We have spent the last few days presenting our initial ideas to the community, getting feedback and further developing them. The Tongkol and Krapu kampungs, which both lie on the Ciliwung river in northern Jakarta, are separated by a narrow, barren stretch of land. There was previously some housing on this land that was demolished by the city authorities some time ago due to a law that buildings must be no less than 5m from the banks of the river. The leaders of the two communities, and the Lodan kampung on the other side of the river, expressed a wish to reactivate this area and to create a space for community activities. We came up with the idea of building a covered stage that would overhang the river. As well as having a practical function as a venue for cultural activities, and giving a purpose to an otherwise desolate place, the structure – occupying space above the river than on the land – would also serve as an ironic commentary on the authorities’ destructive policies.
We held a public meeting in the mosque in Krapu kampung on Sunday night to present this plan. We then prepared sketches and a model for a smaller meeting with village leaders the following evening. They were very interested in our idea and also contributed a lot of useful practical advice. We were delighted to receive their approval for our plans and prepared to start working the next day.