- Cowherd, Robert and Heikkila, E. “Orange County, Java: Hybridity, Social Dualism and an Imagined West.” In: Heikkila, E. And Pizarro, R., Eds. Southern California and the World. Praeger Publishers, Westport. 2002.
- Hogan, T & Houston, C. “Corporate Cities: Urban Gateways or Gated Communities Against the City? The Case of Lippo, Jakarta.” In: Tim Bunnel, Lisa Drummond, Ho Kong Chong Eds. Critical Reflections on Cities in Southeast Asia. Brill Academic Publishers, Tokyo. 2002. Pp. 243-264.
- Winarso, H. “Urban Dualism in the Jakarta Metropolitan Area.” In: Sorenson, A. and J. Okata Eds. Megacities: Urban Form, Governance and Sustainability. Springer, Tokyo. 2011.
- Kusno, A. Behind the Postcolonial: Architecture, Urban Space and Political Cultures in Indonesia. Routledge, London. 2000.
- Leisch, H. “Structures and Functions of Private New Towns in Jabotebek.” In: Nas, P.J.M. Ed. The Indonesian New Town Revisited. Lit Verag, Germany. 2002.
type of New Town:
> scale of autonomy
BSD City, designed by Doxiadis & Associates, is one of the only case studies that follows the new town design principles from the previous century. BSD has neighborhood units, local schools, and services. The city was designed to support Jakarta’s exploding population, but has since become an enclave for wealthy citizens. Existing native communities have been slowly engulfed by the spreading new town, leaving some traditional kampungs stranded with no road access into or out of the village.
BSD City was initiated by a cartel of ten well-known Indonesian developers. Their so-called Metropolitan Consortium was led by Indonesian real estate mogul Ciputra. The consortium established the PT Bumi Serpong Damai Tbk (PT BSD) company in 1984 to manage the development as a subsidiary of the Ciputra Group. PT BSD then hired Pacific Consultants International, Japan City Planning Inc., Nihon Architects Engineers and Consultants Inc., and Doxiadis Associates to plan the new town. Doxiadis Associates’ involvement spanned from 1994 until 1997, and focused on infrastructure, master planning and more detailed planning of the CBD. In 1994, PT BSD commissioned Doxiadis and Associates S.A., in collaboration with John Portman and Associates and PT Encona Engineering, to design the Revised Master Plan of Bumi Serpong Damai New City.
From a developer’s perspective, Bumi Serpong Damai, better known as BSD City, is one of the success stories of new town planning. Busy restaurants, malls and international trade centres are testament to the city’s commercial viability. Housing has doubled in value – despite two economic meltdowns. For the past 40 years, Indonesians developers and politicians have marketed an image of the developed west as a model for local planning practice. Middle-class Indonesians, seduced by this narrative of ‘modernism’ and ‘lifestyle’, wanted single-family houses in gated communities. BSD, a product of the top ten Indonesian developers, supplied just that: a low-density haven where ‘safety and security’ comes first.
At 60 km2, BSD City is truly a huge new town - roughly half the size of Paris. Since only one quarter of this massive area is currently developed, the availability of space presents a definitive advantage, especially in a country where two thirds of the rural labour force is expected to migrate to the city over the next twenty years. Thus BSD’s major selling points (marketed as the city’s ‘Five Pillars’) remain in demand: Size, Accessibility, Facilities, Infrastructure, and Environment are not likely to go out of fashion any time soon.
The ‘Five Pillars’ are a way of attracting interest and carving an identity in a market flooded with similar new town options. Size is an obvious advantage, and BSD’s accessibility is equally apparent. Only 40 minutes west of downtown Jakarta via the Jakarta-Merak toll road, BSD is strategically situated for automobile owners.
Accessibility is increased by three daily shuttle buses to downtown Jakarta, as well as a commuter train connection. BSD City is also located just 30 minutes from the Soekarno-Hatta International Airport, a key issue for frequent flyers.
In terms of facilities, some of BSD’s more stand-out options include a Jack Nicklaus-designed eighteen-hole golf course, tennis courts, Olympic-size swimming pools and Ocean Park, which is a Canadian-designed water adventure park. There is upscale shopping, dining and multiple cinemas. In line with the city’s family-friendly approach, there are also 63 national and international schools, including the Swiss-German University, Deutsche Internationale Schule and Sinarmas World School.
Infrastructure is one of the new city’s most appealing assets. Limited public transport options and long commutes make cars the primary means of transportation in most Jakarta Metropolitan Region (JMR) new towns, and BSD is no different. The toll road developed in tandem with BSD was approached as one way of reducing the resulting traffic congestion. For this new city, infrastructure development and expansion have coincided with population growth. A modern four-lane road system runs throughout the city, connecting it to the toll road. BSD City is also powered by a reliable energy supply and network-readiness is ensured by integrated fiber optic cables. Drains and canals are part of the new town’s flood management infrastructure.
The city’s focus on environment, however, is limited to a fairly narrow understanding of the term. Maintenance of the extensive green spaces and commitment to securing the perimeter make up the extent of BSD’s environmental commitment.
The master plan designed by Doxiadis Associates and John Portman & Associates is roughly shaped like an upside-down letter ‘U’. The central axis is occupied by the riverfront Central Business District. Flanking the CBD on the east side, a large golf course covers both banks of the meandering Cisadane River. The majority of housing is low rise, single-family homes. Indigenous communities (kampungs, (traditional Malay villages) are built into the urban fabric, enveloped by the newer construction.
In the built version, the new town deviates slightly from the master plan. The CBD is moved to the west, at the intersection of two main arteries. Institutional and educational facilities lie just to the west of the CBD, on the edge of the developed land. To the east, commercial and office buildings flank the riverside. Across the Cisedane to the north, Damai Indah Golf course follows the curving path of the water, while more commercial, office and medical facilities lie just to the east in a second, smaller CBD. The main bus terminal and taxi stands are south of this second CBD, along the BSD-Indah toll road. The rest of the city is largely residential, with religious buildings, schools, public parks and recreational amenities built into the design at regular intervals.
Unlike some other developments in the JMR, a great variety of both housing types and sizes was actually planned into the design. In the Doxiadis masterplan, high-income, middle-income and low-income neighbourhoods were differentiated at an urban scale solely by plot size—organization and layout were otherwise indistinguishable. The high-income plots averaged 600 m2, middle-income plots were around 240 m2 and low-income single-family houses occupied plots of about 60 m2. High- and middle-income neighbourhoods were identical: a school, open space, and a mosque, occupied the centre of each neighbourhood, while two mid-rise housing blocks and two commercial buildings symmetrically flanked a main access road. Single-family houses filled the rest of the site in small groupings accessed by cul-de-sacs. In the low-income neighbourhood the mid-rise housing was dismissed, the single exception to an otherwise perfect copy. This neighbourhood-based organization is a hallmark of mid-20th century new town design, and testament to the Doxiadis office’s expertise in new town planning.
Within the new town, three income levels (high, middle, low) are assigned to sixteen corresponding sectors. Low-income sectors are placed along the southern periphery of the city, middle income sectors form a sort of buffer zone in the more central areas, while high-income sectors occupy the northern edge of the city, closest to downtown Jakarta. BSD City currently has fourteen inhabited residential areas, all of which are individually gated communities. These include: The Green, Green Cove, Virginia Lagoon, De Latinos, Foresta, Neo Catalonia, The Castilla, Sevilla, de Park, The Icon, Virginia Minimalist, Taman Tirta Golf, Provence Parkland, Vermont and Pavilion Residence. Perhaps tellingly, three of the neighbourhood names reference Spain, while three others conjure American associations, giving buyers a sense of internationalism. The neighbourhoods are further broken down into residential sub-clusters.
Architecturally, BSD City’s design imagery is non-specific, without any reference whatsoever to either indigenous (pribumi) or Islamic styles. Instead, the architectural style could be classified as modern or ‘contemporary’ design, characterized by flat roofscapes, large blocks of colour, stuccoed concrete walls, rectilinear lines and quadrilateral voids. There is no coherent attempt to reinterpret either foreign or local vernaculars. The absence of Islamic design elements is provocative in the world’s largest Muslim country. In fact, BSD is hardly singular in this aspect; all the JMR new towns are known for this type of design.
BSD City has experienced a slow and steady expansion since breaking ground in 1991. The new town was originally planned to house 600,000 people by 2005 on about 6,000 hectares. But due to BSD’s slow growth pattern, as late as 2004 only 1,466 residential units had been built.
By 2010, the population had grown to roughly 100,000 and yet three-quarters of the total area remains in its original state, awaiting bulldozers. There are plans to construct another 150,000 houses before 2020, and the developer’s ambitious target population is one million inhabitants.
The new town had garnered a variety of design awards, including a Real-estate Indonesia award for best design, the Pioneer Best New Township award in 2004, and a No. 1 ranking in Golf Digest’s list of top Indonesian courses. BSD City is also the winner of several international awards, including one for environment-friendly property and The Golden Project Award, given in recognition of various aspects of the development such as consistency, composition and something described as ‘the quality of occupancy.’
Despite the city’s successes, BSD City faces isolation of social and economic groups intensified by recent urban planning trends in Indonesian new town development segregating classes.