Transforming Lives: Human and Cities

First Speaker : Ame Engelhart of SOM Hongkong

Second Speaker : Michael King of ITDP New York

Third Speaker : Helle Søholt

Fourth Speaker : Alwi Sjaaf

UPH, with IAI, ITB and UI, hosted an Urban seminar titled Transforming Lives:Human & Cities on February 25th, 2016. Located at BPPT Auditorium on the third level, the seminar featured four distinguished speakers to discuss various subjects on Urban Design.

The first speaker was Ame Engelhart from Skidmore, Owings, and Merrill, Hongkong. Her topic was Livability. In her presentation, she cited various sources and a definition regarding Livability. Unfortunately at this point in time, Jakarta is near the bottom of every livability study ever conducted. There is very little connectivity to Information, very little connectivity to public transport and to people’s movement in general. On top of that, compared to various Southeast Asean cities, Jakarta is very limited in its green space. Ms. Engelhart cited that Singapore with a higher density in population has 47% of green space but Jakarta has only 8-9% of green space.  She argued for a walk-able grid within Jakarta, a sense of identity and community in each and every neighborhood to define scale, a medium density of 10-12 stories building, a 400 meter walk-able neighborhood. Even though Jakarta is near the bottom of every study, Ms. Engelhart is still optimistic in the future of Jakarta as a “livable” city.

The second speaker was Michael King from Institute of Transportation and Development Policy. His presentation is about the speed of vehicles in cities and how to navigate and find solutions between the interactions of vehicles and pedestrians.  Mr. King emphasizes on using every area of the city that is unused for pedestrian, finding solutions around a street intersection to slow vehicles and make it safer for pedestrians to navigate the streets. He did not try to re-invent or to re-structure the city per se but his solutions always start from the existing condition of a particular street or area and, using orange cones, to conduct studies and study the patterns that emerge from that particular problem.

The third speaker after the lunch break was Helle Søholt from Gehl Architects. Her topic was Life between Buildings. She posted a couple of theories that cities should be a fine grain network for people and cities should have spaces supporting communities. She also mentioned that to create Space between Life and Buildings there should a Political Effort. In all of Gehl projects that Ms. Søholt presented, there is an underlying theme that people, regardless of culture, race, and religions, have the same activity which is “People Watching”. To summarize her presentation, Ms. Søholt postulated four principles of Life between Buildings : To Assemble not disperse, To Integrate not segregate, To Invite not repel, To open up not closing in.

The last speaker was Alwi Sjaaf. His topic was Human, Cities, Dreams. In his presentation, Mr. Sjaaf shared his dreams of future Jakarta by showing the current conditions of Jakarta and its population and contrasting it with examples of developed urban strategies from Korea and New York. He gave examples of certain areas in Jakarta such as Gunung Sahari and Kampung Bandan. Lastly, he asked and urged the attendees to have the same dream which is to have a better future of Jakarta and its inhabitants.