Community Water Champions create a water sensitive vision for kampungs in Bogor City

Dense urban areas, floods and droughts, hot temperatures, air pollution, safe drinking water and sanitation are all challenges faced by Indonesian cities. How can local communities in Indonesia deal with urbanisation and climate change and ensure that the environment is protected and that residents can live healthy and happy lives?

In Australia, Singapore and China, the Water Sensitive City (WSC) approach is helping to address these challenges and guide infrastructure investment and city planning towards a more liveable, resilient and sustainable future. The WSC vision is of a city designed on water-friendly principles, that uses holistic water management to create beautiful green and blue urban spaces, and that promotes healthy and prosperous communities.

Water Sensitive City workshop

The AIC Urban Water research Cluster, led by Monash University, Institut Pertanian Bogor and Universitas Indonesia, recently held workshops with the communities of Pulo Geulis and Griya Katulampa in Bogor to better understand the different ways these residents interact with water in their daily lives, how they envision their community in the future and how water could contribute to these aspirations.

These ‘community visioning’ workshops were hosted by each community, with residents participating on a voluntary basis and divided into small groups of men, women and youth. Researchers guided each group to explore their aspirations for their community and create a vision for a more liveable and healthy future.

Community members identified points of interest on satellite images of their kampung. (Credit: AIC)

Starting with a community mapping exercise, the groups sat around satellite images of their kampung (village) identifying different points of interest such as their homes, markets, schools, public places or religious buildings and shared their views on why these places mattered and what they liked about them. Researchers noted comments such as “The park with the playground is really good for us to hang out after school and have fun” and “We really like that we live so close to the river even if it can be dangerous when it rains a lot.”

Next each group explored problems relating to water, sanitation and hygiene, using a problem tree approach to unpack underlying factors, or the ‘roots’ of the problem, and the direct and indirect effects of these factors, the ‘branches’. Raul Marino, an expert in Water Sensitive Urban Design explained that “a problem tree is a powerful tool for understanding the relationships between different issues in a neighbourhood as well as how causes and effects interact. Problem trees visualize how one issue can lead to multiple negative conditions.”

A problem tree was used to unpack underlying factors of problems identified, and the direct and indirect effects of those factors. (Credit: AIC)

Each group of residents also took researchers on guided walks around their kampung giving a hands-on opportunity to explore together the various spatial characteristics of the neighbourhood. Residents shared their thoughts on what they like about their neighbourhood, the multiple uses of each urban space, problems with existing infrastructure, and how all that changes throughout the seasons.

Urban Water researchers are now evaluating the key learnings from the community visioning workshops. By combining these insights with those of government and industry officials who participated in city-scale visioning activities, a shared vision for all stakeholder groups will be defined and used as the basis for creating water sensitive urban design concepts for Bogor Raya.

By envisioning water sensitive futures and helping to define current challenges, the men, women and youth of Pulo Geulis and Griya Katulampa have helped the Urban Water researchers to better understand the challenges faced by communities right across Bogor.