SKK 2013 Launch

Solo Kota Kita is pleased to announce the update of and our neighborhood planning database!

First of all, take a look around and you’ll find you can now view data for two different years within the website’s mapping tool. All of the data from our 2010 survey of Solo is still there – what’s new is updated data for the year 2012.

Based on suggestions from residents and local government, we changed some of the indicators that we are collecting – so you may notice new categories of information such as percentage population of disabled persons, which was data residents said they needed to know for the musrenbang process.

The neighborhood pages have also been updated. The tables now feature 2012 data for both neighborhood and city as well as the percentage changes of the social and economic indicators between 2010 and 2012. Having this updated database means that not only can you compare neighborhood indicators to the city as a whole, but you can now track how neighborhoods have changed over the last few years. Later this year, we will also be posting a new batch of mini atlases.

Another exciting thing about this new data is how Solo Kota Kita collected it.

When we first started in 2009, we used paper surveys that we took into the field to have neighborhood managers fill out. Then we inputed this data by hand into the database. Since then, the team developed an SMS tool that allows neighborhood managers to submit the data via their mobile phones directly into the database. Of course, this saves us a lot of time in the field as well as a lot of paper.

Around the world, mobile phone technology is being utilized for a variety of purposes – from managing local water systems to implementing post-disaster cash-for-work programs. We are excited to test the potential of SMS technology to support participatory budgeting in Indonesia and we look forward to hearing about what you discover on the updated!

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Firm Foundation Opens in Banjarmasin

Over 100 residents and government officials gathered in Sungai Jingah last month to celebrate the opening of Firm Foundation!

Solo Kota Kita has been working together over the last year and a half with residents, BAPPEDA and DTRK, and the PNPM Mandiri program to develop a new waterfront public space in the Sungai Jingah neighborhood of Banjarmasin.

The design is the result of a two-week participatory workshop with residents that we organized last August. Three teams of residents selected sites in their neighborhood and proposed new programs and public realm improvements. The result of the workshop was a design for a new port and a gateway to the neighborhood at the confluence of the Martapura river and Andai canal.

The most important priority for residents of the team whose design was selected for construction was establishing a place where boats can dock. This is especially important since most residents in this area purchase vegetables and goods from floating vendors.

And it didn’t take long for the vendors to find the new location – even at the opening celebration, drink vendors were paddling up to offer refreshments to attendees.

Firm Foundation also provides a recreation space for neighborhood children, a covered seating area, and multiple points of access to enjoy the river edge and engage the water. By bringing these activities to the water, Firm Foundation positions the river as an asset for the neighborhood and the city.

We are also working on a new “Social Design Field Guide” that documents and illustrates the participatory tools the team utilized throughout the initiative. Watch for its release in print and on the Internet in August.

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Firm Foundation Receives SEED Award from Design Corps

We are pleased to announce that Firm Foundation has received a 2013 SEED Award for Excellence in Public Interest Design, which is presented each year by Design Corps.

The awards recognize “design projects with exceptional social, economic, and environmental impact and represent the forces needed to create truly sustainable projects and positive change in the world.” You can learn more about the SEED Award and this year’s winners from Design Corps.

Read more about Firm Foundation and follow the design process through a series of “video dispatches” on our Firm Foundation project website.

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New Dispatch from Firm Foundation

By Michael Haggerty

We are back with another installment of “Firm Foundation Cast” from Banjarmasin!

This time we are reporting on the participatory design process in Sungai Jingah we organized for our current project Firm Foundation. We are sharing the design of a new waterfront public space for Sungai Jingah that is coming off the drawing boards as well.

Stay tuned… You can also read our most recent dispatch on the AECOM UrbanSOS blog. And this coming Monday we are launching a project website featuring the design and more reports from Banjarmasin.

Banjarmasin Video Dispatch # 2 from MHaggerty11 on Vimeo.

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Firm Foundation Lifts Off on

By Michael Haggerty

This month Solo Kota Kita is getting a new initiative off the ground in Banjarmasin.

We’re working with the AECOM UrbanSOS program to design and build Firm Foundation –
an idea for improving public space and reducing environmental vulnerability
created last year by our superstar volunteers.

Our team is sending dispatches each month from Banjarmasin to report on the project.

For our second dispatch, we’ve also created the first “Firm Foundation Cast,” a video about our activities.

Banjarmasin Video Dispatch 1 from MHaggerty11 on Vimeo.

You can read and follow the dispatches on AECOM’s website.

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Open Knowledge Foundation Reports on SKK

By Michael Haggerty

Solo Kota Kita aren’t the only ones interested in connecting participation, budgeting, design, and communication. In fact, we’re featured in a new report by the Open Knowledge Foundation that includes many other projects from around the world that are using technology to promote accountability and citizen engagement in governance. You can download the report – “Technology for Transparent and Accountable Public Finance” – from

Thank you Lucy Chambers for your excellent reportage!

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SKK on Polis Redux + Kickstarter

By Michael Haggerty

Polis published a post this week about a new SKK project in Banjarmasin. The article features the winning UrbanSOS competition submission, Firm Foundation, the work of Alice Shay, Stephen Kennedy, Bima Pratama, and Dina Amalia.

While Bima is already working in Banjarmasin laying the groundwork for our participatory design activities there later this year, our team is currently running a Kickstarter campaign to support the project. Please check out our campaign on Kickstarter if you haven’t already!

Thank you again Polis!

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SKK on Polis

By Michael Haggerty

One of our favorite urban design and development blogs published a great overview of decentralization in Indonesia and Solo Kota Kita’s activities just this past month. Thanks Polis!

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SKK on CoLab Radio

By Michael Haggerty

In case you missed them, our current volunteer and MIT urban planning student Stephen Kennedy made several great blog posts about his experiences in Indonesia on CoLab Radio.

He’s written about expectations for travel, water and informal settlements, and small-scale handicraft production.

Plenty of video too in these descriptive posts! Thanks Stephen for sharing your stories.

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Until the End of the River

By Bima Pratama

Solo has four main river connections: Bengawan Solo, Kali Anyar, Kali Pepe and Kali Jenes. These rivers have a long history of contribution toward city development from colonial era up till now. Along with the growth of the city, the river has changed significantly both physical structure and social-environmental function.

Population growth from time to time has given impact to the river and its surrounding. Development creates denser environment and forces people to move up to “end of border.” New residential areas grow very fast and seem uncontrollable reaching area in river banks, slowly but sure the river suffers from environmental degradation.
Different types of housing along the river can be seen in Solo, this is due to different location and condition of the rivers.