKK) and Community Empowerment, Women
and Family Planning Bureau, planned to launch integrated child
friendly public space in line with this city planning. The concept
of child friendly city has long been abandoned by the former
Jakarta governor and Ahok took initiative by making a child
friendly community center (Ruang Publik Terpadu Ramah Anak
nicked named as RPTRA). The initial program was to launch 6
pilot projects of RPTRA by early 2015 and build another 200
RPTRAs in Jakarta by 2017 as part of his political
representation. This program was his emphasis to win public
support for the 2018 election, right before he was sentenced
due to blasphemy cases and lost the election.
Funded by PT Pembangunan Jaya, Ahok built the initial RPTRA
pilot projects in 6 municipalities to make Jakarta as the child-
friendly city. Differentiating himself from the previous
governor, Ahok deployed social researchers Imam Prasodjo and
Eka Permanasari to be involved in the project to ensure high
level of public participation in in the process of making and
organizing the community centers (Permanasari, et al., 2018)
However, the process of making RPTRA receives pros and cons
both from the users and from the political rivals. The pros are
mainly derived from the positive intention of making public
space which Jakarta is heavily lacking. Apart from that, by
making RPTRA, government land assets are identified and
rescued from illegal users and their function is returned for
public purposes. On the other hand, the intention of involving
community in every step of development to trigger
community’s sense of belonging towards the public space is
questioned as the governor still impose top-down approach in
implementing the program and limited public participation. The
users are involved but their voice is not fully heard and
implemented into the design.
Meanwhile, the political rival sees RPTRAs as vulnerable to be
corrupted since they are funded by private company’s CSR
(Laksana, 2017). The total RPTRA funded by CSR is 67 and by
the Regional Government budget is 223 (Mamduh, 2018). In
total there are 290 RPTRAs that have been built over period
2015-2018. The political rivals also questioned the term of
‘child-friendlyas whether this public space is only for children
and disregard other users (Carina, 2017). Therefore, by 2018
soon after Anies Baswedan replaced Ahok, he stopped the uses
term of RPTRA. To continue providing green open space, he
launched a new term of public space as Taman Maju Bersama
(together we moving forward park). By the end of 2018, Anies
has launched 10 Taman Maju Bersama parks using the 10 billion
of regional government budget (Desrianto, 2018). Here, the
political representation manifested in urban forms are
imminent. Architectture and urban design have been used as
vehicle to symbolize power and identity (Vale, 1992).
However, the previous study in public space mainly focuses on
the top-down government’s approaches. Kusno (2000) and
Permanasari (2010) analyse the political representation
symbolized and displayed in public space (Permanasari, n.d.).
The analysis is mostly about the top-down approach used by
specific regime to symbolize power and identity and often
disregard the community’s perspective. The study of RPTRA
mostly investigates what the government has done by assessing
numbers of public facilities being built within the populated area
(H. S. Aji, 2016) The analysis is mostly about design criteria
instead of looking at the way in which people use the space after
their limited inclusion during the design process (Hernowo,
2017).
This paper investigates the political representation in RPTRA
Bahari as a public space located in South Jakarta. As one of the 6
RPTRA pilot projects, RPTRA Bahari has shown consistent
level of public engagement since its early design concept until
now. While other RPTRAs faced certain level of resistance
during the design and development process, RPTRA Bahari
relatively smooth in gaining public participation (Permanasari,
et al., 2018). In terms of the size, RPTRA Bahari has 926 m2 of
land and the building is two storeys with total building size
198m2. The main characteristic of this RPTRA is the mini
soccer field provided to cater the community needs.
The concept of public space is sometimes ambiguous in terms of
political contestation. The term ‘public’ is questionable as it is
often an exclusionary place for a large spectrum of society
(Kahraman, Pak, & Scheerlinck, March 2018). Public spaces
have long been a mechanism within the capitalist mode of
production. In fact, public space is used to symbolize a certain
power and identity (Alsayyad, 1992). In creating public spaces,
architects and urban designers are thus trapped between the
authority’s intentions and citizens’ rights.
The idea of ‘publicness’ is a paradox, since the concept does not
carry the real meaning of the term. Namely, the term ‘public’
does not really mean public, as public places are still
exclusionary for others. According to Arendt (1998), to be
public is a condition wherein people are heard, seen, and
included in the political life (Arendt, 1998). However, this
condition cannot be materialized because public spaces are
always political. The idea of a public space that is open to
everyone exists only in principle (Iveson, 2007). In reality, daily
uses of public spaces occur within a fragmented society where
interest groups compete against each other. Public spaces are the
domain for struggles between the dominant, and hence public
spaces are by nature counter-public. The idea of public spaces
raises the question ‘whose public spaces?’ Even though public
spaces carry the term ‘public’, political powers will reorganize,
41 Eka Permanasari, Sahid & Rahma - International Journal of Built Environment and Sustainability 6:2 (2019) 3949
demolish, control, and militarize public spaces if necessary.
Authorities tend to limit public access and strive to keep public
spaces in line with the original intention behind the spaces’
construction.
Public spaces are a social and physical representation of space
and community. However, the term ‘representation’ is also
ambiguous, since the word ‘representative’ means doing
something on behalf of someone else. Representation implies
both presence and absence of the represented, such that there
can be decisions made on behalf of the citizen with clear
instructions. However, when representatives make a decision,
does it really represent the citizen? Thus, political
representation starts to fail when the citizens’ explicit objections
are voiced.
This condition resonates with Arnstein’s (1969) ladder of
participation (Arnstein, 1969). Arnstein highlights a ladder of
citizen participation on which eight rungs indicate citizen
participation levels in public places. The first two rungs show a
non-level of participation wherein government policy aims to
educate participants. The third and fourth rungs (informing and
consultation) show the degrees of tokenism. Citizens are
allowed to speak, but they do not have the power to implement
opinions. The fifth rung (placation) allows citizens to advise the
government. However, citizens do not have the power to decide
because the government is the power holder.
The ladder’s highest levels represent the degrees of citizen
power: the sixth rung (partnership) allows citizens to partner
with the government. The seventh rung (delegated power) and
eighth rung (citizen control) allow citizens to have majority
decision making and full managerial power. Based on these
classifications, we can analyse how much citizens can engage in
public spaces. It can be concluded that regardless of the level of
participation, public space is a tricky concept and does not
necessarily include public involvement.
The purpose of urban projects is generally to show the intent of
economic growth. In cities, urban spaces are used as leverage to
show market-oriented economic growth that is aimed at
everyone, even though profits are then exploited by the elite
few. Indeed, architecture and urban design are commonly used
by political regimes as a way to exercise and express their
power. As a result, the development does not involve public
engagement and often disregards public needs.
This condition has forced urban designers and architects to
analyse public spaces’ requirements for everyday uses. Urban
planners and architects are challenged: they must accommodate
public interests based on the idea of making a public sphere and
publicly accessible spaces (Tonnelat, 2010). The public sphere
deals with participative democracy while publicly accessible
spaces concern the idea of individual liberty, which resonates
with Lefebvre’s (1996) right to the city (Mitchell, 2003).
In the 1970s, there was a global movement against this condition
as to how a public space should be. Jan Gehl (1987) proposed a
new approach of designing public space by including the
presence of other people, stimulating activities and events.
Public spaces are also a common ground for people to do
everyday activities, both as routine or periodic activities (Carr,
Francis, L.G, & Stone, 1992).
Another movement is called bottom-up urbanism, where the
public spaces’ design should include the voice of citizens. In
bottom-up urbanism, there are three forms of practices: occupy
urbanism, tactical urbanism, and hybrid urbanism. Occupy
urbanism includes DIY (self-organized) practices where ordinary
people gather and reclaim urban spaces through various acts of
communing: the collective sharing of space (Pak, 2017).
Tactical Urbanism involves ordinary people that take part in
shaping their environment during the design process and most
importantly through the product itself. This is usually executed
for short-term plans or projects. Hybrid Urbanism combines
communing practices and planning (Pak, 2017).
Participation is based on the interaction between the designer
and the user. It includes various other actors such as
governmental institutions, political decision makers, and non-
governmental organizations. In a participative design, the public
actors have power in the decision-making process in any political
context. The local people are the main information source for
the designers, as they can provide an understanding of the local
knowledge, needs, and values that are important for the design
process (Sanders, Elizabeth B-N; SonicRim, 2002). This is
especially true in spatial design because users care about their
living spaces. In urban design, a good, organized, and efficient
public participation will foster a sense of belonging because of its
unique locality.
Participation in design has several benefits for both parties and
for the whole community (Dede, 2012). For users, it represents
an increased sense of influence on the decision-making process
and an increased awareness of the consequences. This minimizes
activities such as vandalism, since there is a sense of belonging to
the space. For the designer, it represents relevant and up-to-
date information, which generates many design ideas. Finally,
for the whole society, participation benefits the community by
meeting their social needs and by increasing the effective use of
resources. Participative design’s main purposes are to involve
and to unite citizens in the decision-making process, to promote
a sense of community, and to increase user satisfaction (Dede,
2012).
2. Methodology
To analyse the political representation and community sense of
belonging in the Child-Friendly Public Space of RPTRA Bahari,
three main qualitative research methods were used to gather
data: observing physical traces, observing environmental
behaviours, and focused interviews. The qualitative research
methodology is cross examined through three various research
methods to get objective analysis.
Observing physical traces involves carefully examining the
physical surroundings to analyse the previous activities that may
have occurred within the space (Zeisel, 2006). From these
42 Eka Permanasari, Sahid & Rahma - International Journal of Built Environment and Sustainability 6:2 (2019) 3949
observations, we were able to determine the users’ profiles such
as their culture, affiliation, and preferences.
Observing environmental behaviour involves analysing how
people use the space and how they interact with others and the
environment. At the same time, it also involves examining how
a setting interferes with activities. With this method,
researchers can generate data about people’s activities, the
relationship between regulations and people’s behaviours, and
the uses or misuses of place (Zeisel, 2006).
These observation methods were conducted to analyse the use of
RPTRA in everyday life, how people appropriate the space
amidst its political insinuation and their inclusion in the public
space. Observations were conducted using photography and
mapping techniques that captured public activities during
weekdays and weekends from the RPTRA Bahari launch until
now. Observations were carried out in public spaces without
interrupting activities occurring on the site. To maintain the
objectivity and privacy, this paper ensures the anonymity of the
interviewee and the anonymity the users of RPTRA Bahari while
mapping and observing their activities.
3. Result and Discussion
Built in Jakarta in 2015, the RPTRA Bahari in South Gandaria
district, South Jakarta is one of the city’s 6 RPTRA pilot
projects. Initially, the project aimed to provide Jakarta with a
communal space for children. This aim was in line with the
governor’s plan to provide a child-friendly city for its citizens
(Permanasari, Nurhidayah, & Nugraha, 2018). Unlike the
previous urban approach, Ahok wanted RPTRA to be developed
by the bottom up model using participative design approach.
The participative design approach in RPTRA Bahari followed the
6 steps of the design process: social mapping, discussions about
the initial design, final design, working together in building the
RPTRA, and discussion about RPTRA management. The whole
process took approximately 6 months during which the society
was included in every step of the process.
The social mapping began when the architect, urban designer,
and social researcher pictured the existing conditions on the
potential site. South Gandaria district area is about 177 ha, with
an approximate population of 24,783 people. The heavily
populated areas have mixed building density. The district chief is
very famous and active in the community engagement. Based on
the site visit, there were community-based activities such as
handicrafts, a reading club, traditional dancing, a children’s
learning forum, a creative economy, mini soccer, morning
aerobics, and acoustics. The community is also involved in
recycling materials and making waste recycling banks.
The next step is forming a design concept to involve the
community in the participative design process. The architect and
social researcher proposed the idea of a community centre that
would cater to the needs of children with positive activities.
Since the area is densely populated and has many buildings, the
only open space belonged to the government was the proposed
area is 926 m2. Achmad Noerzaman, the architect, explained
the building’s purpose and how it would operate. The
community provided feedback on the types of activities they
needed so that the design considered the space requirements.
During the discussions, the citizens were encouraged to voice
their concerns and aspirations. The architect and social
researcher became the mediators who linked the citizen and the
government.
Gathering people’s participation allowed the citizens to speak
and propose their ideas. However, the process did not guarantee
that these ideas would be implemented (Permanasari,
Nurhidayah, & Nugraha, 2018). This finding correlate with
Arnstein’s (1969) ladder of participation in which informing and
consultation become a part of a spaces social production. The
concept of participation is also questioned, as those who
attended the forum were representatives of the citizens. Since
the term ‘representative’ is ambiguous, a process that includes
only the citizens’ representatives carry multiple dimensions and
the ideas of the represented may not actually have been taken
into account at all.
Those that attended the meeting were mostly from the family
welfare organization; this organization is a top-down
organization model which places the wives of the power holder
organizing the discussion. Even though public participation was
encouraged, it was difficult to identify the public aspirations
during the process. The participative design approach’s next
level was to finalize the design consultation, to build the
community centre together, and to plan the activities.
The participatory design approach was a good first bottom-up
step that allowed the citizens to speak and channel their
aspirations to build and operate in a public space, even if the
citizens’ participation was somewhat limited and questionable.
Regardless, the method allowed the bottom-up process to occur
at the beginning of the space’s production. However, the initial
process should have raised more public awareness and
participation; the resulting weaknesses can be examined by the
everyday uses of space.
Ahok claimed that the community centres are designed to
include citizens; accordingly, the public space should have
citizens’ activities and engagement. However, the claim on
political representation in public space cannot be taken for
granted. Therefore, we examined how this place is used in
everyday life. The analysis compares the activities that were
planned during the participatory design stage with the activities
that are occurring now. The time lapse will show the activities’
consistency and engagement level.
The activities that were planned before the launch were based
on age classification. For instance, activities for children and
teenagers included the following: sports (mini soccer,
badminton), local music (angklung, traditional hadroh,
marawis), drama, and learning (library) and health facilities.
Activities for adults and seniors included sports (badminton,
aerobics, chest), music and family welfare programmes
(gardening, nutrition). The plans show the community centre
43 Eka Permanasari, Sahid & Rahma - International Journal of Built Environment and Sustainability 6:2 (2019) 3949
space programming [Figure 1] where you can identify a mini
soccer field that overlaps with the badminton field, a multi-
function room, and a store for selling community products. The
multi-function room caters different activities. The garden and
fish pond are provided to cater to gardening and fish farming
activities. On the second floor, there is a library, training room,
youth organization room, and music room. These rooms were
planned based on the citizensrequirements, on the budge, and
on the space availability. Compromises between the government
and the citizen were made.
Figure 1 Floor Plan of RPTRA (Author, 2015)
The proposed activities affect the public space’s design, and
incorporate the authority’s agenda, and citizen’s aspirations.
Then, to examine whether the bottom up approach has given
impact to the idea of publicness, we need to evaluate how this
public space is used every day. The observation was done during
weekdays and weekends during three time periods (morning,
midday, and afternoon) to determine the comprehensive pattern
of the activities on the site. Based on the observations, there had
44 Eka Permanasari, Sahid & Rahma - International Journal of Built Environment and Sustainability 6:2 (2019) 3949
been changes in the uses and space programming. The RPTRA
management had replaced the youth organization room. The
traditional medicinal plants garden is well looked after, but the
hydroponic section is no longer intact and requires heavy
maintenance. Some facilities such as the sinks are no longer in
use. Other than that, the library, the common rooms, and the
multi-function room are used.
To analyse the political representation insinuated in urban
forms, we created a special pattern to see how people use the
space. The mapping shows how this pace is used over the
weekend. Overall, the RPTRA is always busy with children
playing mini soccer or parents watching their toddlers. During
the school holiday break, RPTRA is more crowded since
children use the place as their playground. Weekday
observations were taken in July 2018 during the school holiday.
In the morning, children played mini soccer while others were
in the playground. Parents often accompany their children or
have social activities here too.
During school days, it is a different story: the RPTRA is mostly
empty and only filled with smaller kids who haven’t started
school yet. Usually accompanied by their parents, the kids play
together downstairs, read books at the library, or are in the
music room. The government provided the library to educate
children and the general public. Although it is called the music
room, its purpose is not only to play with the traditional
bamboo music tool (angklung) inside, but also to play with a box
full of Lego.
By noon, the activities change into a more regular pattern. Some
students from various high schools use the soccer field to
practice taekwondo. Students are eager to use the RPTRA for
their school activities. Neighbouring schools also use the
RPTRA for their routine sports activities. For instance, PAUD
Pelangi, Kindergarten Al Huriyah and Madrasah Bahari use the
RPTRA on Wednesday and Friday. Students from SMK 28
Jakarta use the RPTRA for traditional dance classes. Based on
the FGDs that we conducted to investigate the sense of
belonging in RPTRA [Figure 2], these activities are often not
found in the organizer’s schedule. In fact, there are volunteers in
this RPTRA such as Mrs. Maya who is willing to teach English to
children pro bono. She was an English instructor at a private
English training company but cares about children’s education
and teaches on Wednesday afternoon. The participation levels
show citizen’s engagement in this public space.
Figure 2 FGD about activities in RPTRA (Author, 2018)
RPTRA caters activities not only for those living in the
surrounding area but also to surrounding schools. RPTRA has
become a public space that is free to use as long as the users
respect and follow the rules. However, this publicness is not
completely public because there are some accessibility
restrictions. For instance, smokers are not allowed to enter the
site. The RPTRA closes by 6 pm, which means that the public
space only operates within a certain period of time. Figure 3
shows the activities on a Tuesday morning with a few children
mostly in the library. Those playing in the mini soccer field are
only there for a short time because at this time the sun is already
hot. The library and music room are popular spaces because
they are air-conditioned.
45 Eka Permanasari, Sahid & Rahma - International Journal of Built Environment and Sustainability 6:2 (2019) 3949
Figure 3 Mapping RPTRA weekday morning (Author, 2018)
RPTRA Bahari has more visitors on weekday afternoons. All of
RPTRA’s facilities are in use such as the badminton and soccer
fields. Older children and teenagers play on the soccer field,
while the younger children play on the badminton field.
Meanwhile, other children are watching from the sides or doing
other activities in the playground. Meanwhile, the multifunction
room is usually being used by adults while toddlers sit and play.
The RPTRA provides a communal space where children,
teenagers, and parents interact with each other. The playground
is filled with children taking turns using the playing equipment.
The children mostly use the music room to play Lego. If we map
the activities during the weekday afternoon, most activities are
on the ground floor where children play mini soccer and
badminton while toddlers play in the playground. Others are on
the first floor and in the library [Figure 4].
Figure 4 Mapping RPTRA weekday afternoon (Author, 2018)
46 Eka Permanasari, Sahid & Rahma - International Journal of Built Environment and Sustainability 6:2 (2019) 3949
During the weekend, many use the RPTRA, like children and
mothers during social gatherings (arisan) or governmental
bodies implementing their policies, such as marine, agriculture,
and food security bureaus that supply highly nutrient food for
locals or local NGO named Kelompok Wanita Tani (Female
Farmer Group). In collaboration with certain public health
organizations (Alfa Omega and Obor Bakat Indonesia), RPTRA
Gandaria Selatan also holds events such as free health
consultations and free immunization.
Social gatherings and free health consultations only take place
once a month. During normal weekends, RPTRA’s multi-
function room is used in a more open way. It is usually filled
with mothers and nannies that are watching children, feeding
them, or conversing among each other. This shows that the
RPTRA brings people together, provides a safe environment for
children, and encourages people to socialize amidst Jakarta’s
lively bustle.
On weekend mornings, kids usually use the badminton field to
play soccer and for other activities such as raising flag ceremony
training (Paskibra), Taekwondo, and Pencak Silat. In the image
below, girls of SMA Tunas Pembangunan’s Paskibra are
practicing their march. Once they finished their training session,
teenagers have their taekwondo and silat exercises. This place is
popular because it has a roof over it, protecting people from the
sun’s heat.
Meanwhile, the library is in constant use: it is open from 08.00
18.00 during weekdays and can stay open late during holidays.
Children are welcomed at the library to study or to read books.
The library is also used for learning, knowledge sharing, and
other educational purposes like English and math lessons. If we
map the daily activities during the weekends, we can see that
RPTRA is constantly in use. Children prefer to use the soccer
field, playground, and library. Adults accompany their children
or massage their feet around the reflection pond. Most of the
RPTRA’s users are children and male teenagers, while teenage
girls are only present when there is a specific activity like
traditional dancing [Figure 5].
Figure 5 Mapping RPTRA weekend morning (Author, 2018)
At noon during weekends, there are not many people who visit
the RPTRA. Only a few children play on the soccer field while
other play in the multifunction room. Most of the rooms
upstairs are empty, except for the caretaker’s room. According
to the caretakers, people start to come to the RPTRA after
2pm, when the weather starts cooling down. During the
weekends, some external events are organized like the Arisan
Mapan. While social gatherings are in the RPTRA’s
multifunction room, the rest of the RPTRA is in constant use
[Figure 6].
47 Eka Permanasari, Sahid & Rahma - International Journal of Built Environment and Sustainability 6:2 (2019) 3949
Figure 6 Mapping RPTRA weekend noon (Author, 2018)
On weekend afternoons, the RPTRA’s activities pick up as the
weather cools down. The multifunction room is used by girls
between 12 and 14 years old use to practice Betawi’s traditional
dance. The instructor is from Dinas Pariwisata (Government
Tourism Office) and is part of the RPTRA programmes in
Jakarta. As the girls are dancing, parents and caretakers watch
them with joy. During dance classes, other children are in the
playground. The mini soccer and badminton fields are the most
popular feature where children and teenagers play or watch
along the side [Figure 7].
Figure 7 Mapping RPTRA weekend afternoon (Author, 2018)
48 Eka Permanasari, Sahid & Rahma - International Journal of Built Environment and Sustainability 6:2 (2019) 3949
As the sun sets, the activities in RPTRA slowly disappear and
children go home to study. Apart from observing the everyday
uses of RPTRA, we also mapped the visitors to investigate who
they are and how frequently they use the RPTRA. The results
show that the children who visit the RPTRA are from a 500 m
radius, while teenagers are a majority from a 3 km radius. Some
of them use the RPTRA to playing mini soccer, taekwondo, and
dance while others simply enjoy the public space. Interestingly,
the adult visitors are mostly from a 500 m radius, mainly
because they accompany their children. Other adults come from
the surrounding neighbourhoods for activities such as aerobics or
social gatherings. The place’s sense of belonging is shown
through the constant activities and people coming from the
surrounding neighbourhood. Based on this observation, it can be
concluded that people are enthused to use this child-friendly
community centre for their daily activities (Elyda & Budiari,
2015).
4. Conclusion
Jakarta long has been suffering from heavy top down approach in
terms of building public places (Kusno, 2000) (Dovey, 2010).
Political representation in RPTRA Bahari is portrayed through
the inclusion of public participation in the process of designing
and building RPTRA. Even though public participation is
limited, at the tokenism level, according to Arnstein ladder of
participation, this model of making Jakarta public space is
claimed to be the first innovation during the Ahok era. The new
approach of making public space can be seen as new way of
representing the power through urban form. While Ahok is
notorius as iron-hand governor in using his authority to evict
people from the illegal settlements, RPTRA shows his
dichotomy approach toward the city. Allowing people’s
participation can be seen as a democratic way of making urban
space.
Through the analysis of everyday uses, the political
representation is unravelled. Even though it is not entirely open
for public, the RPTRA Bahari allows citizens to have activities.
The participative design approach implemented on the site
shows that people are continuously using this space based on
their preferences that were indicated during the early
development stage. The design process allows input from the
community and the facility’s development involves public
participation. Placing community as the subject made this place
a successful urban project. Based on these findings, the
participative design approach allowed dialogue between the
authorities and the community and is a good model for designing
public spaces. The way they use the space allows negotiation
between users. Everyone has the same right to the city, even
though those rights are limited to a certain period.
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