Call for Park in Place of Governor’s Shopping Mall

DENPASAR ~ Governor I Made Mangku Pastika’s plan for a shopping mall on the site of the former Badung regency administration centre in Denpasar – a key element of his public investment plan to boost local business and lift incomes – has run into a chorus of criticism from academia.

A string of academics have said this week the land at Lumingtang should become a “people’s park” instead.

The strategically located land, on which many Badung government offices were burned in political riots in 1999, totals 5.56 hectares.

Udayana university lecturer Putu Rumawan Salain said this week the land should be developed as green space to beautify the city.

Development of a mall would require a traffic impact assessment and would add to existing heavy congestion on the “northern bypass,” Jl Gatot Subroto, he said.

A park would support Bali’s laws and regulations specifying that 30 percent of any urban area must be green space and would provide people with a place to enjoy fresh air and eliminate fatigue, he said.

Environment observer and lecturer at Ngurah Rai University in Denpasar Ketut Witarka Yudiata said the city did not provide adequate parklands and gardens for people’s enjoyment.

“We see Puputan Square and Niti Mandala field at Renon are always packed with people,” he said. “That means people are in need of such space.”

If the government did not have a commitment to providing public space, urban areas would become one large central business district, he said.

Udayana University Rector Prof Made Bakta said the Lumingtang land was perfect for a park, which he too recommen-ded rather than a mall.

People proved their need for parks by their high rate of use of existing open space, he said, adding that development of a mall would worsen traffic congestion and damage the environment.

The Indonesian-language press reported this week that in 2005 it was proposed to develop Bung Karno Park on the Lumingtang land, named after the founding president of the republic, Sukarno.

A competition had been held for designs for the park and gardens and submissions were formally assessed on criteria including historical, aesthetic, symbolic, physical and economic and tourism aspects.

The Bung Karno Park was to have included a statue of the former leader.

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