“How terrible it is to grow old with memories of youth that consist only of traffic jams, fear of arriving late for work, routine tasks that are uninspiring, and a life like a machine, which will only end in a meager retirement.” (Kentut Kosmopolitan, 2004:205).
Urban design in Indonesia has recently become a “hot topic”, especially since the plan to relocate the State Capital (IKN) has been widely discussed. If the design of cities in the West and developed countries has been completed or has entered the “twilight” era, in Indonesia, still shows enormous potential to change the built environment. One of the triggers for the emergence of urban design as a professional field is the attention to the appearance of the city in three dimensions so an approach is needed to bridge the gap between planning and architecture.
Although the practice of urban design has now reached medium and small cities, as a field of science, urban design is still not as mature as the science of urban planning or other urban studies. This is because this field has such a wide scope, ranging from a very mathematical approach to spatial analysis; highly qualitative socio-cultural discourse in the public sphere; to the interpretation of design quality or aesthetic values that always accompany urban design works, but are difficult to analyze objectively.
Prof. Ir. Evawani Ellisa, M.Eng., Ph.D. in his speech entitled “A Study of History, Context, and Culture in Urban Design Discourse: Reflection and Introspection” divided the manuscript into two parts. The first part contains a study of urban design in terms of history, context, and culture; which begins with a discussion about the birth of urban design by looking at cities in Europe and America. Then, it continued with a study of the figure of a city designer who cannot be separated from the influence of political power and the neoliberal capitalism paradigm.
In the second part, this manuscript focuses on reflection on the tragedy of urban life, namely the ups and downs experienced by big cities in the world by taking the case of the City of London. The discussion then continued by looking at cities in Indonesia, which focused on informal settlement areas, namely the resilience of urban village residents. In both the case of the City of London and the urban village, each illustrates the action-reaction process that always occurs following every event that befalls them. Finally, this manuscript also discusses the post-pandemic city discourse to invite readers to introspect and prepare for future challenges.
According to Prof. Evawani Jakarta cannot be separated from the shackles of the power of capitalism which has changed the face of the city socio-spatially, in the process of capital accumulation which is manifested into new spaces. Quoting the statement of the poet and author Seno Gumira Ajidarma, there is the term “Homo Jakartanensis” which is applied to residents who are described as people who come from the region and try their luck in a city that looks magnificent from the outside but is fragile on the inside.
Informal settlements are areas that develop without formal control from city authorities, and coexist but are not always synonymous with illegal settlements, such as squatters and slums. UN-Habitat records (2006) show that more than 1 billion of the world’s population lives in informal settlements and is estimated to increase to 1.4 billion by 2020. The spread and resilience of informal settlements, especially in the Global South, have been phenomenal even in the last 50 years. the government has made various efforts to stop its growth.
Kampung Cikini RW 01, Pegangsaan Village is a residential enclave in the middle of Central Jakarta. This area was chosen as one of the laboratories for the urban design cluster in the Department of Architects, Faculty of Engineering, Universitas Indonesia (FT UI). “From the 10 years of collaboration that we have done with the village, two premises are concluded. First, the community is a safety valve that keeps residents from falling into the puddles of miserable metropolitan life. Second, the way to express feelings of happiness is very clearly shown by residents in celebrations that involve outsiders and spontaneity is part of their strength,” Prof. Evawani.
In his speech, Prof. Evawani added that cities are imperfect human works. They are between two pendulums; between rising and falling. Cities are an amplification of the great successes and failures of mankind. This manuscript is a series of fragments about the discourse of urban design which is constantly transforming. Therefore, humans and the built environment will continue to adapt without ever reaching a perfect point.
An outward-looking approach needs to be taken to understand the shape of the city holistically, while an inward-looking approach encourages empathy for the city. These two approaches lead the research to the conclusion that the temporality of the city is permanent. Turbulence by market pressures, pandemics, new technologies, social ills, disasters, and a thousand and one urban challenges will drive changes in urban governance and will continue to be a factor that urban design actors must watch out for.
After the speech, Prof. Evawani was officially inaugurated as a Permanent Professor of Urban Design at, the Faculty of Engineering, Universitas Indonesia. The inauguration of professors was led by the Rector of UI, Prof. Ari Kuncoro, SE, MA, Ph.D., at the Makara Art Center and broadcast live virtually through the UI Teve Youtube channel.
The event which was held on Saturday (15/10) was attended by guests, including the Professor of Civil Engineering ITB and Chairman of the Association of Indonesian Construction Experts, Prof. Ir. Iswandi Imran MASc, Ph.D.; President Director of PT JOSO, Thoat Fauzi, IAI; Director of PT Pratama Daya Cahya Manunggal – Steel Bridge Design and Construction Consultant, Ir. Budi Santoso, M.T.; Deputy Director of the Jakarta State Polytechnic Academic Bid, Mrs. Nunung Martina, S.T., M.Sc.; Head of the Ministry of PUPR Bridge Hall, Pandji Krisna Wardana S.T., M.T.; President Director of PT Arkonin, Achmad Noerzaman; CEO of The Wisemen & Company, Jennifer Heryanto; representatives from PT Wiratman, Tantri Heryantina; and Associate Professor of Bioengineering, New York University, Dr.-Ing Azhar Zam, S.Si., M.Sc.
Prof. Evawani is a Lecturer in the Department of Architecture, FT UI. He graduated from Engineer, Department of Architecture, Faculty of Engineering, Gadjah Mada University, in 1986; Master of Environmental Engineering, Graduate School of Environmental Engineering, Urban Planning Laboratory, Osaka University, 1994–1996, sponsored by Monbusho; and Doctor Philosophy of Environmental Engineering, Graduate School of Environmental Engineering, Urban Planning Laboratory, Osaka University, 1996–1999, sponsored by Monbusho.
Some of the latest scientific works published, among others, “Changes in the morphology of Pahandut Palangkaraya City as a Response to the Cultural Shift of Riverside Communities: Postgraduate International Indexed Publication Program (PUTI) 2022”, “Smart and Green City: Utopia/Dystopia? Indonesian Millennial Perspectives on the Migration of IKN Nusantara: PUTI Postgraduate 2022”, “Behind Covid-19: Exploration of the Architecture of the Cikini Kramat Village Community Hall as a Life Support in the 2021 Pandemic Period”, and “The Living Laboratory of Cikini Village in Eco City Live Projects 2019”.
Public Communication Bureau
Faculty of Engineering, Universitas Indonesia