This romantic image is actually a disaster area: Kampung Apung Teko, one of Jakarta’s many villages, has become more and more flooded until it gained a new reputation as Jakarta’s only floating village. A more than questionable feat. Until the 1990s, the three-hectare village was a community adjacent to rice fields. Now it is accessible only through foot bridges. The population was down to 200 households around 2010.
The flood protection system that was installed in 2021 to protect Venice from rising sea level effects is named MOSE (for Modulo Sperimentale Elettromeccanico). The name was chosen to allude to the story of Moses dividing the Red Sea to save the judaic tribe in the Jewish and Christian Old Testament. The plans for MOSE were already introduced in the 1980s but it’s completion took amlmost 40 years.
In the same manner the sea wall that is currently in planning for Jakarta is named – and shaped – after an ancient myth: The giant bird Garuda.
Both projects show, that the municipalities believed in the role of cultural history in the political communication of climata adaptation measures.
While Jakarta has serious evacuation plans, there are apparently also plans to build a new and unique sea wall. Quote from an article from 2016:
“The National Capital Integrated Coastal Development consortium will build a new set of barrier islands and a sea wall that will guard the city from waves and storm surges. The extensive project will take the shape of the Garuda, a mythical bird and symbol of Indonesia. While construction is already under way (the first pile was planted in October 2014), KuiperCompagnons, the Dutch firm behind much of the design, estimates that the project will take 30 to 40 years to complete.”
And this is Garuda:
Quote from wikipedia:
“Garuda is described as the king of the birds and a kite-like figure. He is shown either in a zoomorphic form (a giant bird with partially open wings) or an anthropomorphic form (a man with wings and some ornithic features). Garuda is generally portrayed as a protector with the power to swiftly travel anywhere, ever vigilant and an enemy of every serpent. Garuda is a part of state insignia of India, Indonesia and Thailand. The Indonesian official coat of arms is centered on the Garuda and the national emblem of Indonesia is called Garuda Pancasila.”
Thanks to Johanna Fischer for the lead!