$40bn to save Jakarta: the story of the Great Garuda

$40bn to save jakarta: the story of the great garuda

Forget Venice. The fastest-sinking city is the Indonesian capital, parts of which are dropping at 25cm a year. Can an outlandish plan for a giant seawall and luxury waterworld city in the shape of a mythical bird save Jakarta from drowning?

With her hand stretched upward, the elderly storekeeper in batik dress and white headscarf indicates the height of the waters that poured into her home in Jakarta’s great flood of 2007. Sukaesih is a diminutive figure, but she points to a ridge on the doorframe about two metres above the threshold.

The 60-year-old grandmother, who like many Indonesians goes by only one name, lives in the down-at-heel waterfront neighbourhood of Maura Baru. Her front room-turned-store, where she sells soft drinks and the clove kretek cigarettes beloved of locals, looks unassuming, but is at ground zero for the city’s battle for survival.

Just across the alleyway is the stone seawall that was reinforced and heightened after 2007, but is already cracking, buckling and leaking. The fortification is all that stands between these homes and the waters of Jakarta Bay, which lap just beneath the rim on the other side. Filthy water already seeps through the cracks continuously, leaving streams of muddy run-off flowing in front of Sukaesih’s shop. When tides are high, the water pours over.

“We live with this reality every day,” Sukaesih says, looking out at the embankment. “Water comes in through the wall all the time, and it comes over the top whenever there’s a high tide.”

The biggest problem, however, is that the seawall itself – the only thing protecting Sukaesih’s community from inundation – is sinking. […]

Aline Chahine
Aline is an international licensed architect currently practicing in Canada, she is the reason you are reading this right now, Aline founded the platform back in 2008 shaping the very foundation of Architecture Lab, her exemplary content curation process that defines the online magazine today.
Aline Chahine
Aline Chahine
Aline is an international licensed architect currently practicing in Canada, she is the reason you are reading this right now, Aline founded the platform back in 2008 shaping the very foundation of Architecture Lab, her exemplary content curation process that defines the online magazine today. Highlights Aline founded Architecture Lab in 2008 Lead editor of dan | dailyarchnews since 2019 Founded and Creative Director of DesignRaid Licensed architect with creative sales and marketing experience Experience As full-fledged architect, Aline's background involved a great deal of research that lead to the creation of Architecture Lab as an online database of exemplary design. Her experience snowballed into founding two architecture platforms, Architecture Lab and DesignRaid. Education Aline received USEK’s Master of Architecture in 2004 and BA in English from the University of Toronto
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About Architecture Lab Architecture Lab is a MKR.S Media brand, a website devoted to extraordinary design and aesthetics aiming to promote exceptional aesthetic values and sustainable design in all it's shapes and sizes. Learn more about us and our editorial process and feel free to contact us if you would like to see something in particular on the website, our certified experts will get back to you with the most trustworthy advice as soon as possible. Read all articles by Aline | Follow her on LinkedIn

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