Action to support sustainable urban riverside neighbourhoods

Since 1950, Jakarta has experienced the phenomena of explosive population growth.
Migrants flooded to Jakarta for economic reasons and in search of employment, bringing
pressure to bear on housing. Growing numbers of migrants took to informal housing in the form of squatter communities, known as kampungs, along the 13 riverbanks crisscrossing the city of Jakarta. The dense riverside settlements have added huge pressure on the environment, traffic and air quality as the rivers are choked with human waste and garbage, creating serious health threats. Although Indonesian law forbids settlements along riverbanks which serve as water catchment areas, 3.5 million settlers continue to house themselves there as the only means of housing they can afford in Jakarta.

The Jakarta Urgent Flood Mitigation Project (JUFMP) was launched in 2013 to reduce
runoff, waste contamination and flood prevention along the Ciliwung river. The operational plan includes the widening of the river to a minimum width of 50 metres, include greenery and low-cost river transportation for the public. To make way for this, 34,000 residents from the various riverside communities across Jakarta are due for eviction from their current homes, according to the Resettlement Policy Framework.

Even though the JUFMP is good for the flood mitigation of the city of Jakarta, there is
strong resistance from the riverside communities. Resistance stems from residents who do not wish to move into rental housing that is located on a different site, fearing disruption of their social networks and livelihoods. There are also issues of those residents who have formal and informal title deeds to the land without adequate compensation, notice or due process. In order to mitigate the effects of loss of income from livelihoods and to provide a more sustainable living option for residents affected by the resettlement, we considered various policy alternatives.

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