“Activate your public space” might seem strange as a slogan for a city with public parks and facilities that are in a good condition, and whose citizens need no encouragement to come out and enjoy public spaces. But this is not the case in Bandung. Neglected public facilities have become a “new normal”. City parks become too messy/ dark/ dangerous, or – if one looks pleasant enough – often inaccessible.
It is due to this reason that a number of communities in Bandung are attempting to make the parks more pleasant; one of them is Culindra. This community runs a program called Parktivity, and the one that just happened this weekend, at Panatayuda Park, Bandung, was the second. In Parktivity, Culindra takes a city park and creates all kinds of events on a decided day, collaborating with several other communities. The events so far included a garage sale, a barter market, outdoor “board” games, live music, a workshop on garbage separation and water reservation (biophores), and so on. At this second Parktivity, Agritektur, a community that supports local farmers, held an open kitchen and an “outdoor fine dining” experience.
At their station, made of wooden crates and blackboards, Agritektur offered us to choose a menu, then let us pick our preferred (locally grown) ingredients (plated on a tray made of woven lidi/ palm leaf ribs). Some of the available ingredients were already sliced and portioned into cups: cherry tomatoes, capsicums, onions, broccoli, carrots, cucumbers, salad leaves, mushrooms (2 varieties), chicken and beef. Eggplants and zucchinis were available in whole, to be picked out off a wicker basket. After being paid for, the ingredients were cooked by a couple of guys (majoring in tourism department of a university), and, once cooked, served on a lidi plate.
They have provided a long table covered with white tablecloth, decorated with pots of yellow flowers, so we could sit and chat and hover over someone else’s freshly-cooked dishes with different ingredients. This setting intrigued conversations and provide a sort of mixed experience between “dining” and “picnic”, and even “open air concert” if a live music happened to be performing on stage.
In this 2nd Parktivity, improvement was apparent, despite some hiccups, which should be handled with few difficulties in the next events. The impact – to urge people to use neglected parks – might not yet be obvious, but we won’t find out if we don’t start somewhere. So, let’s come out and play!