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Main » 2012 » May » 5 » The urban design of a Balinese town: placemaking issues in the Balinese urban setting
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The urban design of a Balinese town: placemaking issues in the Balinese urban setting
Author: T. Nirarta Samadhi
Habitat International 25 (2001) pp.559–575
This paper discussed at the Study Seminar in Urban Planning Lab, School of Natural Science & Technology on Friday, January 20, 2012 by Pindo Tutuko

The urban design of a Balinese town: placemaking issues in the Balinese urban setting

This exploration aims at providing a ground for reconnecting urban design proposals with their cultural context, thus promoting the spatially expressed localism originating from the diversity of cultures which is currently undermined by the highly  standardized process of the Indonesian planning system. The research concludes that to achieve culturally appropriate places, the design process has to acknowledge the Balinese Hindu psycho-cosmic concept as the core principle in the design of Balinese townscape.

Relevant Balinese traditional-religious conceptions

The Balinese understand that reality shadows the play of sekala (tangible/real) and niskala (intangible/unreal) forces, which are either (or both) generative or (and) degenerative. The forces are kept in a harmonious balance in Balinese architecture and environment by assigning attributes to the Balinese space.




Dewata Nawa Sanga. The Balinese indigenous windrose: a center and eight cardinals, represent the nine
different forces. The Hindu triad is vertically positioned on the figure: Wisnu, Shiwa and Brahma.


The Concept

Center:  In most of the Southeast Asian tribes (custom) not just in religious and cosmological terms but also in political realm. The physical manifestation of the concept:

  • The form of a ‘grand crossroad’
  • The important Balinese settlement’s functions such as the palace ( puri), the temple ( pura), the priest’s house (griya), the
  • Public meeting hall (wantilan), and the marketplace ( pasar).
The center's elements: 1.Puri (Palace), 2.Wantilan (Meeting House), 3. Pasar (Market Place), 4. Lapangan (Square/open place), 5. Residential, 6. Pampatan Agung (grand Cross Road)




Another important concept to understand is the psycho-cosmic concept




Another important concept to understand is the psycho-cosmic concept
  1. Relationship between bhuwana agung (Macrocosm)and bhuwana alit (microcosm)
  2. Five Basic elements: pertiwi (earth/solid substance), apah (water/fluid substance), teja (fire/light/heat), bayu (air), and akasa (space/ether).
It were identified from the questionnaires and sketched mental maps.
  1. Attitude to Human being (environment relationship)---desa adat (custom village)
  2. The concept of center----pampatan agung (Great cross road)
  3. Attitude to spatial organization---Sanga Mandala (wind rose)
  4. Attitude to environmental design
  5. Attitude to symbols and meanings 
Conclusion
  • In the practical realm, the Indonesian urban planning and design administrative and legal procedures suggest a centralized system in which the local government runs the national planning Model
  • This tradition has influenced the way Indonesian urban planners and designers assess their projects
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