It is heartening to see an increasing number of bike-parking facilities around the metropolis. Bike racks have recently been spotted at the Aksara book store in Kemang. Another lot have popped up at Plaza Indonesia’s southeast gate. Pondok Indah Mall has reportedly joined the trend. The city’s cyclists are keeping track of the phenomenon on the crowd-sourcing Web site www.klikjkt.or.id. And, of course, our diligent Tweeters are on the pulse, with a recent Tweet reporting a new set of racks at Pejatan Village (this “village” is just another mall, right?).
Malls, it seems, are always the quickest to respond to all our “needs.” The sudden appearance of these bike racks really is an iconic example of how capitalism via consumptivism, the ideology of compulsive consumption, is always capable of transforming itself to respond to any criticism or demand. This is the opinion of my friend, Suryono Herlambang, a professor at a planning school in West Jakarta who has been studying the city’s malls for the past five years. Among his discoveries, Suryono has found that many of Jakarta’s malls have Floor Area Ratios (FARs) that are higher than those sanctioned in the original plans approved by the city, before these plans are “revised” to suit requests from developers.