Posted in Citizenry

173 Malls… Seriously?

We have that many?

It’s easy to tell that the metropolis hosts tens of such premises, ofttimes located adjacent to, opposite, or near their competitions, but I have no idea that the exact number would exceed 100 or is in fact a quarter to 200. Taken into account are luxurious shopping malls and humbler commercial centers (such as plazas, squares, ITCs, and WTCs? How about pasar/wet markets? Little wonder the sum skyrockets), excluding mushrooming mini-, super-, and hypermarkets.

I gotta admit I know none of those in East Jakarta, while the North is somewhat a grey area, still~! I could only list off 55, off the top of my head. Which is far from impressive considering that it isn’t even a third of the total.

So I read articles* on mall moratorium a couple days ago, apparently was first initated by former governor some time in Q4 2011; since Jokowi-Ahok took office October 2012, fourteen new applications have been submitted and no new permits is granted. The reason is crystal-clear: the city can no longer accommodate such massive scale developments; plus, we have so many already — what we need is more green open spaces and citizens-friendly areas.

Well, I believe 173 refers to the total we have now, as of the moment he spoke up, that are fully built and operating. He could only fend off mega-projects that are planned to be built years from now, but who knows how many of which whose permits issued by previous administration are already underway or gonna be constructed anyway?

Requests would continue flooding in despite the moratorium because developers are forging integrated, one-stop living concept where residence area, office building, school, hospital, and entertainment center are provided within the cluster. Question is, who is benefiting from this? The spaces are ridiculously overpriced no middle incomers could ever afford it. Again, the rich get richer… People at large need no additional shopping mall built.

Jakarta is allegedly the city with the highest number of malls in the world; at this rate, does it aim to be the City of 1000 Malls? Seriously. It’s bad enough that every time people discuss where to go or what to do, it’s more like choosing which mall to go to — or worse, only mall comes to mind as if it is the only option. And they would patronize those around their area anyway – you won’t cross the district just to spend a couple hours in so-and-so mall and twice the time commuting, will you? Furthermore, the malls are all alike and occupied by tenants also found in a hundred other places. What’s the point of having more?

OK. You can argue that new premises equal hundreds to thousands of employment opportunities. So it is good as it opens up job market, reduces unemployment rate, and boosts the economy. Well, this for that. Something’s gotta give. The influx of new settlers seeking better life has become one major problem of the city that needs to be addressed sooner than later. The cake needs to be sliced up, the apple needs to be divided.

_
*) from detiknews (in Bahasa), thejakartapost, and thejakartaglobe (in English).

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