Jokowi Reaches Out to Creative Community, Like He Did as Solo Mayor
Jakarta Governor Joko Widodo has promised to work with the Tourism and Creative Economy Ministry to develop so-called creative spaces in the capital as part of his program of empowering local artisans and entrepreneurs.
The governor said on Sunday that he met with Tourism Minister Mari Elka Pangestu earlier in the day to float his idea of developing facilities to allow underfunded or underexposed craftsmen and small businesses to get the financing they needed and gain exposure in a wider market.
“These creative public spaces will accommodate the development of the creative industries here in Jakarta,” he said, adding that three of these facilities would eventually be built. “I’ll announce the locations later, but what’s important is that we get to work on it as soon as possible next year.”
He added that the creative spaces would feature open green space, an area where people could sell their wares, and give access to pedestrians and motorists.
Boosting the creative industries was one of the cornerstones of Joko’s campaign during the Jakarta gubernatorial election, based on the successful implementation of an identical program in his hometown of Solo.
The program has since seen the Central Java city rival neighboring Yogyakarta as a center of Javanese arts and culture.
Joko cited Jakarta’s abundance of malls as not necessarily a bad thing as far as supporting local artisans was concerned.
“Some people think there are too many malls, but I like it that there are malls built around productive grassroots businesses,” he said. “Look at Tanah Abang. It provides an outlet for productive community enterprises.
“Malls can be good, but we don’t want to fuel one-way consumer tendencies. We want to concentrate on boosting community businesses, so the kinds of things we need are more showrooms, facilities and investment,” he added.
Since taking office last Monday, the governor has wasted little time addressing other key programs, including housing for the poor and mass transit, but has already come under for criticism for his hands-on approach.
Slamet Noerdin, a city councilor from the Prosperous Justice Party (PKS), said on Saturday that Joko was spending too much time “touring” the capital.
However, the governor defended his visits as crucial to gaining an understanding of the challenges he has to deal with.
“I only go to places with problems so I can see what programs would be most appropriate there,” he said.