Housing Estates in Jakarta, Indonesia
Amongst the various housing options in Jakarta and other major urban centers in Indonesia are housing estates, or 'real estate' as Indonesians refer to them, which have been developed in recent decades. The newer housing estates have been built primarily near the outer edges of urban areas and in the outlying communities and satellite towns where land is still available. The estates form the basis of suburbs from which many commute into the Golden Triangle, in Jakarta, and other business centers to work. Because housing estates are found on the outskirts of town, the air quality is significantly better than in housing areas nearer to business centers. Housing estates may be able to provide better security as well, compared to single family residences within typical neighborhoods.
What sets these communities apart from most areas in the larger cities, is that they are planned communities. The streets generally are wider and can accommodate on street parking easily. Sidewalks, street lighting, recreational facilities, security and many more amenities are common and have been built into the master plan. Planned communities differ drastically from the other extreme, for example the Kemang area of Jakarta, where haphazard development of houses in the midst of kampung has led to a maze of small alleys and unnamed back streets amongst which homes can be found crowded together with no sense of order or pattern. The numbering system of homes in these areas is an unsolvable, ongoing nightmare as well!
In outlying communities and satellite towns, these communities often include golf courses, bike pathways/trails and other amenities as they are trying to appeal to a lifestyle choice.
Whether you want to call them housing complexes, estates or real estate developments, you will soon see the difference in lifestyle that these well-planned communities provide.
Housing estates are often walled or fenced off from the surrounding neighborhoods, which provides more privacy and security for residents. The gates are guarded by Satpam (security guards) which stop traffic entering from surrounding areas. Less traffic ensures safer streets on which children can play. This can also be a security requirement for some companies that employ expats.
An additional advantage is that the endless stream of vendors and salespeople that normally plague households throughout the city are stopped from entering the complex. While you won't have the joy of deciphering the ting and tock sounds of the various salesmen that wheel by your door throughout the day and night, you also won't have to deal with beggars, unsolicited salespeople and other unwanted intrusions on your privacy.
The developer of the estate has undoubtedly built recreational facilities for the residents to enjoy. Many of these communities have also built shopping and entertainment areas to serve the needs of their residents. Recreational facilities could entail elaborate country club-like club houses or simple recreation centers. Facilities could include swimming pools, playgrounds, courts for playing tennis, basketball or squash, soccer fields, convenience stores, meeting rooms or even a golf course or putting green. Sometimes this is seen as an advantage to the residences but for the commercial entity it also means that they have a captive market.
Usage of these facilities is usually exclusive to residents and their guests. Inquire into facilities available in housing complexes you see with real estate brokers. Stop by the facilities and ask about membership fees (if any) and usage of the facilities.
Public areas in these complexes are usually well maintained by the estate management. The cleanliness of the streets contrast greatly with unplanned areas of the city as typically the residents are paying a maintenance fee to ensure the grounds are maintained.
Sense of Community
Living within close proximity of others, residents can easily meet neighbors and develop friends in their community. While houses may or may not be separated by high walls ... it only takes knocking on a few doors to get to know your neighbors. Don't let the fact that you may only be in Indonesia for a few years stop you from making the acquaintance of the people living around you. You will often find them very helpful in settling in and orienting you to your new community.
Your neighbors will undoubtedly be people you see at the nearby shops, restaurants and recreational facilities on a regular basis. Strike up an acquaintance and greatly enhance your sense of belonging to the community. Indonesians may not make the first move, but will certainly welcome the chance to get to know their new expat neighbors. Household staff or children often lead the way as they have chances to meet through contact on the street.
Your neighbors can also be helpful source for finding domestic help and a driver. The community notice board or the tenant relations office will also assist you to locate reliable household staff. If they're worked for a family on the estate before, it will be easy to check their references and reputation in the community.
Some housing estates even offer maintenance services for their tenants. It's great to be able to call someone at the management office whenever you need repairs in your house, instead of having to hunt down a tukang (repairman) of perhaps dubious skills.
Some of the housing complexes have developed their own electrical power, water treatment and other utilities. They may use public utility services as a backup or not at all. Having the backup generator capabilities of a housing complex on standby will be greatly welcome in the midst of a blackout in your community. Water quality from the complex treatment plant will be superior to ground water, much of which is contaminated in urban centers.
If privacy, wide streets and a sense of order and space in your environment are important to you, contact the management of the estate directly (they are usually listed in the Jakarta Yellow Pages) or ask your real estate broker to show you homes in some of the well-planned housing estates.
Photos © Sentul City, Bogor