«Contesting the streets Volume 18, number 1 • 2016 U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development | Office of Policy Development and Research ...»
In 2005, a new mayor, Joko Widodo, known to the people of Indonesia as “Jokowi,” tried a fresh approach of transitioning informal vendors into legal status, installing them in purpose-built markets, and taking back public spaces. Previously an entrepreneur furniture salesman, the mayor (now President of Indonesia) invited the street traders and other stakeholders of Banjarsari Park to more than 50 open-dialogue meetings. The rapport and personal relationship that he built were instrumental in convincing them to support his relocation plan, which was implemented within a year’s time. The negotiations included significant concessions from the government side, including a new purpose-built market, stall ownership certificates, and access to business loans to support their businesses. The government also responded to vendors’ concerns that the relocation site was too remote and disconnected from the city by surfacing roads, installing signage, designing new bus routes to improve access, and promoting the new market through the media.
Marked by a parade of the vendors through the streets to the new location called Pasar Notoharjo, the ceremonial fanfare and celebration helped to attract the attention of the public and raise the credibility of the move. Still, during the first year, many traders complained that they had lost their customers and struggled to make ends meet as a result of the new location. Some sold their stalls and returned to the streets but eventually returned when the market started to attract more customers after the first year. In 2012, the city undertook a second round of vendor relocations to Pasar Notoharjo, this time from Jl. Veteran, a main road in central Solo. Again, vendors were relocated to a purpose-built facility adjacent to Pasar Notoharjo and received stall titles; this time, however, the relocation involved less engagement and participatory planning and less fanfare and spectacle. Moreover, the market was located off the main road and separated from the 2007 relocation site by a wall, such that relocated vendors struggled to attract new clients.
Pasar Panggungrejo, Solo In the eastern part of Solo, near the Sebelas Maret University campus, a main road that runs alongside the campus featured a high density (around 160) of small-scale traders who had congregated there since the late 1990s. As the city prepared for the construction of a strategic urban project, the Solo Techno Park, Mayor Jokowi sought to clear the vendors from the north side of the road.
Cityscape 75Taylor and Song
Paguyuban Pedagang Sekitar Kampus (PPSK), an association of traders established in 2000, strongly opposed the proposed plan, contesting the proposed location of the market and seeking concessions such as stall titles from the government. The density of existing land uses in the campus area, however, limited the availability of potential sites beyond that proposed by the city, which sat behind a government building, out of view from the main road. Moreover, because the street vendors faced negative public opinion and pressure from the university, the PPSK conceded.
Between January 2008 and December 2009, 201 traders were relocated to the newly constructed Pasar Panggungrejo; just a few years later, almost all the traders had abandoned the market for the streets. In particular, those who sold food, mobile phone credit, and spare auto parts—drawing from students as their primary client base and requiring convenient access points—were the first to go. Despite gaining stall certificates, vendors complained that they were forced into the move, with no governmental promotion of the market, technical assistance, or access to loans. Many thought that plying their trade back on the streets would give them easier access to clients.
Pasar Pakuncen, Jogyakarta In Jogyakarta, Mangkubumi Street, Alun Alun Kidul, and Asem Gede Street grew into key sites of informal trading from the late 1990s, eventually raising public concern over circulation issues. In 2007, Mayor Herry Zudianto (2001–2006; 2006–2011), influenced by Mayor Jokowi’s success in Solo, announced that street vendors would be relocated from these areas to purpose-built markets.
Although many vendors agreed to the move, others resisted, staging street demonstrations and protests. A progressive, reform-minded mayor, Zudianto asked the vendors to organize themselves and for a group of representatives to serve as a bridge between the vendors and the city government.
In return for relocation, the vendors asked for stall ownership certificates, financial subsidies, and public promotion of the site as well as that the new market site be the only secondhand goods market in the city. Agreeing to these conditions, the government relocated nearly 700 vendors to the purpose-built market, Pasar Pakuncen, near the center of the city, in November 2007.
Because business was slow at the outset and many of the vendors started to feel desperate, the government allayed their fears by offering lunch money for nearly 2 months while market patronage picked up. Meanwhile, many vendors abandoned the site for the streets, believing that they would be better off if they were mobile. During this period, the market shed its secondhand specialization because more of the new vendors purveyed new goods in the abandoned stalls, bending the rules and regulations to create storage space and expand their stalls. Because the new vendors tended to be more experienced and better-resourced entrepreneurs, many of the original street vendors felt hard pressed to compete, particularly with their secondhand goods. Within a few years, there was an exodus of vendors who thought they had not only lost clients during the relocation but also thought they were increasingly losing opportunities, and “face,” to new vendors with whom they could not compete.
In 2011, Mayor Zudianto left office, and the city dropped the prior commitment to preserving Pasar Pakuncen as a specialized location for vendors of secondhand goods. The new administration saw an opportunity in having several secondhand markets, further decreasing the locational advantage of the original relocated vendors. At the time of this writing, large numbers of the 697
vendors had moved back on the streets, replaced in Pasar Pakuncen by entrepreneurs from all over Indonesia. Pasar Pakuncen is now thriving, but many of the original vendors are to be found at places like the Pasar Senthir night market or on streets across the city.
Pasar Tanah Abang Blok G, Jakarta As the capital and largest city of Indonesia, Jakarta historically has drawn people from all over the country who are seeking opportunities and employment, often as street vendors. Successive governors previously attempted vendor relocation efforts with little success but, in 2013, Governor Joko Widodo, former Mayor of Solo, decided to try his winning approach on Pasar Tanah Abang, a central Jakarta textile market. Among the largest markets in Southeast Asia, Tanah Abang is actually a sprawling complex of several markets including Blok A, Blok B, Blok F, and Blok G, together housing nearly 20,000 kiosks, with estimated daily sales revenues between 20 and 30 million U.S.
dollars. Its central location and high sales turnover attracted vendors to ply their trades within its walls but, more frequently, just outside. For Jokowi, installing public order and improving circulation would not only relieve other parts of the city but also set an important precedent for his governorship.
The government sought to relocate vendors from Jl. Kebon Jati, the main road that runs north-south through the Pasar Tanah Abang area, now impossible for vehicles to pass through, to a nearby air-conditioned, purpose-built, indoor market called Blok G. Many vendors found the offer attractive, given the scarcity of such designated spaces and challenge of playing “cat and mouse” with the authorities, but they remained concerned about the site’s constrained internal circulation and customer access to upper floors. The government promised to improve pedestrian circulation by building a purpose-built skybridge, directly connecting Blok G to the train station, and installing an escalator to the third floor, where most vendors would locate. The civil police also warned that they would seize the goods of noncompliant vendors. Otherwise, the relocation process moved very quickly, with very little time or room for negotiations or even consultation and with a notable absence of a vendor association to facilitate dialogue. Within 3 months of Governor Jokowi’s inauguration, the vendors received notice of the pending relocation and were relocated 6 months later, in September 2013.
The relocation foundered almost immediately because of inadequate improvements within Pasar Tanah Abang and in the surrounding streets. The promised skybridge and improved circulation improvements failed to materialize, leaving the Blog G vendors in inaccessible locations with few customers and burdensome high monthly rents. Meanwhile, efforts to regulate the vendors outside Pasar Tanah Abang focused on the main road, Jl. Kebon Jati, to the exclusion of the side streets. Because these areas offered more accessibility than the higher floors of Blok G, they became increasingly crowded with a growing volume of vendors, who additionally benefited from the protection of powerful local organized crime groups. Unable to compete, many of the relocated vendors returned to the streets within a year’s time.
Pasar Gembrong Cipinang Besar, Jakarta The case of Pasar Gembrong Cipinang Besar represents a repeat of the Pasar Tanah Abang Blok G case previously described, because the Jokowi government rushed to relocate street vendors
in the capital without much stakeholder engagement or participatory planning. Over 25 years, Pasar Gembrong Cipinang Besar had grown as a long row of stalls along Jl. Basuki Rahmat in East Jakarta, with street vendors, mostly specializing in toys, numbering 212 by the time of the relocation efforts.
In July 2013, the authorities approached the vendors to register them before shortly serving them notice of relocation plans to Pasar Gembrong Cipinang Besar. Located about 1/2 kilometer from their current location, the new facilities were considerably better than the vendors’ makeshift street stalls, but many complained that the location was too far from existing customers and vendors’ homes, thereby introducing new daily transportation costs.
Despite opposition by most vendors, the relocation took place in September 2013, and, as it turned out, the market lacked adequate parking and had poor stall arrangements and site design.
Because relocated vendors experienced customer loss and income decline, almost all moved back to their original location on Jl. Basuki Rahmat. When the civil police subsequently sought to move them back into the market and issue a regulation, the street vendors organized an association to continue to fight the move.
Research Findings This section summarizes our research findings regarding why informal vendors from the five market sites returned to the streets after “successful” relocation and upgrading efforts and how policy and planning interventions might prevent such outcomes in the future.
Relocation Efforts Failed To Look Beyond Aesthetic Approaches Even when government relocations took into account vendors’ desires to relocate near the public spaces where they formerly operated, they often ironically lacked integration with the surrounding urban fabric and major circulation corridors, resulting in limited public access and patronage. For example, in Jakarta’s Pasar Tanah Abang Blok G, vendors were moved from the readily accessible street level to the third floor of an indoor facility, with failed promises of a connecting bridge that would help steer the public in their direction and escalators that would help customers reach the higher floors. Hasan, one of the leaders of the street vendor association, said, “Look, this one-way road is ridiculous; people will never stop in front of this market; there should be a good management of circulation here.” Ida, a vendor who abandoned Tanah Abang for the streets, said, “The government promised to provide good infrastructure before relocating us, but never fully completed it.” Likewise Jakarta’s Pasar Gembrong Cipinang Besar repelled customers with inadequate parking, and Solo’s Pasar Panggungrejo was imperceptible from the road because of a large setback.
Eko, a trader who left Panggungrejo for the streets, said— The market is not accessible for students.… I only had a limited number of regular customers who knew me from my previous location. When they graduated, it was very difficult to find new customers due to the nonstrategic location. So I had to move out.
Spatial considerations, however, also go beyond the market locations to include locational arrangements within markets and other interior features of facilities. In Pasar Panggungrejo, Pasar
Notoharjo, and Pasar Tanah Abang Blok G, the poor circulation, limited access of upper levels, and cramped corridors were noted as inhibiting customer traffic and patronage. Locational considerations are particularly important for certain types of purveyed goods and services, such as mobile phone credit, fast food, and auto parts and repairs, which require high levels and easy modes of accessibility for clients on the go. Wiwin, a former Pasar Panggungrejo trader who now operates a stall on Jalan Ki Hajar Dewantoro, elaborated on this issue.
Location is really key for those of us who sell mobile phone credit. Our main targets are people passing in the street. People will not park their motorbike and go inside the market just to find phone credit. Inside the market, from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., we can get 10 transactions, which is good but, many times, it’s worse than that. Outside the market, I can get 50 transactions on average.