Bandung by Design

Bandung Then and Now

Early references to Bandung date back to the late 15th Century. The pastoral indigenous people of Sunda lived on the banks of the Cikapundung River and the large lake North of Bandung. They farmed the regiona��s fertile hinterlands and developed lively traditional cultures, including theater and music. The Europeans eventually built a road connecting Batavia (colonial Jakarta) with Bandung in 1786. Movement increased on this road when in 1809, Napoleon, then ruler of The Netherlands, ordered Governor-General Daendels to heighten defense in Java against the British. The Great Post Road (groote postweg) was built shortly thereafter and Daendels ordered relocation of the regional capital near this road. The Regent of Bandung chose a site South of this road on the western banks of the Cikapundung. On this site, he built a palace and the city square (alun-alun). Following traditional orientations, the Grand Mosque was placed on its western side, the public market on the East, with the Regenta��s residence and meeting place (pendopo) on the South facing Mount Tangkuban Perahu. Thus, the origins of Bandung began.

The Traditional City (1810-1900)

Early references to Bandung date back to the late 15th Century. The pastoral indigenous people of Sunda lived on the banks of the Cikapundung River and the large lake North of Bandung. They farmed the regiona��s fertile hinterlands and developed lively traditional cultures, including theater and music. The Europeans eventually built a road connecting Batavia (colonial Jakarta) with Bandung in 1786. Movement increased on this road when in 1809, Napoleon, then ruler of The Netherlands, ordered Governor-General Daendels to heighten defense in Java against the British. The Great Post Road (groote postweg) was built shortly thereafter and Daendels ordered relocation of the regional capital near this road. The Regent of Bandung chose a site South of this road on the western banks of the Cikapundung. On this site, he built a palace and the city square (alun-alun). Following traditional orientations, the Grand Mosque was placed on its western side, the public market on the East, with the Regenta��s residence and meeting place (pendopo) on the South facing Mount Tangkuban Perahu. Thus, the origins of Bandung began.

The Colonial City (1900-1945)

Light industry ourished with the introduction of the railroad, as did the development of Chinatown. In the early 20th Century, change from a military to civilian colonial government brought upon the policy of decentralization to relieve administrative burdens of the central government. Thus Bandung became a municipality in 1906. City Hall was built at the North end of Braga Street to accommodate the new municipal government, followed by large-scale development of the military headquarters and its facilities after being moved from Batavia to Bandunga��s eastern district in 1920. By the 1920s, the need for skilled professionals brought establishment of a technical school in Bandung. The city was extended North, designed within the principles of European Garden Cities, with the plan to move the colonial capital from Batavia to Bandung. The capital district was placed in a scenic area at the Northeast and a grand avenue was to face Tangkuban Perahu, with the main colonial government building, Gedung Sate, situated at the South end. Flanking this grand boulevard was to be ministry buildings of the colonial government.

Situated near the lush East banks of the Cikapundung River is the campus of the Technische Hoogeschool (now the Institute of Technology Bandung). The historic campus buildings and landscape re ect the genius creativity of its architect, Henri Maclaine Pont. The southwestern section of the city was reserved for a hospital and medical institute. These developments were carefully planned down to the architectural and infrastructure details, thus characterizing the years shortly before World War II as the a�?golden eraa�� in Bandunga��s historical development.

The Developing City (1945-1990)

In 1946, facing the failed attempt of the Colonial Dutch to return to Indonesia after her independence, residents chose to burn down their beloved city in what has become known as a�?Bandung, Ocean of Flamesa�� (Bandung Lautan Api). They ed to the regiona��s southern hills, and the patriotic anthem of a�?Hallo-Hallo Bandunga�� fueled their promise of return to the city. Political unrest then ared in the country during early years of independence and people ocked to seek refuge in Bandung. Thus between the 1940s and 1960s, population grew four-fold to reach 1 million inhabitants. Economic growth following the 1970s oil boom pushed population to 2 million inhabitants within the greater Bandung region in 1990. As home to a large number of higher education institutions, there is a vibrant collegiate and tolerant atmosphere with students from around the country. Excellent creative-based cultural activities have also formed an art and design community of great stature. The Master Plan of 1971 envisioned Bandung at the regional scale to become a metropolitan center surrounded by satellite towns. At local level, the city is divided into several functional zones and residential districts. The northern area is identi ed with administration, education and tourism- related uses; the central spine with commerce, tourism and cultural uses; and the southern area with industrial uses. The municipality made an evaluation of the Master Plan in 1985, introducing three levels of planning: at the level of the city as a whole, at the level of the district, and at the technical level. In 1987, the city extended its administrative boundaries toward the conception of Greater Bandung (Bandung Raya) which include plans for higher concentrations of development outside the current city center. The city of Bandung is now a highly urban entity, affected by tendencies that are more or less kept in creative balance by a still present and visible urban structure.

Creative Environments

Compared to other cities in Indonesia, Bandunga��s creative culture differs in the sense that it is closely related to human creativity. Whereas Yogyakarta is best known as the center of a�?traditionala�� culture, Bali for a�?religiousa�� based culture and Jakarta for a�?commerciala�� related culture, Bandung can be described as a city of a�?creative culturea��, hence the vision a�?Creative Citya��.

Regarding architecture and urbanism as a creative cultural process in the context of Indonesia, a unique postcolonial perspective argues that whereas architecture and urbanism in the colonial and postcolonial world have generally been understood in relation to European domination, representations of colonial political culture have been revised and rearticulated in postcolonial Indonesia, as a colonial gift inherited by the postcolonial state.

a�� the city of Bandung is the intellectual heart of the country. Home to nearly fty universities, a�� it is part college town, part colonial hill station, and part industrial center. Higher, drier and cooler than Jakarta, a�� Bandung is also an arts center. Some of the countrya��s top artists are based here, supplementing their incomes with teaching jobs at local institutions and enjoying a less frantic pace than their colleagues in Jakarta.

Colin Pearson

Indonesia: Design and Culture - 1998

In 1999, the municipal government of Bandung established a strategic vision for the city labeled as a�?Greater Bandung 2020: Friendly and Smarta��. Smart refers to being a�?dynamic, ef cient, productive, creative and innovativea��, while Friendly refers to being a�?well-organized, safe, quiet, religious, clean, healthy, fresh, agro-based, interesting, natural, humanized, harmonic and prosperousa��. The local government has also positioned the city of Bandung as a a�?Service Citya��. This vision was developed to optimize the potential of Bandung in meeting challenges of economic globalization in terms of social, cultural, political, economic and sustainability aspects. Several policies have been established to achieve this vision. Economically, the goal is to restructure the economic sector in becoming more competitive. Environmentally, the goal is to manage land and water use as well as control air quality. Socially, the goal is to empower citizens. Institutionally, the goal is to promote good governance in Bandung.

The development of Bandunga��s creative culture can also be gauged through the changing role of its urban environments, particularly the street, as the main social space of Indonesian cities. Several streets in Bandung, such as Ir. H. Juanda (a.k.a. Dago), LLRE Martadinata (Riau) and Cihampelas, as well as streets surrounding campuses such as Ganesha, Tamansari and Dipati Ukur, have changed signi cantly with the emergence of creative-based businesses.