Retrofitting The Sustainable Future for River-based Activities and Settlements in Kalimantan

Sebuah pertanyaan yang pernah muncul dan berharap menemukan jawaban melalui ekspedisi Susur Sungai Barito-Kahayan 2010,

Accepted abstract ini rencananya akan dikembangkan menjadi reflective paper yang akan dipresentasikan pada 2nd International Seminar on Tropical Eco-Settlement, Bali 3-5 november 2010

Investigasi yang singkat selama 3 hari dan hanya berandalkan observasi dan random interview ternyata belum bisa “menemukan jawaban yang solid”…sehingga blm bisa dikembangkan untuk menjadi paper yang baik.

setelah sungai tidak lagi menjadi urat nadi perekonomian kota-kota di Kalimantan, ketika transportasi darat menjadi pilihan yang efisien dan efektif bagi manuasia jaman modern, Bagaimana masa depan sungai-sungai yang pernah menjadi lagenda ini? Apakah hanya dengan nostalgia wisata akan menjamin keberlangsungannya ?


A shift from water-based to land-oriented development significantly influences the way people utilize rivers and the banks as urban infrastructures to support everyday life. Rivers formerly were used as mean of transportation from city to city and to surrounding hinterlands. They connected complex urban systems that operated economic, social and culture of the city, as well as balanced urban ecology. The life-cycles of waterfront cities are commonly highlighted by five stages: the establishment of settlement, the formation of a city, detachment from rivers, the decline and rediscovery of the waterfront. Most waterfront cities in Indonesia are currently at the stage of declining, rivers apparently no longer have important roles in transportation, economic activities and image of the city; replaced by roads, bridges, housing estates, shopping malls and so forth. However, unique characteristics of rivers and its related activities remain invaluable assets for a city; this awareness has recently increased and a signal of reconnecting the city into its waterfront has emerged into forms of urban planning policy and strategies.

A well-known riverfront city such as Banjarmasin has a long history of bustling river-based activities; from settlements, trading, boat and plywood industry to unique tourism activities such as floating market. However, this image remains a story and an advertising to attract tourists.  In daily life, people gradually are no longer attached to rivers whether as a mean of transportation or as places for living. Rivers are utilized as service area for settlement along the riverbanks that face to the streets; new infrastructure such as Barito Bridge that built in 1998 has replaced the role of Barito and Kahayan River to connect two provincial cities Banjarmasin and Palangkaraya. While improvement of land infrastructures is inevitable, as it is considered provide more efficient journeys and productive economic activities, a new framework for river-based activities beyond nostalgic tourism need to be addressed.

Through Barito-Kahayan River Expedition 2010, this paper aimed at investigating current transformation of river-based activities and settlements along the rivers, from Banjarmasin to Palangkaraya. To what extent rivers still play an important role in transportation, economic and socio-cultural activities? Are there any new potential activities that can be developed along the riverbanks for more sustainable future of waterfront cities? The framework of eco-settlements and activities in this context should closely relate rivers beyond natural and engineered infrastructure; it should acknowledge the interwoven of economic and socio-cultural factors that have shaped the river-based activities in Kalimantan.

Keyword: river-based activities, settlement, infrastructure, Barito and Kahayan River

                           Perdagangan melalui jalur sungai yang masih tersisa

                              Industri perahu di tepi Sungai Kuin & Barito

                              Raksasa pabrik Plywood yang sudah gulung tikar

                                     Jalur Darat - Trans Kalimantan

2 responses to “Retrofitting The Sustainable Future for River-based Activities and Settlements in Kalimantan

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