• City to build more parks next year

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    In a bid to increase the number of green areas in the city, the administration plans to convert 20 hectares of land to parks.

    Jakarta parks and cemeteries agency chief Catharina Suryowati said increasing the number of green areas in Jakarta had always been the main job of the agency every year.

    “This year, we have converted about 10-15 hectares of land. And next year, I hope it can reach about 20 hectares,” she told The Jakarta Post on Wednesday.

    Catharina said the agency had purchased the land that was spread over 21 locations in the city’s five municipalities.

    Among the locations are Cilangkap in East Jakarta, Mohammad Kafi in South Jakarta and Kebagusan in South Jakarta.

    “We just don’t buy the land and merely convert it into green space. We also want it to become a place for people to interact,” she said.

    She said that some of the parks would have at least a jogging track, space for people to exercise, a playground for children and a place for people to just hang out.

    Some others would become more like small city forests, she added.

    “Interactive parks of a size of between 200 and 1,000 square meters with additional functions are usually located in residential areas. While city parks are more than 1,000 square meters,” she said.

    Catharina said the city currently had only 90 interactive parks, far less than the 500 the agency had

    The biggest problem, she said, was that so few residents wanted to sell their lands to the agency.

    “It’s a difficult task, but we’re always trying to hit our target. My hope is that every year, the sub-agencies can turn at least two lots in residential areas into interactive parks,” she said.

    The Jakarta administration has set a target of 34.51 percent of the city’s 662 square kilometers to be green space by 2030.

    Currently, only 10.95 percent of Jakarta’s open space is utilized as green areas, which fails to meet an earlier spatial planning target of reserving 13.9 percent of the city for green areas by the end of 2010.

    This year, the agency has closed 27 gas stations throughout the capital and turned them into green and public spaces.

    The area previously occupied by the 27 gas stations constitutes 4 percent of Jakarta’s total green space.

    Urban analyst and the coordinator for non-profit organization Jakarta Green Map (JGM), Nirwono Joga, said that JGM had found that there was about 16 percent of privately owned land in Jakarta that had the potential to be altered into green space.

    “If the administration could acquire 10 percent of that, the target could be reached faster. But there has to be some kind of mechanism, like giving incentives to the owners, so they will happily sell or even donate their lands for green areas,” he said.
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