A gas station in Indonesia. Photo by ^riza^ via Flickr.
Around the world, cars and the infrastructure devoted to them -- highways, parking lots, gas stations -- have covered open space over with asphalt. But with the closure last month of the first of 27 gas stations, the city of Jakarta, Indonesia, is reclaiming some of that land for public use.Ecocity Builders tipped us off to the news that the Jakarta Parks and Cemetery Agency will close more than two dozen gas stations by the end of the year, converting them into 10,505 square meters of green space for the crowded Indonesian capital.
Shrinking Green Space
Green areas in Jakarta have been shrinking for decades, from 35 percent of the city in 1965 to just 9.3 percent today, reports the blog Indonesia's Urban Studies. A target of 30 percent has been set by planning laws, which also designated the zones housing the 27 gas stations as green areas. The plan to convert the petrol stops was rejected by the city council last year under political pressure by gas-station owners, but newly elected officials approved the idea this time around.
Previous attempts to boost green space had often come at the expense of the poor, as the city evicted small-time vendors from their makeshift sales areas rather than stop construction of luxury homes and shopping malls, the blog's Deden Rukmana wrote on Inside Indonesia.
Protection Against Floods
The new green areas will provide not just recreation and respite for residents of the megacity, but a buffer against the annual floods that are becoming more and more severe, inundating 70 perecent of the city in 2007 and killing at least 57 people.
"In addition to reducing the risk of floods, the new green areas will beautify and make Jakarta more livable," Rukmana wrote on Indonesia's Urban Studies. "The conversion of these gas stations into green areas will also restrain the increasing city's carbon dioxide levels [by acting] as sponges for such pollutants.... Not only will this decision become a good precedent for implementing the spatial plans in Jakarta or even in other areas in Indonesia, but also will provide a lot of benefits for the city and its residents."
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