URBAN FARMING: RECONNECTING PEOPLE AND URBAN NATURE Case Study: The Cikapundung River Fringe High Density Settlement in Plesiran, Bandung

 

Urban farming is an effort to overcome the problems that occur in highly populated areas in the city. Some of the issues include the unstandardized physical development to provide people with sufficient space for circulation and vehicles, and the lack of public open space where residents gather. This happens because development and building construction are not conducted in accordance with the land use policy and spatial planning. Improving the environment quality through social, ecological, and economic aspects, urban farming is a right solution for high density areas. It productifies unproductive green open space and balances the proportion of the built-area and the area of vegetation. It is also an income earning and a production for self-consumption. More importantly, it helps to protect the water system, support the conservation of biodiversity, reduce pollutants, produce oxygen, and control solar radiation. Furthermore, it also provides children with environmental education.

This idea was written based on analysis of the existing problems in the densely populated areas in Plesiran that is incorporated with a logical solution synthesized from literature. Urban farming is a solution that is developed based on natural environment. The research inquires how urban farming works to link the life systems, consisting of social system, economic system, and education system in the city. Research was conducted in the Cikapundung fringe area, due to its high density, for two months. Research data was obtained from observations and interviews with community leader and residents at the research site.

Previous research and observations show the enthusiasm of the Plesiran local communities of the highly-populated Plesiran area, where this research is conducted, to be green customers and consumers, who obtain food from natural sources directly. This is in line with the concept of urban farming, which aims to make the city as both producer and consumer. Therefore, to applied urban farming to this area needs activist from communities, academics, or from the residents in the Plesiran. The activist make an opportunities to the stake holders and socialized the concept with the small group. And the choosen group will applied urban farming to be an example to influece others residents. This method is approach from micro strategy. Or the activist make an event to contribute the residents, stake holders, government, academics and communities like greening Cikapundung river fringe with growing bananas.

Urban farming can be applied in the Plesiran area with some effective strategies such as Integrated Community Development with relevant stakeholders, the implementation of urban farming in the city of Bandung, the implementation of government policies that support internal programs, and strengthening customer in the green area of the city.

The application of urban farming in the Plesiran area requires an internal fortification by the community and the development of green area by increasing the number of customers. Therefore, a supportive community has to be established; it is a community that is able to cultivate the lands in the city and make them productive to implement the strategy. In the Plesiran area, the effort was facilitated by government agencies, Non-Governmental Organizations (NGOs), academics communities and financially supported by the Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) section of several retail companies in Bandung. Assisting small traders in developing micro economics, these companies give supports of sustainable environment both economically and ecologically. However, the status of the land has brought a problem to the residents who are in fact illegal inhabitants of the area. As the goverment document regulates the use of the area as a conservative area, residents feel uncertain about the improvement program that they undertake for their environment. The possibility to be evicted by the government if the regulation is to be executed someday has discouraged the residents. Urban farming is a good solution to call for citizens’ participation in their life improvement and city conservation.

Although urban farming was applied on a small part of Bandung, but this activity serves as a model of community empowerment in improving the economic, social and physical environment that can be applied in other cities in Indonesia and even other similar communities in the world.

 

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