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Mega-urbanization of Jakarta 2

Pasar Baru (New Market)
Pasar Baru (New Market)

At present there are more than 80 shopping centers in Jakarta. They are classified into several specification from a shopping centre specialized  selling cellular phone such as Roxy Mas, to Dusit mall and Mangga Dua Mall that specialize in selling computer. There are of course malls that are not specialized in a certain good such as Taman Anggrek mall, it has various thing from ice-scatting, exhibition to movie and music entertainment for their visitors at its ground floor. The old market such as Pasar Pagi Mangga Dua and Pasar Tanah Abang are specialized in clothes. They are probably the largest wholesaler market in Southeast Asia where merchant from every part of the archipelago came and generate other economic activities. When Pasar Tanah Abang was in fire in the mid of February 2003, many economic activities related to clothes in Indonesia stop. There are 1.3 million people lost their jobs and four trillion Rupiahs was gone along with the fire (Kompas 22 February 2003, Headlines).

Besides its functional classification, the market can be classified into its costumer economic class. Plaza Indonesia is a mall where the visitors are middle and high income people. Most of them came with cars hence the mall provides more floors for cars than the shops. Parking is one of the main incomes of the mall. On the other hand the Mall at Jatinegara and Plasa atrium at the formerly Senen triangle (Segitiga Senen) are malls for middle and low income people. The Senayan Plasa and Sogo at Thamrin street is famous as malls where famous actors and actresses shopping. The malls such as Mall Kelapa Gading, Mall of Indonesia, Central Park Mall, are mainly visited by the upper class. On the other hand the mall such as Roxy Mas and Mangga Dua mall are visited by various income classes.

Many malls are gigantic, probably the largest in the world. For instance  Kelapa Gading Mall in East Jakarta providing 200,000 sq meters floors and taking an area of 45 ha, as large as a small town in Indonesia. Not only that, many malls in north Jakarta are connected one to another. You can walk through the shopping bridge connecting from Pasar Pagi Mangga Dua to Orion Mangga Dua Mall, and to Dusit Mangga Dua Mall, crossing Mangga Dua Street, enjoy shopping from 10 am to 6 pm.

The crowded place of market has created urban transportation problem. The urban transportation dominated by bus, both the special “bus way” and non “bus way”, does not work well. Meanwhile the train transportation connecting Jakarta to suburban area is used by middle and low income people already overloaded in the peak hour. As the MRT is still under construction, more people use private car to go to work. At present the city government try to minimize the traffic jam through imposing that the cars with uneven police number can pass Thamrin-Sudirman on uneven calendar, and like wise the cars with even police number can pass the street on even calendar.  

In contrast to the luxurious mall and trade centers, the traditional markets still exist in Jakarta. At Glodok, Pasar Baru, Pasar Senen, and Blok M, peddlers occupied the pedestrian and make the street narrower. The megaurbanisation and the failure of the government to give employment have forced people to peddling instead of working in formal sector.

Taking a walk in a mall is a new habit for the Indonesian since many outdoor space has been gone for parking and traffic jam. Besides that, shopping centers that are guarded by satpam (special guardian) give a secure feeling for the visitors. They walk in the malls as if they are pedestrian in the ancient time. Shopping would probably the locus of Jakarta. It is the hedonism life of the people since long time ago.

Could we build a new theory of urban design based on the phenomenon in Jakarta? Is it modern architecture such as Le Corbusier’s Radian city or Ludwig Hilberseimer’s ideal city that is realized not in purpose and in chaotic space? Is it possible old city becoming a new shopping area like in other world cities. We still hope this dream come true.