Land usage revisions mar zoning area

Rapid urban development at the expense of green areas reflects weak supervision and compromised regulations in regard to spatial planning, experts said.

“[Theoretically,] zoning regulation should not be changed, but [in practice] they can [be negotiated],” Darrundono Koesomodilogo, a former official from the then Spatial Planning Agency,

In recent years, housing areas were transformed into business spots as seen in Menteng in Central Jakarta as well as Kemang and Kebayoran Baru in South Jakarta.

Darrundono said based on his experience in charge of city spatial planning issues between 1955 and 1996, zoning areas can be negotiated through intervention by higher powers.

He recalled that he turned down requests by police and army officials who asked for a permit to build a housing complex in an open green space in South and West Jakarta. “But later, I suddenly received an order from City Hall asking me to approve the request.”

The transformation of zoning areas faces persistent criticism.

The administration’s approval in the 1980s to turn the Angke Kapuk mangrove forest into a residential area, business center and golf course has caused flood problems in North Jakarta and has forced the operator of the Sedyatmo toll road leading to Soekarno-Hatta International Airport to build higher road sections.

Darrundono said that in recent years, people tended to turn use their houses as businesses, ignoring the impact of traffic that later burdens the streets.

Trisakti University urban expert Yayat Supriyatna said lack of supervision was another key problem exacerbating the violation of permits.

He said the administration should not repeat past mistakes, starting with stating clearly what they would do to stop deteriorating traffic and environmental conditions.

Unfortunately, Yayat said, the 2030 spatial planning draft did not regulate which areas should stop being developed due to lack of spatial support.

“City officials should assure residents the new spatial planning will bring better changes,” he said, adding that the changes could start with the disclosure of cases of abuse of building permits and land usage under the former spatial planning.

“The administration should also clarify what they plan to do to stop the deterioration. They will attract public participation in forming new spatial planning this way,” he added.

Recently, the 2030 Spatial Planning Citizen’s Coalition refused to attend a public dialog held by the Jakarta Regional Planning Agency (Bappeda), saying the agency had not met demands for greater public involvement in forming the draft.

The head of the city’s spatial agency, Wiriyatmoko, said supervision was the authority of the Building Supervisory Agency, which allowed commercial centers to pop up in residential areas.

He said his office was currently drafting Jakarta’s zoning map and text under the Detail Spatial Planning.

He said the draft allocated the same space for residential areas, as the number of residents was predicted to only reach 10 million by 2030.

“I will allow the development of housing areas near industrial zones, as it saves transportation costs. But I will not let developers take green areas,” he said.