Scholarly article on topic 'Space Topology: Case Study of Kakilima in the Market of Kebayoran Lama, Jakarta'

Space Topology: Case Study of Kakilima in the Market of Kebayoran Lama, Jakarta Academic research paper on "Social and economic geography"

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Kakilima / topology / structuration / Kebayoran Lama

Abstract of research paper on Social and economic geography, author of scientific article — Triatno Yudo Harjoko, Joko Adianto

Abstract Kakilima refers to generic informal urban economy such as ambulant traders, vendors, and all kinds of permanent establishment of informal business in illegal places. The main objective the research is to disclose a ‘virtual map’ or space topology of kakilima in the market of Kebayoran lama. It focuses on the production and reproduction of space of kakilima that seems to be dynamic in terms of various different forms of economic engagements and actors involved in space-time – round the clock. In this mode, spatial structure manifest in multi-layered or dimensions. Findings have shown that production and reproduction of ‘space’ has been evolved, twisted in accordance with space-time-activity around the clock.

Academic research paper on topic "Space Topology: Case Study of Kakilima in the Market of Kebayoran Lama, Jakarta"

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Procedia - Social and Behavioral Sciences 36 (2012) 545 - 556

AcE-Bs 2011 Bandung

ASEAN Conference on Environment-Behaviour Studies, Savoy Homann Bidakara Bandung Hotel, Bandung, Indonesia, 15-17 June 2011

Space Topology: Case Study of Kakilima in the Market of

Kebayoran Lama, Jakarta

Triatno Yudo Harjoko* and Joko Adianto

Department Of Architecture, Universitas Indonesia, Kampus UI, Depok 16424, Indonesia


Kakilima refers to generic informal urban economy such as ambulant traders, vendors, and all kinds of permanent establishment of informal business in illegal places. The main objective the research is to disclose a 'virtual map' or space topology of kakilima in the market of Kebayoran lama. It focuses on the production and reproduction of space of kakilima that seems to be dynamic in terms of various different forms of economic engagements and actors involved in space-time - round the clock. In this mode, spatial structure manifest in multi-layered or dimensions. Findings have shown that production and reproduction of 'space' has been evolved, twisted in ac cordance with space-time-activity around the clock.

© 2012 Published b y Elsevier B.V. Sel ection and/or peer-review un der responsibility of Centre for Environment-Behaviour Studies(cE-Bs), Faculty of Architecture , Planning & Surveying, Univeesiti Teknologi MARA, Malaysia

Keywords: Kakilima; topology; structuration; Kebayoran Lama

1. Introduction

Kakilima is the short term of Pedagang kakilima or literally five feet vendors refer to generic informal urban economy such as ambulant traders, vendors, and all kinds of permanent establishment of informal business in illegal places. The word kakilima derived from the dimension of side walk, that is, five feet. Formally, we call sidewalk trotoar (form French word Trottoir - path, sidewalk). Trotoar and kakilima

* Corresponding author. Tel.: +62-21-7863512; fax: +62-21-7863514 E-mail address:

1877-0428 © 2012 Published by Elsevier B.V. Selection and/or peer-review under responsibility of Centre for Environment-Behaviour Studies(cE-Bs),

Faculty of Architecture, Planning & Surveying, Universiti Teknologi MARA, Malaysia


have been an crucial urban issue in big cities in Indonesia. Both are an awry situation. Trotoar is a public space that forbids private engagement, while the existence of kakilima represents informal private enterprise.

With regard to legislative frameworks, there has been as yet unclear definition of trotoar as public space that clearly secure it from private use. Two Government Regulations No. 43/1993 Section VII Article 39 and No. 34/2006, Chapter 3 Article 4, both simply stipulate that a trotoar is designated for pedestrian movement. In the Technical Guidelines for Pedestrian Walkways, No. 032/T/BM/1999; the Appendix No. 10 The Decree of the Director General of Road Development, Department of Public Works Chapter I Article 1.3 specifies that the definition of trotoar is that of pedestrian pathway located within the Right of Way (Daerah Milik Jalan) upon which its an elevated pavement from the road surface, and generally run parallel along the vehicular movement.

On the other, the Decree of the State Ministry of Cooperatives and Small and Medium Enterprises No. 140/Kep/M.KUKM/XII/2002 - Guidelines for Implementation of the Deconcentration of Activities and Budgeting Chapter 3 Article 3.f - define that informal trading refers to individuals who engage an individual business which does not have a formal body and carries out its own small scale commodity trading and/or services based on a family establishment. In the Article 24 of this Decree, the kakilima or Pedagang Kakilima trading refers to individuals who engage in the selling of goods on the trotoir and public as well as private places. Furthermore, the DKI Jakarta or Local Government Regulation No.5 1978 - Regulation for the Location and Economic Engagement and the Development of Pedagang Kakilima within the Area of DKI Jakarta - Chapter 1 Article 1.e derfines pedagang kakilima are those in their trading activities using trotoar, public and private places of not their own and are not allocated for doing business.

Legislative frameworks do not seem to clearly define a public space or place. This may result in a permissive attitude of both public and private sectors against the advent the kakilima. Facts have shown that the proliferation of kakilima has never been anticipated and kept under control by the local government. However, to the poor this becomes an economic-political blessing for the urban poor to urbanize at their respective 'tribalistic views.

To deeply understand this situation, it goes back to the way urbanism developed in Indonesia. Urbanism in Indonesia or other comparable developing countries has been characterized by the continuum and constitution of its society - a dual society. At the one extreme a modern, capitalist while the other traditional society. The latter represent the majority of the population; they are rural migrants. In the middle are those who evolve toward a modern, capitalist one. In this duality, its production and reproduction of society manifests in two folds which are mutually exclusive. Such constitution or structuration process - a reproduction of social systems (Giddens, A., 1984:16-28) - becomes problematic when both evolve and compete over a scarce space in the urban area.

The research seeks to unravel deep structure of so called informal sector in the urban areas with a particular reference to Pasar Kebayoran Lama, Jakarta. To some kakilima has been seen as an eyesore or 'dirt'. This view that conceives an urban form as an orderly formation or pattern - an urban imposition, namely, urban process that is imposed from external values and reflects an extension of symbolic and organizational patterns developed in one territory into another (Wheatley, P., 1963: 4-6). In modern era, urban imposition and formation reveals a 'false' as well as dominant episteme of planners, decision makers based on simple aesthetics. At the opposing form, the formation of urban kakilima can be conceived as urban generation by which forces of the process are generated internally from within the society.

2. Research Inquiries

Understanding urban architecture simply from its physical the appearance (material culture) of the built environment may overlook the deep structure of the city, how it is built or evolved - the lived space. This is crucially the case in the country like Indonesia where it is constituted by the dual society -modern- capitalist/traditional-bazaar, or, formal/informal sectors. Their respective structuration process evolves and competes over scarce urban space. In many cases, they are mutually exclusive in terms two-dimensional space. However, there seem to be a 'spatial-relation' among them that could not be seen visually or by our naked eyes. This relation can be conceived of as meta-space that resides in human mind such as that of chess players who visualize the movement of the pieces.

Based on such understanding, the question will be what is the role of kakilima in the city? Why they are ubiquitous and persistent in the city? How could we uncover a seemingly disorder lived-space of kakilima in this context?

Fig. 1. Mobius Strip - Twisted Space. Source:(, 02.02.11

Jeff E. Malpas (2004:44) quotes Ernst Mach (1906:32) in discussing the difference between 'physiological' and 'geometric' space, "Of cardinal and greatest importance to animals are the parts of their own body and their relations to one another . . . Geometric space embraces only the relations of physical bodies to one another, and leaves the animal body in this connection altogether out of account." Malpas argues that "understanding the way in which living creatures find themselves 'in' space, both in relation to their bodies and to one another, requires more than just a concept of space as articulated within physical theory." The question is then how we could observe the web of relations that exist in sub-teranian level (rhizome) or a meta-space within the mind of the actors?

Jean-Michel Kantor states that "[t]opology . . . is a (mathematical) way of conceiving of TOPOS: the place, the space, all space, and everything included in it." He evokes a few examples of forms and spaces which stimulate for all those interested in the concept of space, architects in particular. In topology, we no longer distinguish between two figures, two spaces, if you can pass from one to the other by means of a continuous deformation - with neither leap nor cut. Mobius strip - a non-orientable surface as opposed to an orientable surface that has two sides - is an excellent example of a twisted space. The term space topology here will refer to the way we perceive and conceive the lived-space of trotoar used by kakilima in urban areas in Indonesia, from which it 'is' closely related to other formal commercial activities in the

surroundings. Relationship between them cannot be discernible as a simple two dimensional space of existence.

Anthoni Giddens (1984) argues that a constitution of society could be deeply understood by means of its production and reproduction of the society - or he calls it structuration. Indonesian society is constituted by a duality of society, that is, modern/capitalist and traditional/bazaar. They produce and reproduce its respective societies. In architectural terms and urban context they compete over space in a city. The problem has been that planners and decision makers have biased toward the dominant capitalist one. This creates urban closures and then, as a consequence, causes urban usurpation by the underprivileged majority (Harjoko, T.Y., 2002).

3. Methodology

The research concerns urban form and seeks to understand the space topology or deep structure of enormous existence of kakilima in the pasar or market of Kebayoran lama in the southern part of Jakarta. The main objective the research is to disclose a 'virtual map' or space topology of kakilima in the market of Kebayoran lama. The conspicuous existence of kaki-lima has been in the vicinity of pasar or conventional market, where formal economy is regulated and allocated by the local government. It will focus on the production and reproduction of space of kakilima that seems to be dynamic in terms of various different forms of economic engagements and actors involved in space-time - round the clock. In this mode, spatial structure may manifest in multi-layered or dimensions or topological.

It is a grounded research from which theses or theories are put together by the end of investigation.. Respondents of pedestrian are taken at random. Depth interview is purposively chosen, namely those of kakilima and formal shop owners. They are actors that may conceive different image of a space and supposedly have critical decisions on the consumption or usage of a critical space around the pasar. Quantitative analysis is used to indicate the magnitude of the questions under investigation. Correlation analysis is carried out between variables. Random sampling is carried out to pedestrian at different strategic points on working days and week-end (1680 respondents - this is taken in four consecutive weeks); kakilima of various commodities (10 respondents); formal shops (25 respondents).

Fig. 2. (a) Map of Jakarta and Study Area; (b) Study Area: Strategic points where pedestrian is generated

4. Results and Analysis

4.1. Statistical Significant

Due to a limited space, all statistical analyses cannot be presented here. However, results have shown that there is a significant difference of correlation between pedestrian and kakilima that is static or fixed in a place and that of ambulant or dynamic (samples are taken twenty-four hour week-days and in the week-end). Fixed establishment of stalls, esp., vegetables, which are occupying space around Railway Terminal, under the Fly-over road, have negative correlation with pedestrian. Vegetable sellers increase in number during the crack of dawn, while at the same time pedestrians are decreasing Quite the contrary, ambulant traders and pedestrians have shown positive correlation of their existence from the early in the morning up to the night and dawn. Both show a maximum number in the early of the morning and gradually decrease during the night (Appendix A).

4.2. Types of Goods: Durable Goods

Research has shown that there are similarities of the types of goods sold among parties questioned, that is, kakilima on the trotoar and the formal retail shops. Based on the in-depth interview with kakilima as well as the owner of the shops it is uncovered that they seem to 'collaborate' to sell the merchandise from which it is supplied by the shops. While the shops sell the commodities wholesale at a lower price, quite often the kakilima prepays partially the merchandise to the shops and it then sells at higher price. In fact, lapaks (literally floor mat), or a set of unit to put or display goods of the kakilima, are located just in front of the shops of similar goods. In other words, the shops make use of the advent and existence of kakilimas to exercise something like 'multi-level' marketing. In such'cooperation', an unwritten agreement of this cooperation is made between kakilima and shop. Despite such an agreement, kakilimas are free to have a different deal with other shops.

Fig. .3. Various commodities of durable goods

4.3. Types of Goods: Food and Beverage and Agriculture Produce

Kakilima selling food and beverage in many cases concentrate on the strategic nodal points, such as crossroads close to the pasar or market. This space to the kakilima is space that is strategic to 'intercept' pedestrian moving around from and to pasar; to the pedestrian buyers it is also strategic location to get something to buy while they are moving to and fro. In comparison with the durable goods such as

garments, bags and other similar commodities, stalls of food and beverages are visited at the time people need have breakfast, lunch or dinner. Consumers are coming from various different social strata. The vendors or ambulant traders take strategic locations such as in nodal points where pedestrian stop or stand by the sidewalk waiting public transports. They sell various kinds of fast-food so the consumers do not have to wait long and 'eat-in.' In comparison to stalls selling durable goods, the patrons of these commodities are at random. Buyers stop by almost without any purpose or intention to get something to buy. When they stop by they take quite sometime to look for goods and for the best available price. Fact has shown that kakilimas selling food and beverage assume customers in everyday willing to come when they need something to eat or drink. This explains why kakilima of this type are competing scarce space in almost everywhere around the pasar or traditional market.

Space-time determines the pattern of various kakilimas gathered and located. Asongan, or ambulant kakilimas are the most mobile ones. They intercept pedestrians and move wherever the crowds are concentrated. Cases have shown that at 6.00 am cigarette asongans are gathering at the crossroad and Kebun Mangga Street. These locations at this time being the nodes of modal-split of transport are packed with pedestrian coming from residential areas around the Pasar Kebayoran Lama. From 8.00to 9.00 am, these asongans move to Railway Station in which passengers are getting off the train coming from Bekasi and Tanah Abang. From 9.00 to 12.00 am they move into and around Pasar Kebayoran Lama. The pasar is open and customers are coming in. In the afternoon, between 12.00 to 2.00 afternoon , they move toward available cross roads around the pasar. This is lunch time in which employees, drivers of pubic transport are coming and having lunch. From 5.00 to 8.00 pm these asongans move back to Jalan Kebun Mangga and cross roads because pedestrians are coming back from their workplace and going back home.

Food Area

Figure 5Diffe

Vegetable Area

Frui t Area

Fig. 4. (a) Different groups of Kakilima; (b) Their numbers of each clustering location

Kakilimas selling fruits crowd the space on trotoar at southern side of the fly-over bridge where public transports coming from Blok M in Kebayoran to Tangerang in the periphery of Jakarta. People buy fruit on the way home, as dessert after dinner. The peak transaction of this commodity occurs at half past four to seven o'clock in the afternoon. In late evening about ten o'clock, pickups that transport raw agriculture produces arrive. The lack of proper space for unloading causes problem for unloading the products. They simply unload and put these commodities along the trotoir close to the pasar Kebayoran Lama. This creates traffic congestion in the area. Since pasar is closed at 9.30 pm, the new arrival of agriculture

produces cannot directly be transported into the pasar. This compels sellers to open lapaks along the trotoar as informal activities. It emerges as a pasar tumpah or overspill-instant market. This situation does not seem unanticipated by the sellers because, in fact, the buyers are coming at night until midnight in significant numbers. These buyers are those who own restaurant, catering industries and even mobile vegetable sellers (tukang sayur keliling) that sell around the residential areas nearby. The respondent claims that they buy fresh vegetable at night transported directly from the rural areas, no sun light that burns. This explains why the numbers of kakilima selling vegetables are massively packed in the area at night.


Fig. 5. A number of pockets for storage on public space

4.4. The Web of Informal Economy

Kakilima activities involve some kind of social network. It includes distribution, supplies, and services including protection or security. In-depth interview with kakilima respondents has shown that lapaks and baskets are not produced by themselves but by preman or thugs that also give protection to them. Material for building lapaks are supplied by scavengers or coolies collecting material from a demolished building. In return kakilima pays a certain amount of money to preman for the services including providing lapak,

security, and waste collection. The money is paid by every kakilima in accordance with their respective time-shift. Statistics indicate that average working hour is about ten hours per day. The next shift, the space will be allocated for their friends, relatives and even the member of their family.

Another finding within this complex web is the involvement the head of Rukun Tetangga (RT) or Household Administrative Unit as well as of Rukun Warga (RW) or Neighborhood Administrative Unit (One RW administers about twelve to fourteen RTs). The carts for transporting goods are stored along the gang or alleys by the permission of the formal local or community administrative bodies. In this web, preman also give money to these heads of the community. Furthermore, unemployed youngsters and adults are also given opportunities to take in transporting goods from one location to another. Covert connection between kakilima economy and especially the heads of RT and RW has given a political blessing for them to secure their position as local leader. It may uncover and explain why kakilima has persevered and been omnipresent in the big cities, especially Jakarta.

Fig. 6. The emergence of pasar tumpah or instant-overspill market at night until dawn

Fig. 7. Waste disposal locations: (a) Formally designated by the local government; (b) Ttemporary location that does not seem to be prevented by the local government. Young labor is being hired to solve the waste management.

4.5. Housing Provision for the Poor

Most kakilima selling at day time in this study are coming from outside Jakarta, that is, from Serang and Tangerang, West Java. This situation then creates demand for housing provision in the area. Local land lords in the kampung immediately responded over the demand in the development of rumah petak -small row-houses of about twelve square meters area each. The rent of each house with communal toilet is Rp 400,000 (US $ 45) per month. This unit is collectively rented and shared by around eight to twelve vendors. Mathematically it is unimaginable that this number of people will pack sleeping in a small area. In fact, they use the housing unit on shift in accordance with the time of each group to do business. Each group of three to four people will stay or do business out the home.

4.6. Demand for Electricity

Kakilima, especially those selling vegetables and fruits, gets the illegal supply electricity at night from those worked in pasar management and an individual from PLN (State Electricity Body). Kakilima selling vegetables and fruit come to the area at night. Therefore, charges over the electricity are collected also in the evening between eight to ten o'clock. Kakilimas take the lapaks that have been prepared including lighting by preman. In some cases, the preman provides cable and fixtures while the kakilimas bring their own bulbs. In the case of kakilimas located in front of formal tokos or shops, water and electricity are provided by the tokos. Owner of toko benefits from this mutual service from which kakilima may also take care the toko especially during the night time, and at the same time kakilima pay preman to secure them.

4.7. Waste Collection

Despite the formal services come from local government office, they also invite unemployed people in the neighboring areas. Waste produced by pasar is dumped in available locations around it. Vegetable sellers put their waste in the road median. These seem to be comfortable locations for collection. In the morning at seven o'clock garbage truck of Sanitary Department of the DKI Jakarta collects waste from the designated locations.

5. Concluding Remark

The main issue is equal access for urban space in this context economic space. While space allocated in the practice urban planning is bias toward formal capitalistic economy, bazaar economy has been marginalized and ignored or even denied resulting in the usurpation of what ever urban space may seem available for them. This has further been complicated by legislation of being vague. It implies double standard over the use of trotoar as well as also permissive stance of the government. On the one hand, life-cycle of formal economy is imposed by the formal law and regulation; on the other, life-cycle of informal sector evolves round the clock in conjunction with the life-cycle of the low-income, especially in the economic activity. In this mode, urban space has been twisted, distorted according to the dynamic of movement of pedestrian and different actors that involve in the 'game-play' around the pasar Kebayoran Lama.

The existence of kakilima has been part of structuration of the society, i.e., production and reproduction of society, especially that of the low income communities in the urban area such as Jakarta which account for about 60% of the total urban population in Jakarta. This society is constituted by rural

migrants coming from various areas across the country and form unique social-economic entity in its own term - informal sector. This economy critically supports the life of lower middle income and the poor who work in the formal sector either in the public or private sector. They cannot afford commodities that have been supply by formal, capitalist economy. The latent problem facing informal of this kind is that planners, decision makers ignore or even deny the existence of it in terms of life-cycle space of this sector. Urban planning has simply been dominated by capitalist ideas. Consequently, within this spatial injustice this sector usurps the urban space where they can 'contribute' to economy of this society. In this regard, we should perceive this sector negatively as 'urban parasite.' This group - the weak -in the urban livelihood spatially has been marginalized. This marginalization has generated acts or tactics, as argued by Michele de Certeau (1984), to defy the law of place, for they are not defined or identified by it.

In the case of Pasar Kebayoran Lama, it has been demonstrated that the marginalized kakilima defies the law of the place enforced by the local government excluding them from urbanization process. Process usurping urban space is not as simple as we can see with our naked eye. It seems chaotic, disorder and 'dirt.' The trajectory of action exists in meta-space, that is, in mind of the actors involved. It is not two-dimensional space. It is topological. Space of action has been flipped, twisted in terms of tenure. It is unclear who controls, holds or sustains the property. Trajectories of complex activities seem to appear in the minds of kakilima, shop owners, preman, official security of the pasar, local leader, and unemployed youngsters, but cannot be visually captured by our naked eye. This meta-space 'exist' in the mind like that of chess players who think the movement of the piece in a thousands of combination.

Therefore, we may be deceived by our naked eye to understand urban form simply from its artifacts. Material objects are images that have been perceived by human senses. Human mind conceive this image as form that may be different with the object under observation (that may have shape). This issue becomes extremely crucial when planners and designers should understand about the facts (of material and non-material culture). Poor people and kakilima is the real urban life in Indonesia. They contribute to the shape of the city.


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Giddens, A. (1984), The Constitution of Society. Berkeley and Los Angeles: University of California Press.

Harjoko, T. Y., (2002). A City as a Practice of Social Closure of Exclusion and Usurpation, in International Association for the

Study of Traditional Environments, Traditional Dwellings and Settlements. Working Paper Series, 2002 Vol. 151, pp. 29-60. Harjoko, T. Y. (2008). 'Hyper- versus Involuted-Tradition: Urbanism in Indonesia'. Proceeding 4th International Seminar

on Vernacular Settlement. Ahmedabad, India, February 14-17, 2008 Harjoko, T. Y. (2009), Urban Kampung: Its Genesis and Transformation into Metropolis, with particular reference to Penggilingan

Jakarta. VDM Verlag Dr. Müller. Kantor, J. (2005), 'A Tale of Bridges: Topology and Architecture'. Nexus Network Journal - VOL. 7 NO. 2. Mach, E. (1906), Space and Geometry in the Light of Physiological, Psychological and Physical Inquiry. Chicago: Open Court. Malpas, J. E. (2004), Place and Experience: A Philosophical Topography. Cambridge University Press. Wheatley, P., (1963). Nagara and Commandery. Origins of the Southeast Asian Urban Traditions, Department of Geography, Research Paper Nos. 207-208 (Double Number), The University of Chicago.

Appendix A. Correlation Diagram Between Kakilma and Pedestrian: Weekdays and Weekend



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Diagram 1. Negative correlation of pedestrians and kakilimas in the Fixed Establishment of Vendors. Main Crossroads (Transit Points) & Kebun Mangga Street

Diagram 2. Positive correlation of pedestrians and kakilimas of the mobile vendors). Main Crossroads (Transit Points) & Kebun Mangga Street