Mon, 01 Aug 1994

Apartment living is a must now: Surjadi

JAKARTA (JP): Governor Surjadi Soedirdja said that living in apartments in a big city like Jakarta is not a question of culture as some people think, but more a question of conditions.

Speaking during an inspection visit to Kenari, Central Jakarta, over the weekend Surjadi said that it was the condition of overpopulation and lack of land for new housing facilities in the city which forced inhabitants to resort to staying in apartments.

Jakarta, which occupies an area of 650 square kilometers, has a 8.5 million population.

Surjadi said he could understand if there were some people who were reluctant to live in apartments, on the grounds that it is a foreign culture.

"They said they were not accustomed to it, but they should understand that it is not an issue of foreign culture," Surjadi said.

New York residents, Surjadi said as an example, were willing to live in apartments not because it is their culture but they had no other option except to stay there because of the city's overpopulation.

In response to relocation in some areas of the city which usually affected low-income bracket people in slum areas, such as squatters, Surjadi said that the programs were either dictated by the slum improvement projects or the development of an area by private companies.

The programs, said Surjadi, are not at all meant to rid the city of squatters who live in shanties, or poor people.

Many Jakartans, especially lower-income people who are accustomed to living in one-story homes, have been refusing to move to apartments for various reasons despite repeated appeals from city officials. Residents of a big city like Jakarta must gradually accept the fact that they will eventually have to live in apartments, according to city officials.

"Sooner or later, if you want to continue staying here, you all must be willing to stay in apartments," Surjadi said.

Those who are reluctant to live in apartments, according to Surjadi, must go back to hometowns or be prepared to be transmigrated to resettlement areas outside Java. (arf)