Participatory design

Kota Kita Awarded as the Best Placemaker of the Year for Co-Design Ngampon

Vanesha Manuturi
Fri, 12 Nov 2021

In the month of November 2021, the Kota Kita team was honored to receive recognition from Placemaker Awards ASEAN 2021 as the Best Placemaker in the NGO/Community (Public Space) category and also as the Best Placemaker of the Year for the Co-Design Ngampon initiative in the Indonesian city of Solo. 

The Co-Design Ngampon project utilizes a participatory design approach to strengthen a sense of belonging and ownership for the community, build social capital, and, ultimately, catalyze the neighborhood’s collective agency to be the main actors of change in their living spaces. Through a series of focus group discussions facilitated by Kota Kita in 2019, Ngampon residents identified a pressing need for a common multi-purpose space to support community-based economic development and social activities. Together with residents, we developed three solutions in revitalizing new common spaces for the neighborhood: a communal working area for birdcage makers—whose crafts were tied to the neighborhood’s heritage and identity—to encourage sharing tools, knowledge, and ideas; a children’s playground near the workspace to support working parents; and urban farming space to optimize underutilized spaces in the neighborhood with greeneries. 

The recognition from Placemaker Awards ASEAN underscored the importance of placemaking as a tool to cultivate the active participation of underprivileged and marginalized communities to improve their living spaces. Urban public spaces and communities have always existed in unison. The most dynamic public spaces showcase diverse and inclusive community activities, and vice versa, vibrant communities thrive in people-oriented places. When people who regularly use public spaces—especially the vulnerable and marginalized—are actively involved in the design and co-creation process, the spaces will contribute to the enjoyment and wellbeing of the people. The concept becomes especially relevant in Indonesian cities, where the smallest neighborhoods unit, the kampong, are usually homes to those most vulnerable yet showcases significantly strong social bonds. 

Kota Kita has long collaborated with communities in low-income neighborhoods within Indonesian cities to co-design urban spaces that are more spatially and socially functioning. Receiving the award became a reminder for us that a stronger relationship between community and areas plays a pivotal role in fostering a sense of belonging and strengthening collective agency to bring about change.

We want to express a big thank you to the committee of the Placemaker Awards ASEAN 2021 for the recognition. We would also like to express our deepest gratitude to Give2Asia for supporting this project. Our most significant credit, of course, goes to the residents of the Ngampon neighborhood, who were the driving force behind this initiative. Without the enthusiasm and creativity of the Ngampon residents, this project would not have been successful. 

If you or your organization would like to collaborate on a participatory placemaking initiative with Kota Kita, we invite you to reach out at info@kotakita.org