On a recent Friday morning, the newly-opened Tebet Eco Park mirrored a rather busy weekend crowd. A group of students getting excited on their field trip. Joggers squeezing in a morning run. An old couple leisurely crossing the orange-tinted bridge that links the north and south park. They are all mundane yet delightful sights that seem to foretell what the park would mean to the city.
The crowd that day also reflects the excitement of finally having a city park that feels safe, welcoming and thoroughly designed unlike any of its contemporaries. Along with the rising need for green open spaces in the country, the revitalised Tebet Eco Park already feels like a triumph.
“We took references from park designs in first-world countries, where they implement a nature-based solution design to tackle environmental issues,” said Anton Siura, founder and principal of SIURA, a Singapore-based urban design and architecture planning studio, who worked with city authorities on the public park project for 15 months.
“For example, we naturalised the existing concrete canal into a beautiful river to attract wildlife. While the Infinity Link bridge that meanders around existing trees was designed to be functional, barrier-free access. Most elements here are created to cater to different communities, from children, adults, elderly to the disabled.”
And this nature-first approach is apparent in its seven-hectare layout: the park is divided into eight different zones, each with different functions that prioritise nature and the experience of park-goers. “During construction, we dealt with over 1500 trees and constantly flowing water that sometimes flooded. I would say it was not an easy process, but it was still a fulfilling one when we saw how happy people were when it first opened.”
A group of family and friends can be seen setting up their packed lunches and snacks along the stretches of the Community Lawn at the north park. The zone, dotted with wooden tables and benches upcycled from the park’s cut trees, is where big groups gather under the cooling shades of the towering leda trees, whose natural bark hues of green, grey and orange inspired the park’s overall colour palette.
Just off the Infinity Link bridge into the south zone is the serene Wetland Boardwalk, a swamp area built as the park’s answer to flood control and natural water management. This zone leads to an elevated footpath, where the surrounding tall trees give off the feeling that it’s closed off from the rest of the busy park, while relaxed footsteps, birds chirping and distant chatters echo the space.
The sprawling Children Playground, which may just be the star of the south park, sees some young faces running into the belly of the crocodile-shaped playhouse, while others hop on the trampolines and have a go at the slides. It’s an open space for children to run free and play amongst age-mates, a need that has largely been left unmet over the past two years.
Through thoughtful intention and design, connecting people with nature seems like a fully-realised goal here, and with the number of park-goers who have been enjoying its physical surroundings and making genuine use of the public park, Tebet Eco Park holds like aspiration of what the city can produce in the future and a hopeful signal of a shift in our relationship with nature.
Tebet Eco Park
Jl. Tebet Barat Raya, South Jakarta, 12820
Operation hours: Every day – 6 am to 8 pm