Jakarta’s City Park
Lapangan Merdeka (Independence Park)
in a Different Perspective

The Independence Park, as the greatest open space in the Jakarta city (and probably the country’s largest open space) are Located right in the middle of the city, three sides of the park are 1000 meters long and the fourth side of 800 meters long. This park is indeed an enormous green open space that one could possibly enjoy nowhere else in the city.

But the first necessity in understanding how cities and their parks influence each other is to throw out confusion between real uses and mythical uses of a park. It’s a disgrace if the authority of Jakarta would only call this park as “Monas – the lungs of the Jakarta city” . It takes about three acres of woods to absorb as much carbon-dioxide as four people exude in breathing, cooking and heating. The oceans of air circulating about us, not parks, keep cities from suffocating.

For a comparison, Los Angeles – which need lung help more than any other American cityhappen to have more open space than any other large city. The pollution is owing partly to local eccentricities of circulation in the ocean of air and the city’s disperse and amplitude of open space itself. The air and open land paradox is this: in modern cities generous scatters of open space promote air pollution instead of combating it. (read more about it in Jane Jacobs: The Death and Life of Great American Cities).

So even if the authority subtracts streets and adding their square meters to parks or project malls is irrelevant to the quantities of fresh air that a city would receives. While we get rid of the idea that parks would be the answer of Jakarta’s air pollution problem, then we must see park in different perspective. Parks intensely used in generalized public-yard fashion tend to have 4 elements in their design which Jane Jacobs called them Intricacy, Centering, Sun and Enclosure.