Category Archives: klipping

articles or news from various media that are relevant to sustainability issues

Bicycle Line: Repeating Mistakes?

As a person who has spent about ten years living in The Netherlands, and as a believer in all the goodness of a bicycle, I got intrigued when an acquaintance posted a link at Twitter to a YouTube video about How The Dutch Got Their Cycle Path.

The video tells the history about how, in the early 70s, The Netherlands was full of cars. Buildings had to be demolished to make ways for cars. A lot of people rode their bikes, but since there’s no proper paths, road accidents bound to happen. It’s similar to our current condition here, where cars and other vehicles are kings, roads and highways are being made and getting wider, with very few considerations toward pedestrians and bicycles.

[Read also the blog: How the Dutch got their cycling infrastructure]

The remarkable lesson from this history is the struggle of the people to fulfill their demand: having proper bicycle lanes, which was also backed by political willingness. Authorities joined in the voice of the people in their demand, and therefore appropriate bicycle lanes could be provided. They started by having car-free days, then gradually changed the road plans (widening the lines for pedestrians and bicycles). As the result, city centers became entirely car-free up to today, and The Netherlands becomes among the most bicycle-friendly countries. Numbers of road accidents have been greatly declining within the decades, and roads become a safe space for children and elderly people.

Watching this video has brought to mind a comment from an exchange student from Germany who currently joins my Design & Sustainability class. We were discussing strategies for eco-design, when he said that Indonesia, as a developing country with a lot of resources, should be able to skip all the mistakes that advanced industrial countries made. The industrial countries are now ‘paying for their mistakes’ by ‘cleaning up the mess they’ve made’ in an expensive way, such as restructuring their infrastructures and facilities to become more humane.

Concerning the bicycle line, cars and roads. We are indeed going to the direction where cars are considered as having more rights to the roads, compared to pedestrians and cyclists. There’s no policy limiting the use and purchase of motored vehicles, not to mention the loose regulations and practices concerning driving licenses. Although people (including children and elderly people) keep using the roads as pedestrians, there’s no guarantee about their safety even in crossing the street or walking at the sidewalk (which, if available at all, are mostly occupied by street vendors). Bicycle paths, if any, are almost impossible to ride on, since they’re merely (fading) blue paints over existing paving block sidewalks, which are lined by electricity poles, etc. – and also are often blocked by parking cars and motorbikes.

Are we really going to repeat the mistakes of the developed countries, or even making worse mistakes? Do we really want to live in a world where human beings worth less than automobiles and motorbikes? Aren’t we concerned about the safety of our young children and our elderly parents?

Whatever the answers are, I’d refer to the lessons from the video: public demands can only be fulfilled if the authorities have the strong political will to change. Like Al Gore once said, during The Climate Project Asia Pacific Summit (January 2011):

“You can always change your light bulbs with the energy-saving ones, but it takes the government’s commitment to change the energy policy, to create significant impacts”




P.S. I should also mention about the availability and improvement of public transportation facilities, since it is among the crucial factors of successful, well-planned mobility, especially within a dense urban area. But I’m sure you’ve got the point.

[klipping] Fight Climate Change with Bamboo!

An article from World Bamboo:

In addition to providing livelihoods for people, bamboo forests would be an invaluable weapon against carbon dioxide (CO2), the principal greenhouse gas, through photosynthesis, INBAR said.
Some species of bamboo can suck up CO2 at least as fast as Chinese fir and eucalyptus, among the swiftest-growing commercial species of trees, according to a scientific report presented last month.
In addition, bamboo roots reduce soil erosion, preventing hillsides and riverbanks from washing away in floods and landslides.

Hybrid Methods for Bamboo Product Enterprises in Indonesia

This article is published by the American Bamboo Society in BAMBOO Magazine (December 2010). I received the magazine yesterday, sent by BAMBOO Magazine editor, Betty Shor.

BAMBOO Magazine, ABS, Dec 2010

My article starts at page 13 and ends at page 16. All photos in this magazine are black and white.

Page 13, where the article starts

Hybrid Methods for Bamboo Product Enterprises in Indonesia

In Indonesia, where 11% of bamboo species grows indigenously (KLH, 1998), bamboo has been used for centuries for various purposes, from construction and furniture to musical instruments and kitchen utensils. Bamboo has been carrying the stigma of being a substandard material, due to lack of its application to permanent contemporary products. However, since the emergence of global issues concerning environmental qualities and sustainability, bamboo started to gain attention as a potential material to supplement or substitute wood or other conventional materials for construction, furniture or other products.

Bamboo product manufacturing methods in Indonesia are categorized into traditional and advanced methods. The traditional methods are generally applied by Small- and Medium-sized Enterprises (SME) and home industries, which are located in rural areas. The workers are craftsmen who inherit their weaving and carving skills from their predecessors, using simple household tools (often only a single knife), producing bamboo products whose designs have existed for generations and are used for their original purposes as kitchen utensils, containers, etc. The advanced methods are commonly conducted by research/academic institutions and particular companies who have access to technology and other resources. They manufacture bamboo products using conventional machineries, or machines that are specifically designed for processing bamboo, commonly resulted in laminated boards.

These two methods, however, are not quite strategic for the development of bamboo products in Indonesia, especially if the main purpose is to change people’s perception on bamboo: no longer as a substandard material, but as a potential, durable material that fits current needs and demands. On one hand, Indonesian bamboo products manufactured with traditional methods can hardly compete with traditional bamboo products from other countries, or with mass-manufactured products made of other materials with similar functions. Moreover, the products retain their ‘traditional’ image, which limits their market to people who want them for their exoticism. On the other hand, bamboo products that are manufactured with advanced methods require substantial efforts in order to guarantee raw material supply, mass-production machineries, financial capital and other resources, which would be impracticable for the near future. Therefore, applicable, appropriate methods for bamboo product manufacture in Indonesia are necessary, here of which hybrid methods are proposed. The hybrid methods are combinations of traditional and advanced methods in three levels, as follows (Fig.1. Levels of Technology in Bamboo Product Enterprises in Indonesia):

–       Modified Traditional Method, in order to create improved traditional products

–       Combination of Traditional and Advanced Methods

–       Adapted Advanced Method, which is adjusted to the conditions of the producer communities

All hybrid methods put an emphasis on labor-intensive industry in a modified SME, involve a considerable portion of a designer’s role in increasing product values, and aim the product to users or consumers with contemporary lifestyles.

Fig.1. Levels of Technology in Bamboo Product Enterprises

As an attempt to demonstrate the concept of hybrid technology for manufacturing bamboo products that fit current lifestyles, a number of prototypes have been produced in different occasions, using various techniques and resources. Among the first ones was a set of eating utensils made of bamboo veneer and bamboo splits, which required no weaving technique (Fig.2. Bestrek). Further design explorations resulted in another set of eating utensils that were mainly made using bamboo veneer (Fig.3. Pincuk). This set was designed along with creating a prototype of a manually, one-man operation bamboo veneer machine, considering that the manual bamboo veneering technique is gradually diminishing among current craftsmen.

Fig.2. Bestrek Set

Fig.3. Pincuk Set

More experiments using veneer and customized, precise handy work resulted in lighting facilities (table lamp and hanging lamp), produced by Apikayu Foundation, an establishment that focuses on community development through design and local natural resources (Fig.4. Apikayu). Common technique that is employed to make a certain kitchen utensil is now applied to an entirely different form that can function as a frame of a bag called Taraje (Fig.5a & 5b. Taraje). One last example is a couple of bamboo stools (Fig.6. Stoolboo) that were produced by applying the adapted advanced method. These hybrid products prove that bamboo products can have an entirely different appearances and performances compared to the existing bamboo products that are known in Indonesia. By developing the designs and the industries that produce the improved bamboo products, it is expected that bamboo could be recognized as a potential industrial material and could provide income for SME.

Fig.4. Experiments by Apikayu Foundation

Fig.5a. Taraje Bag

Fig.5b. Taraje Bag

Fig.6. StoolBoo

Dwinita Larasati

I was born in Jakarta, Indonesia, in 1972. I studied Industrial Design at the Institute of Technology Bandung (ITB) until 1997, with a graduation project on advanced treatment for bamboo as a construction material in Indonesia, with a design of a bamboo garden hut (a gazebo) to demonstrate the concept, collaborating with the Applied Physics Department of the Indonesian Science Institute (LIPI). I chose to work on bamboo material exploration for my graduation project, since I acquired a substantial amount of data and information about bamboo from the International Bamboo Congress that was held in Bali in 1995 and believed that, from the design perspectives, bamboo actually has a huge opportunity to be developed and that bamboo should be regarded as a valuable material.

In 1998 I continued my study to the Industrial Design Postgraduate Program at The Design Academy Eindhoven, The Netherlands. I acquired my Master of Arts in Design Research with a thesis titled Uncovering the Green Gold of Indonesia, about bamboo as a competent material for industrial and constructional products, emphasizing on the application of appropriate technology. Dr. Jules Janssen acted as one of my tutors during this study. The Hybrid Methods that are proposed as an appropriate technology for Indonesian bamboo product enterprises are the main content of my thesis, of which development and examples are continuously being made up to present. In 2007 I completed my doctoral research at Delft University of Technology, The Netherlands, with a dissertation about sustainable housing in Indonesia, with bamboo housing as study cases. Dr. Janssen acted as a supervisor and examiner during the last half of my research. Returning to Indonesia, and back to working at ITB as a lecturer and researcher at the Industrial Design department, I proceed with my bamboo research as it is gradually getting more popular. The examples of bamboo hybrid products that are presented in the article are results of design competitions, workshops, exhibitions and research projects, which were conducted following my return to Indonesia. It is due to the hybrid technology research for Indonesian bamboo products and enterprises that I received an award as a Technology Innovator on the 15th National Technology Resurrection Day in July 2010, which focused on the theme “Strengthening the National Innovation System”.

7 Prinsip Keberlanjutan untuk Komunitas Interaktif

Limpahan informasi, terutama tautan ke berbagai situs, salah satunya telah membawa saya ke sebuah tulisan berjudul Designing a Movement: Seven Principles for Sustainable Action (Valerie Casey), di mana Valerie Casey, pendiri Designers Accord, menyimpulkan prinsip-prinsip “keberlanjutan” yang dapat ia tawarkan ke komunitas desainer interaktif – sekelompok orang yang secara mendarah-daging selalu menganggap bahwa keberlanjutan adalah suatu desain sistem. Selengkapnya tentu saja bisa dibaca langsung di situs tersebut; di sini saya hanya merunut ke-tujuh prinsip tindakan berkelanjutan yang disampaikan Valerie.

1. Sebuah sistem bukanlah hanya sebuah gabungan dari bagian-bagian dari sistem tersebut. Satu bagian sistem pasti berpengaruh pada yang lain; tidak ada yang berada di luar sistem.

Tindakan: Memahami konsep sistem. Di sebuah bentangan benang yang ujung-ujungnya telah tertanam pasti/fixed (diagram Bruce Mau), tarikan pada satu bagian pasti akan mengulur bagian-bagian yang lain. Petakanlah proyek, sumber daya dan dampaknya dengan cara ini.

2. Masukan yang tertunda menyebabkan “jebakan desain”. Desainer bisa membuat keputusan buruk bila masukan/tanggapan terlambat datang.

Tindakan: Jangan mendesain untuk gejala tertentu saja. Banyak proyek desain terfokus hanya pada pemecahan masalah yang mudah untuk dicerna, daripada mengatasi sumber permasalahannya. Contohnya, orang lebih dianjurkan untuk mendaur ulang, tapi tidak pernah benar-benar dianjurkan untuk mengurangi belanjaan atau membeli produk-produk lokal.

3. Tidak ada yang namanya efek samping. Kita sering menentukan batasan-batasan artifisial di sekitar proyek kita bukan saja untuk memfokuskan diri pada permasalahan, tapi juga untuk menghindari tanggung-jawab terhadap hal-hal di luar batasan tersebut.

Tindakan: Alamilah produk-sampinganmu sendiri. Cobalah membawa-bawa sampahmu sendiri selama seminggu. Jangan buang benda-benda non-organik yang kamu pakai: botol plastik, kemasan, tisu, peralatan makan, semuanya. Ini akan jadi sebuah pelajaran kilat untuk mengetahui ‘efek samping’ dari semua konsumsi kita.

4. Tetapkan ukuran-ukuran kesuksesan yang tepat. Kurang buruk tidak berarti baik.

Tindakan: Buka sebuah jejaring sosial dengan sebuah tujuan sosial. Kita suka menciptakan jejaring, tapi bagaimana kalau kita menciptakan sebuah alasan untuk berjejaring? Kalkulator jejak karbon jadi kurang laku karena keabstrakan data hasilnya, berbeda dengan situs-situs di mana orang berbagi kasus-kasus nyata, perkembangan-perkembangan dan usaha-usahanya.

5. Pilih tingkatan yang tepat untuk perubahan.

Tindakan: Jadilah seorang mentor. Luangkan enam minggu bekerja dengan seorang siswa tingkat menengah atas, dan pelajari dirimu sendiri sambil membantu orang lain memakai pemikiran desain untuk mengubah lingkungan mereka (misalkan, sebuah sekolah).

Peta perjalanan bahan pembuat sebuah taco, menempuh hingga 64,000 mil (sumber:

6. Kenali hubungan antara struktur dan perilaku. Struktur sebuah kelompok, organisasi, komunitas, industri secara keseluruhan menentukan perilakunya.

Tindakan: Lakukan investigasi terhadap sebuah sistem. Telitilah sistem makanan dalam segala kejayaan politisnya yang korup. Mengertilah bahwa yang kau masukkan ke mulut adalah sebuah aksi politis. Cari berbagai referensi yang membuat kita tahu bagaimana pasar makanan global membuat lapar pihak-pihak yang miskin. Bayangkan dan berbagilah sumber-sumber mengenai hal-hal yang kau sukai, dan tambahkan sedikit data dalam investigasimu, mungkin kau bisa mempertentangkan berbagai asumsi tentang keberlanjutan, dan meluncurkan cara baru dalam berpikir.

7. Perhatian publik seringkali tidak mencerminkan perubahan dalam kondisi sebenarnya. Jangan terbuai oleh efek memabukkan dari isu-isu yang beredar tentang keberlanjutan – kamu juga harus melakukan sesuatu!

Tindakan: Kontribusi, distribusi. Bertindaklah sekarang!