n December,Arkom Jokja
hosted the 2nd national meeting of Indonesia’s community architects network in Yogya. Students, professionals, local government representatives and community members who help ACCA projects in Indonesia were invited to learn from each other and share their knowledge to strengthen the network and bring dignity to community architects in Indonesia. Representatives from the movement in Yogyakarta, Solo, Semarang, Surabaya, Jakarta, Bandung and Makassar met together in Jokja, and found the same spirit across the cities.
We heard inspiring stories from our seniors Antonio Ismael, Marco Kusumawijaya and others as well as the chairman of the Institute of Architecture of Indonesia (IAI). Though its role is to bring together all architects’ activities in Indonesia, until now IAI has stayed away from pro-poor dialogue and doesn’t have a scheme to integrate settlement upgrading. The hope was IAI would give a statement expressing the importance of community architecture in urban development, while recognising the position of community architect as a professional under IAI regulation so that young professionals and students can choose community architecture as a career.
Half of the 40 participants were students. Students of architecture in Indonesia learn the technical aspects rather than social aspects of building, or the real situation of urban poor and people-led approaches to slum upgrading. So it’s crucial to introduce community architecture, community organising and the greater issues of housing for the poor to the upcoming generation of architects, and give them an opportunity to get involved hands-on in slum upgrading.
Since the river settlement planning workshop hosted by Arkomjokja in Yogya last May, some University lecturers have become curious in the approach of community architecture, and have brought students to get involved in various ACCA projects. We discussed how to build on this growing interest, and strengthen our young network. On behalf of Indonesia’s ‘older brothers’ Philippines and Thailand, where the movement is more mature, Vhal and Ploy shared valuable insights on CAN’s growth. Compared with the 1st national meeting 3 years ago everyone is more aware of the critical need to involve young professionals in settlement upgrading in Indonesia, and more optimistic that the Indonesian network will continue to grow.