Dencity 2016: Special Mention

Kampung Value

Entry by: James Connor, Tahj Rosmarin

Site Location

Tamansari Kampung is a densely settled area along the banks of the Cikapundung River in northern Bandung, Indonesia. Located approximately 5km from the Bandung city centre, the kampung sits between Bandung’s main education district and the famous shopping tourist street Jalan Cihampelas. The Kampung is home to many residents who gain employment in the thriving informal economy that caters to the needs of students and tourists who frequent the area. It is a dynamic site where modern meets traditional and formal meets informal.

The strategic location of the Kampung means that the future development of the site is contentious. Currently, the Bandung city government wishes to develop the site in line with the image of a modern ‘world class’ city. It is aiming to achieve this by focusing on the development of infrastructure to serve tourists and the revitalization of the river and river edge for the public good. Although local residents agree that infrastructure must be upgraded and the condition of the river improved, they are concerned about their future and the threat of relocation.


Before arriving to Indonesia, our initial perceptions of informality were largely based on development processes and the dichotomy between formal and informal building typologies. Witnessing the culture first hand, we have discovered that informality in Indonesia is in fact all encompassing. There is no single conceptualization of informality- it is a phenomenon which spans a multitude of different social processes and sectors. During our two weeks of intensive fieldwork and study of the Cikapundung Kampung, we discovered the many levels and layers of urban informality. To look back and compare the UN’s definition of a slum to the Cikapundung Kampung- we found it extremely difficult to label this well established, vibrant and dynamic community as a slum.

Our findings reveal, that underneath the socially ingrained negative perception of the Kampung, lives a thriving culture – rich with social capital that the formal sector seems to lack. The urban form and streetscapes within the site should be seen as a valuable and irreplaceable asset of Bandung’s culture. Our point of view is that heritage is dynamic, what is valued constantly changes as a society and even though settlements such as Cikapundung Kampung are not valued currently, we see that in the future these urban settlements will be an important part of Bandung’s urban character.

Social networks, which are difficult to identify without on-site investigation, thrive within the Kampung and are intrinsically linked to the settlement’s physical urban character. It is these social inter-relations that we consider to be the Kampung’s most valuable asset. As such, the Cikapundung Kampung offers an alternative model to urban life in Bandung, one that harnesses the ideals of a positive and sociable community.

Identifying the Existing Qualities of the Kampung

After compiling our research into existing qualities (typologies, social activities, infrastructure, etc), the project began through assessing the positive and negative qualities of the settlement. Through doing this, it became immediately clear about what the project should aim to retain and build upon, and what should be considered for immediate improvement. It became obvious that the project should not propose something alien and foreign, but rather work within the existing fragile kampung eco-sytem as a method of bringing about positive urban change.

Design and Construction Guidelines

The development of design guidelines were used as a tool in recognizing and legitimizing the positive existing qualities of the Kampung, through architectural and bureaucratic means. Instead of attempting to formalize the informal, these design guidelines were made to encourage flexible urban development throughout the settlement. Existing habits of development were used as a starting point, and as a result, many architectural specificities were intentionally left open to interpretation from residents of the Kampung. This participatory framework can be most obviously observed within the construction guidelines. Despite this intentional ambiguity, a series of very clear and purposeful rules (concerning matters such as density, access to emergency services, streetscape,etc) were strongly enforced in the guidelines.

As a method of demonstrating the application of these design guidelines, three important Kampung typologies were used: a community building, housing and public open space.

Typologies: Community Building, Housing and Public Space

Through our fieldwork and research, we identified a number of important building typologies that help construct the character of the Kampung’s built environment. Through applying our design and construction guidelines to each of these typologies, we attempted to demonstrate the multitude of potential architectural outcomes.

Within each typology (community building, housing and public space) we developed three sub-typologies as a way of demonstrating the flexible outcomes of these guidelines, and their huge potential in responding to many contexts and situations. Each of these exemplar typologies aim at explicitly addressing many key issues found within the Kampung- through a delicate and site-responsive application into their context.


We envisage the masterplan as a way of stimulating a multitude of sites within the Kampung. Instead of focusing the outcomes of our design processes upon one particular site, our approach is far more encompassing- by factoring for an assortment of varying design outcomes, our masterplan aims at addressing the transient nature of urban growth within the informal settlement. The flaws of many urban scale developments of this nature, lay in their failure to recognize the multi layered complexities of community-oriented living. In order for any urban development to be successful, the settlement of the Cikapundung Kampung cannot be read as a singular, homogenous community.

As uncovered through our first hand research, the Kampung is constructed of many individual sub-communities, most physically made obvious through the form of the RW. The masterplan operates, through recognizing the many communities that operate in the settlement, and allowing them to decide upon the direction of their own futures. The creation of communal civic centres within each community aims at partnering the already apparent strong sense of community, alongside a healthy model for urban growth. Communal civic centres will be designed in a way that is highly customized to their context; both in a social and physical sense. A community building project will anchor these civic centres- they will be built by the community, for the community. These communal social spaces are encouraged to morph and develop independently, while still adhering to the basic requirements specified in the design guidelines.

New housing typologies are able to be inserted incrementally around these developments, as a method of demonstrating alternative models for urban housing. As a way of providing clear emergency access for the Kampung, these new developments would also contain essential infrastructural components. Through providing clear emergency vehicular access to each civic centre, each community building is then able to service an immediate surrounding area. This system provides equitable emergency access to residents of the Kampung, while still ensuring that the sensitive and permeable street network of its built fabric remains unaltered.

The final component of the masterplan involves the incremental creation of an ecological and social spine along the length of the Cikapundung riverfront. Through a process of community consultation and land acquisition, the masterplan envisages the creation of a public river edge. Public open spaces, which vary in scale and function, would line the river bank and provide a network of much needed green open space. This public riverfront would encourage a healthy relationship between the fragile ecology of the river, and the basic social needs of the the Kampung’s residents.

Creating a Framework for Growth

Through community consultation and the resultant development of design guidelines, the overall purpose of the project is to legitimize the existing urban growth of the kampung. In the same way in which formal cities have developed their own ‘rules’ for growth, this project ultimately creates a framework in which the Cikapundung Kampung is able to grow and develop in a healthy
and sustainable manner.

About the entrant

James Connor is a graduate of the Bachelor of Architectural Design from the University of Queensland and a current student of the Master of Architecture at the University of Melbourne. Since graduating in 2012, James has gained experience working on a variety of residential and urban projects in both Australia and the United Kingdom. James wants to play a positive role in making sure that urban resilience, citizen participation and inclusive development are key priorities in the cities of the future. James is interested in involving community in the delivery of architectural projects: he is currently participating in the Bower Studio at the University of Melbourne ( which delivers build/consult/design projects for communities around rural Australia, Thailand and Papua New Guinea.

Tahj Rosmarin is a graduate of the Bachelor of Architectural Design from the University of Queensland and a current student of the Master of Architecture at the University of Melbourne. He is currently completing an exchange semester at TU Delft in the Netherlands. Since graduating in 2012, Tahj has gained experience working on a varied collection of design proposals; ranging from small- scale residential projects, to large scale urban design work. Through these experiences Tahj has gained skills and abilities ranging from presentation to working drawings. Through projects such as this, Tahj has become keenly involved in the idea of a bottom up and participatory based architecture. He has recently been shortlisted in a nationwide Dutch competition (A Home Away from Home, openoproep/) run by the Chief Government Architect, which aims at providing temporary housing for incoming Syrian refuges into Holland.