Surabaya is one of big cities in Indonesia, and it’s known as the second biggest metropolitan city in this country. I’ve been living in Indonesia for 22 years and 23-24 April 2012 was the first time I ever stepped my feet in Surabaya. I always hear people saying that the weather in Surabaya is really hot, and it’s true. Though it has a hot weather and makes you sweaty, people also tell that it’s a good place to live, and again it’s true.
I went to Surabaya from Semarang at 22 April and it took about 9 hours by bus, more or less, and I had a night trip so I arrived in the morning.
Here we go Surabaya. What’s my first impression? This city is really nice. I can say Surabaya is a developed city, of course, this city is categorized as metropolitan area. Due to Surabaya as metropolitan city, we can see many high rise building there, giving a modern atmosphere in the city. However, the local government has committed to balance the urban physical aspect with nature, green, and open space aspect in the city. Surabaya has hot weather? True. So that’s why giving many green elements as open spaces, parks, trees, etc. is a real necessary thing to do. I could feel that (though the weather was indeed still felt hot), the green aspects along the way and across the city can give cool and mild feeling to people there. FYI, last year, around November 2011, Surabaya received an international award as ASEAN Environment Sustainable City. After I visited the city, I have no doubt about that. This city has a good environment management in the middle of metropolitan activities.
23 April 2012
When I was having a trip there, I was in the group of my master degree field trip, so I consider my trip as a semi formal-vacation trip haha. I visited the Province Regional Planning Board or known as Bappeda Provinsi Jawa Timur and followed the presentation from several local government institutions there. From the presentation we got the information how the government tries to create a sustainable development and set the strategies on pro growth, pro job, pro poor, and pro environment.
I also visited Ciputra Land, which is called as The Singapore of Surabaya, it’s nearby a place called Pakuwon. Ciputra Land is some kind of satellite area or a township in Surabaya. From the visual observation, I can tell that this area is an elite one. But it does has a concept of compact city where you can do or fulfil your daily needs and activities around the neighbourhood. It is also located nearby Pakuwon Indah which I also visited. It has a superblock that combined with a commercial plaza where I bought an interesting clown mask there. Haha.
Around at night, me and some of my friends planned to go to visit one of the most controversy place in Surabaya, a well known ‘red light district’, Dolly district. It is said that Dolly district is one of the biggest prostitution area in South East Asia. I don’t know. We’re so curious by the story of this district that mixed up with local settlements and it’s open for 24 hours a day? That’s …. I don’t know, surprising?
I have no other intention but to take a look by my own eyes how this district is. Personally, I took a settlement concentration in my master degree college now. Knowing that Dolly as s red light district is mixed up with local settlement and it’s growing for years since Dutch colonization era, I’m so curious to see the place. So, how was it? I’m surprised. I mean, in my imagination, the place is known as one of the biggest red-light district so I pictured that it would be some kind of more classy one.
What I saw is a dense settlement with many of pimps standing in front of whorehouses offering the prostitutes. I was shocked in the taxi because the pimps were a bit ‘having too much excitement’ knocking the window of my taxi, asking me to go out. Oh my God. Hahaha. Stick with the plan, I only passed that district within the taxi because I just want to take a look, nothing further, that’s it. Enough. I’m feeling guilty by this but I’m so curious and when I told my mom about this, she laughed and said it’s okay as long as I only do this kind of thing to get information. Worse, my mom asked how’s the whore fares in Dolly -___-“. FYI, it’s around IDR 50.000-300.000 for the low class, and if you’re looking for the higher class it will cost more. Oh my God. What am I doing by giving this kind of information :O
24 April 2012
Ah, I forgot to tell that I also took a walk around the city at night in Surabaya. It’s nice. The pedestrian is accommodated pretty well by the pedestrian walk that is available around the main streets. Surabaya has many city parks that you can see and gives an aesthetic element for the city itself. Surabaya is also has many river that crossed within the city. The government managed everything so well so that the city has a clean and comfortable environment.
Back to the business, in the second day of me in Surabaya, I visited one of the best practice for affordable public flats for low-middle class in Surabaya. It is called ‘Rumah Susun Menanggal’. I did an interview to one of the local resident there with my lecturer, collecting information about how the flats can be a sample for a successful flat project.
After that, me and my master degree group continued our trip to Suramadu bridge. This bridge is beautiful. Well, you can’t see many long bridges in Indonesia and Suramadu is one of what Indonesia has. This bridge is essential because its function as the connector between Surabaya and Madura Island. The aim is to push the growth of Madura Island by building the road infrastructure that can make economy activity works better and more efficient. FYI, this bridge development spent IDR 5 billion and was built from 2003 and completed in 2009. Now, by the operational profits, it can give around IDR 400 million daily that is stored to state. This bridge itself is managed by Badan Pengembangan Wilayah Suramadu (BPWS) that not only handle the bridge, but also how to improve acceleration of the development around Surabaya-Madura.
Overall, Surabaya is one of the best example for other cities in Indonesia to develop and build a city with sustainable concept. However, one main thing that is still missing there is the public transportation aspect. You can see that traffic is one of the main problem in metropolitan city. It should be anticipated before it get worse and become the second Jakarta, which I can tell, an epic failure because the government couldn’t anticipate this problem. Just like other big cities in Indonesia, people still use their private mode as transportation preference in Surabaya. CMIIW, within 2 days, which is a very short time to conclude a whole character of the city, but the public transport aspect is still need to be improved in Surabaya.
I guess that’s all about my 2 days trip in Surabaya. I can tell that I’d love to come back to this city next time. 🙂