Tuesday, March 20, 2007

Requiem for a city

The total amount of cars in the city of Jakarta is approximately two and a half million, and this increases per annum by eleven percent. And each car needs more or less three square meters in parking space, thus when the total amount of cars increases not just more roads are needed. Concrete and asphalt cannot absorb rainwater. For spatial planners this means that parts of the city are supposed to remain empty to function as water reservoirs (in Jakarta this is less than 9% of the city). Where I am sitting right now, typing these words, is supposed to be empty space according to the previous spatial plan (the photo is my view from the sixteenth floor). But that plan has been adjusted. A dozen of apartment towers have been constructed or are under construction. All this makes the city in general and this area in particular even more prone to floods (and the poor have to pay: if nothing is done their neighborhoods are the first to be flooded, and if something is done their neighborhoods are the first to be removed).

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