‘This city is designed for cars, not people’: residents’ voices on Jakarta
Commutes that cause panic attacks – but the kindness of a village community. Jakarta’s residents tell us what life in the city is really like – and why they have such a love/hate relationship with the Indonesian capital
Throughout our live week of in-depth reporting on Jakarta, we’ve been asking residents to share their thoughts, photographs and experiences of life in the city, what needs to change, and what the biggest issues are. The response was overwhelming – thank you to everyone who contributed.
Best and worst of city life
“The best could be the worse, and vice versa. I once lived in one of the most sterile cities in the world and found myself longing for the crazy hustle bustle of Jakarta. The traffic and pollution may drive you crazy, but one thing that Jakarta will never be is boring.” (Anonymous, resident for 32 years)
“Best: the people (they’re among some of the hardest hustlers I’ve ever met), the city skyline at night, the resident cats, Gojek (motorbike taxi app). Worst: the traffic, the sheer non-existence of pedestrian facilities, the public transportation system, the pollution, the heat.” (Kalista, resident for 27 years)
“The best thing is that Jakarta has never been a city that criticised anyone who took a chance.” (Alwinsyah, resident for 21 years)
“What I love most about Jakarta is how alive it is. It’s a city that never sleeps and you can feel the energy of life whenever and wherever. You can also find all kinds of people in the city, with different experiences, backgrounds and stories that you’ll never get bored, even if you try.” (Aninda, resident for 18 years)
“Jakarta is a city that grows on her residents in spite of, or because of, all the mess and chaos. Of course we hate the endless traffic jams, annual floods, filthy rivers, and creaking bureaucracy. We lament the lack of a rapid rail system and the depressingly small area of parks. Our roads are riddled with potholes and electrical blackouts occur. Our football team hasn’t won the national league in fifteen years, a source of local frustration in football-mad Indonesia.