Firm Foundation: Decreasing Vulnerability with Self-Reliant Urban Design for Riverfront Housing
Banjarmasin sits at the southern tip of Borneo, where the Barito river empties into the Java Sea. It is the self-proclaimed City of 1000 Rivers. Although the actual number of rivers falls short of the thousand declared, it quickly becomes clear just how integral the river system is to the daily life of its citizens.
Banjarmasin is currently undergoing many large-scale physical, economic and environmental transformations. Declining industrial production has left behind a legacy of contamination and ecological damage on the river’s edge. Banjarmasin is growing but the city cannot keep up with this urbanization. Many communities live without utilities and basic infrastructure. The city’s tidal levels are rapidly rising due to climate change. Residents battle with the waters everyday to maintain their wood-built homes and livelihoods. Firm Foundation reduces physical vulnerability and enables endogenous development of the urban riverfront communities with a flexible kit of parts of gabion foundations. The project engages communities towards stewardship of their neighborhoods and waterways with a participatory design process.
Firm Foundation provides a stable ground for the urban poor in Banjarmasin, reinforcing the livelihoods and cultural identity of the riverfront communities.