The City as a Playground

By Tita Larasati

Jalanjajan.bdg as a juncture of informal economy and creative economy in Bandung

Section one

Description of the case

Geographic area of Research: Bandung, West Java

Bandung is the Capital City of West Java Province. Within a year, Bandung has an average temperature of 19–23 degree Celsius. Bandung is currently inhabited by approximately 2.5 million citizens (the Central Statistics Agency/ BPS, 2018), with 1,400 people/km2 density. The main potential of Bandung is its human resources, especially the younger generation, supported by its natural beauty and cool climate. Bandung is dominated by the productive age group (15–64 years), 72.4% of the whole population, reaching up to 1.81 million people. Since 1930s, Bandung has gained a reputation as a popular destination for fashion, culinary and hospitality experiences.

ectionFigure 1. City of Bandung, located in West Java Province, Indonesia

Bandung City Profile

Cultural Economy Sector Focus

Bandung was selected as a pilot project of creative cities in Asia Pacific by British Council in 2006, and joined UNESCO Creative Cities Network (UCCN) as a City of Design in 2015. Currently, Bandung has 8.3% of creative economy players from West Java province (the second highest) (Bekraf, 2017) and has the highest number of creative economy companies in West Java, totalling up to 126,184 companies (BPS, 2016).

This success is supported by the existence of human resources in the form of creative communities, who are currently working together in a cross-sector creative forum, such as Bandung Creative City Forum (BCCF), a hub organisation for collaboration, networking and co-creation among communities.

Through its programmes, BCCF is able to influence the creative communities, society and the government to provide solutions for social and economic issues, including in the informal sector in Bandung.

Bandung has all these creative economy ecosystem elements;

  • Human resources with skills and knowledge in the creative industries
  • Products (good and services) in the creative fields
  • Market/users with high appreciation of the works
  • Research and development platforms.
Figure 2. People, Place, Ideas in Bandung City

Ecosystem of Creative Economy and Informal Economy

“Creative Economy” was elevated to the world of economic and development agenda by the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD) in 2004; defined essentially as “the knowledge-based economic activities upon which the ‘creative industries’ are based”. It includes all parts of the creative industries that are also considered an important source of commercial and cultural value; including trade, labor and production, “the most dynamic sectors that provide new opportunities for developing countries to leapfrog into emerging high-growth areas of the world economy”.

United Nations Educational, Science, and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) defines creative economy as bringing together the sectors of the economy “whose main purpose is the production or reproduction, promotion, dissemination and/or the marketing of goods, services and activities that have cultural, artistic or patrimonial content”.

The Importance of Creative Economy:

  • The creative economy is important for the future because it is rooted in creativity, which is a renewable resource based on knowledge and community. Daniel H. Pink (2005) in his book “A Whole New Mind” states that in the future, creative thinking is very important. Six basic creative thoughts from Pink are: Not just function but also DESIGN, not just argument but also STORY, not just focus but also SYMPHONY, not just logic but also EMPATHY, not just seriousness but also PLAY, not just accumulation but also MEANING.
  • One of the essences of creativity is a strong idea and it is an important factor in economic growth as stated by John Hawkins in his book on the definition of creative economy, namely “The Creation of Value as a Result of Idea”.
  • The creative economy is a sector that can collaborate Indonesia’s wealth (natural, cultural and human resources) driven by creativity and innovation to create added values.
  • The creative economy has contributed to the national economic growth. The GDP (Gross Domestic Income) of the creative economy in 2018 increased to Rp.1.105 trillion with a contribution to national GDP of 7.16% (Bekraf, 2019).

Informal Economy

It is now widely accepted that the informal economy involves income generating activities that fall outside of state regulation. The International Labour Organization (ILO), the international agency that focuses mostly on the informal economy and its statistics, in particular, describes it as referring to “…all economic activities by workers and economic units that are — in law or in practice — not covered or insufficiently covered by formal arrangements” (Brown, D., McGranahan, G., & Dodman, D., (2014). Godfrey (2011) stated that informal economy is identified as business activity that is unregistered or otherwise untracked and thus unregulated, but not otherwise illegal (McGahan, 2012).

It can be said that the informal business sector is a business sector that is not registered and conforms to formal regulations. Understanding the identification of the informal sector is quite complicated because sometimes it also overlaps with the management which still follows the formal rules, although not completely. There are many different layers of informal types, different explanations for each category and there is no clear statement of comparison between the two different forms (formal and informal).

While it is generally accepted that the informal economy involves activities that fall outside the purview of state regulation, this definition has gone through a number of subsequent revision to reflect the heterogeneity of the informal economy and its linkages with the formal economy (Chen 2007, 2012; ILO 2002b).

It defines economic informality around these three concepts (Brown, D., McGranahan, G., & Dodman, D., 2014):

  1. The informal sector, which refers to production and employment in unregistered enterprises.
  2. Informal employment, which focuses on employment outside of the labour protection regulations of a given society, whether informal or informal enterprises.
  3. The informal economy, which covers all enterprises, workers, and activities that operate outside the legal regulatory framework of society, and the output that they generate.

The informal forms emerged because of poorly designed regulations and formal procedures which made it difficult for certain segments of society.

The informal economy is now a significant and permanent phenomenon that is growing in most parts of the world in response to the ongoing global economic crises. This is also reinforced by research conducted by Rakowski (1994) and Tokman (1989) that the scale of the informal economy continues to grow due to several factors, including the informal sector being the key to economic growth and poverty reduction. Informality can increase the economic stability of the community and become an important factor in urban resilience. City resilience describes the capacity of cities to function, so that the people living and working in the cities — particulary the poor and the vulnerable-survive and thrive no matter what stresses or shocks they encounter (Arup, 2014).

Informal Economy as a Support System for Creative Activities

As a dynamic sector, the creative economy is supported by many actors who form an ecosystem for the continuity of creative activities. One of which is the informal sector. The participation of these various actors has supported the regional development, especially Bandung as one of the creative cities in Indonesia. An ecosystem that involves multiple actors participation is known as the helix concept. The concept of helix continues to develop from the triple-helix, quadruple-helix, penta-helix to the hexa-helix. The triple-helix concept focuses on the relationship between academia, industry and government. The Quadruple-helix concept complements the previous concept with the relationship between academia, industry, government and community. The fourth actor, Community, provides a new approach to economic improvement through socio-cultural values based on the people’s point of view.

In order for the creative economy to develop more rapidly and equitably, collaboration between academia, business sectors, government, community and media, needs to be implemented to develop the helix concept. ICCN (Indonesia Creative Cities Network) has developed a framework to analyze the role of creative economy stakeholders in an area known as Hexa Helix Creative Economy Stakeholders, by having Financial Institutions as the sixth helix.

Playing Activities as a Juncture of Creative Economy and Informal Economy

In JalanJajan.bdg, play activities become the media or creative activities that bring people together with the informal economy sector. With fun and interesting activities, either alone or with family, many people are interested in participating in JalanJajan.bdg activities and provide benefits to increase the economic value of the informal sector.

Definition of Play

A free-ranging voluntary activity that occurs with certain time and place limits, according to accepted rules. Play is accompanied by feelings of tension and joy and an awareness that it differs from ordinary life’ (Albon, 2001, p.357). ‘Play is a spontaneous, voluntary, pleasurable and flexible activity involving a combination of body, object, symbol use and relationships. In contrast to games, play behaviour is more disorganised, and is typically done for its own sake (i.e., the process is more important than any goals or end points)’ (Smith, 2013, p.2).

Apart from being a fun activity, playing has many benefits and it is a foundation in shaping one’s character. Play is also beneficial in improving cognitive abilities; be a medium for children to learn to solve problems. Playing for children is a learning process to interact and understand the environment and objects around them.

Playing characteristics:

  • Active (physically & mentally)
  • Meaningful
  • Symbolic
  • Voluntary or self-chosen
  • Pleasurable
  • Process oriented
  • Intrinsically motivated
  • Adventurous and risky
  • Self-directed

Case description: JalanJajan.bdg

ICCN (Indonesia Creative Cities Network) is a hub organization, formed in 2015, that has connected initiatives and communities in up to 210 cities/regencies from all over Indonesia. All ICCN members are committed to implement the 10 Principles of Creative City, which comply to the pillars of Sustainable Development Goals. Some of the characteristics of Bandung as the most prominent creative city are “a compassionate city”, “an inclusive city”, “glorifies the creativity of its people”, and “maintains the wisdom of its history while building the spirit of reform”. With this spirit, Bandung has had several events involving the informal sectors in developing its potential as a creative city, including Airborne.bdg at Linggawastu, Fashion Village Lab at Cigondewah, and JalanJajan.bdg around Braga area.

Figure 3. The intertwined between informal economy and creative economy

Why JalanJajan.bdg?

  • Bandung’s great potentials, including informal culinary vendors, also its historical and cultural stories.
  • Bandung’s demography. Bandung is mostly inhabited by young people especially students whose characteristics are fun, playful, adventurous, etc. It is one of the most popular tourist destinations in West Java. Many people come to Bandung to enjoy the city.
  • Mixing culinary experiences, cultural and historical storytelling, and city exploration on foot.
  • Become a medium for the creative economy actors to build intimate networks with the food vendors in the informal economy sector.
  1. Description of JalanJajan.bdg
Figure 4. JalanJajan.bdg Themes

JalanJajan.bdg is an initiation of Bandung Creative City Forum in an Urban Game activity to get to know the city through its local culinary and historical approach. The activities are guided by a book that contains a map and 20 challenges, so that the participants can walk and explore the corners of the city, be encouraged to empathize with the environment and various elements surrounding the targeted creative economy actors.

In JalanJajan.bdg, there are several rules to be followed by the participants, as follows:

  1. Participants are usually divided into teams with 5–6 members.
  2. Every team will have a guide book which contains challenges, riddles, and clues; a journey map and cutleries. Participants are not allowed to use digital map from any kind of device.
  3. Each team is required to finish every mission in the guide book.
  4. All trip should be on foot.

This event also included participants from various age and background each year. For example, in 2019 the participants of JalanJajan.bdg are international students from a Summer School program of a university.

The second Jalanjajan.bdg event in 2019 collaborated with / Widyatama Art Therapy Centre to design merchandises for JalanJajan.bdg with diffable students. During the process, the students were guided with professional product designers from a local merchandise brand, McBlush Gift.

In 2020, JalanJajan.bdg took part in Helarfest 2020, a community festival held by Bandung Creative City Forum since 2008. Due to the pandemic, the team experimented on a hybrid method to conduct the game. Held as a form of activity during the Placemaker e-Weekend ASEAN with the theme “CureYourCity: Sneaking and Snacking in The City”, the event presented talks and discussion sessions, next to the game itself. Participants joined the game online through Zoom, YouTube, and Kahoot. They ‘walked’ along the recorded journey that was streamed in 360 degree video in YouTube, while simultaneously attending a Zoom meeting, where a facilitator guided the virtual tour and provided short videos and quizzes that contained expert explanations and “fun facts” of the visited spots and related topics.

JalanJajan.bdg Activities

Strolling around the city

Warung Kopi Purnama
Warung Kopi Purnama is one of the oldest coffee shops in Bandung and is a culinary heritage site in West Java. Purnama Coffee Shop has been operating since 1930. At its inception, the restaurant that was founded by Yong A Thong was named Chang Chong se, which means: Good luck! In line with the policy of the Government of the Republic of Indonesia, in 1966 this restaurant changed its name to Indonesian language “Warung Kopi Purnama”. The interior inside the coffee shop is very thick with historical elements. You can see antiques and a variety of old furniture. The building is in the classical Chinese Malay style.

Pisang Goreng Simanalagi
Pisang Goreng Simanalagi is a legendary shop located at Jalan Dalem Kaum, which specializes in serving various fried bananas such as, fan fried banana, fried plantain banana and gegedoh fried banana. This shop was founded by Mrs. Tjiong in 1948. Pisang Goreng means fried banana fritters. A lot of Indonesian snacks are fried and pisang goreng is one type of traditional food that is usually eaten as afternoon snack.

Pisang Goreng Simanalagi has been operating for more than 20 years. In terms of hierarchy, Pisang Goreng Simanalagi is the royalty of fried bananas. It is much more expensive than other pisang goreng in general, and it ranks very high in taste and quality. The seller only uses good quality cooking oil and flour and the serving size is also bigger than other pisang goreng.

Figure 5. Pisang Goreng Simanalagi

Rumah Makan Linggarjati
Linggarjati restaurant has been established since 1960 in Bandung. It sells special menus, namely yamin and avocado ice. Yamin is a typical Bandung culinary food made from noodles which has two flavors, i.e., sweet and salty. The dish is complemented by a wide selection of side dish toppings and a separate chicken stock served in a bowl.

Mie Ayam Kampung Tjiong Lung
Mie ayam Tjiong Lung is a simple shop that has been selling native chicken noodles since 2012. Chicken noodles is a typical culinary food of Bandung. It is a common Indonesian dish of seasoned yellow wheat noodles topped with diced chicken meat. In Indonesia, the dish is recognized as a popular Chinese Indonesian dish, served from simple traveling vendor carts frequenting residential areas, humble street-side warung to restaurants.

Figure 6. The founder of Mie Ayam Tjiong Lung

The Actors

  • Informal Actors
  • Participants
  • Committee
Figure 7. All the actors of JalanJajan.bdg

Jalanjajan.bdg and Inclusivity
In 2019, Jalanjajan.bdg collaborated with / Widyatama Art Therapy Centre to design merchandises for JalanJajan.bdg with diffable students. During the process, the students were guided with professional product designers from a local merchandise brand, McBlush Gift.

Figure 8. Collaborative project between JalanJajan.bdg and / Widyatama Art Therapy

Hybrid (Offline and Online) Method of JalanJajan.bdg in 2020

Figure 9. Online activity of JalanJajan.bdg during the pandemic

Methodology for the investigation

Although the study on “informality” in the creative economy has been numerously conducted, not many have explored deeper into the forms of actual collaboration between informal economy and creative economy actors. With this JalanJajan.bdg research, we attempt to examine how a group of creative economy actors in Bandung City created a game system for the general audience as the game participants, to walk, explore, and buy or taste food that are sold by vendors in the informal economy sector in several locations in Bandung. A great number of participants of JalanJajan.bdg have even returned to the vendors, becoming their regular customers.

The method used in analyzing JalanJajan.bdg programme is through:

1. Literature study related to creative economy, informal economy, principles of creative cities, and playing activities.

2. Data findings on the past activities of JalanJajan.bdg (2016–2020), including documentation and recording analysis, and collecting merchandise.

3. Tracing back the route of JalanJajan.bdg to experience the vibe of strolling around the city while enjoying the riddles and mission with ethnographic method.

4. Data analysis using the 10 principles of creative cities.

5. Findings and Conclusion.

Theories and Literature

Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) by United Nation

Figure 9. 17 Goals of Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs)

The development of the creative city concept cannot be separated from the principles agreed upon by world leaders, namely the 17 Agenda for Sustainable Development Goals (SGDs) from the United Nations. Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) are a global action plan agreed upon by world leaders, including Indonesia, to end poverty, reduce inequality and protect the environment.

10 Principles of Creative Cities by ICCN

ICCN (Indonesia Creative Cities Network) is a hub organization, formed in 2015, that has connected initiatives and communities in up to 210 cities/regencies from all over Indonesia. All ICCN members are committed to implement the 10 Principles of Creative City, which comply to the pillars of Sustainable Development Goals. Within the organisational structure, all ICCN members are managed by 13 regional coordinators and 20 sub-regional coordinators, next to the 6 deputies and the secretarial/administration team. ICCN is committed to advancing creative cities in Indonesia, by conducting research and development to foster economic development with creativity (the engine of creativity) in the form of creative and innovative ideas, or ideas that are supported by complete institutional infrastructure in the involvement of hexa-helix elements (bureaucracy, academics, business, community, media, financial institution) as well as the support of quality and modern digital infrastructure.

It is expected that the development program for creative cities in Indonesia will have a concrete impact on the economic sector, such as by increasing income, creating jobs, and opening up new business opportunities. In addition, it also has social & cultural impacts, namely the growth of community pride, the formation of solidarity, togetherness and education for the community. Along with the creation of economic and socio-cultural values, this program can also have an impact on the environment such as developing regional potentials, tourist destinations and enhancing the image of the region.

ICCN has a representative in the city of Bandung, which focuses on developing experiential tourist destinations; culinary, fashion, shopping through urban scale solution initiatives by creative communities.

Figure 9. ICCN framework (Dwinita Larasati, 2020)

A creative city is a city that is able to improve the urban environment and create an inspiring city atmosphere. The first parameter of the creative city is the development of the creative economy potential. In the creative economy, we can prioritize the role of community participation and determinants of public policies and good environmental governance.

10 Principles of Creative City

1. Compassionate city. A city that upholds socio-cultural diversity, which is based on the values of compassion and caring;

2. An inclusive city. An open city, which glorifies human values and the spirit of togetherness, solidarity and peace;

3. A city that protects human rights. A city that defends all the economic, social and cultural rights of its people;

4. A city that glorifies the creativity of its people. Cities that develop intelligence, local wisdom, skills, creativity and ability to reason, science, and technology as a basis for creation and innovation;

5. A city that grows with a sustainable environment. A city that lives in harmony with the dynamics of the environment and natural surroundings;

6. A city that preserves historical wisdom while building a spirit of renewal to create a better future for all its people;

7. A city that is managed in a transparent, fair and honest manner. Cities that prioritize the value of mutual cooperation and collaboration, and open access and participation of the public to be involved in building their cities;

8. A city that can meet the basic needs of its people. A city that always strives to improve the welfare, happiness and quality of life of its people;

9. Cities that make use of renewable energy. A city that always strives to fulfil energy needs wisely and sustainably

10. Cities that are able to provide adequate public facilities for the community, including friendly facilities for vulnerable groups of people and with special needs.

Hexa Helix of Creative Economy Stakeholders
Hexa Helix is an ecosystem that shows collaboration between actors such as the government, academia, mass media, communities and also with the private sector, as an effort to develop the potential for the creative economy in a region; by generating 3 Cs (Connect, Collaborate and Commerce/Celebrate). The Hexa Helix concept can be used in analyzing and mapping the roles of each stakeholder in a creative activity.

  • Element A (Academia), has a significant role in research in the form of research, innovation, testing, and protection of intellectual property rights (IPR) which supports the creative economy.
  • Element B (Business), namely creative business actors who have an economic contribution and play a role in internal synergy between business people.
  • The C (Community) element opens opportunities for interdisciplinary configuration and networking, and frees the concept of “innovation” from just economic considerations and goals, but also involves creativity as part of the process of production, knowledge and innovation (Yunas, 2019).
  • Element G (Government), namely actors from the central or regional government ranks who play a role in the provision of superstructure or policy basis, infrastructure or physical / non-physical facilities and infrastructure, and institutions to support creative economic activities.
  • The M (Media) element has a significant role even though it is not directly affected by other elements in carrying out its functions (Satari & Asad, 2016).
  • The F (Financial Institution) element is a support for capital in various forms for the creative economy sector, such as banking and non-banking.
Figure 10. Hexa Helix and the Role of Creative Economy Stakeholders, (Dwinita Larasati, 2020)

Section two

The Findings

1.What is the motivation for being in the informal sector?
Business activities in the informal sector have different market segments from larger, modern and formal businesses. In the real situation, the informal economy can be formed with the support of strong social infrastructure from the closest social circles such as family and professional colleagues. The similar characteristics of informal economy and creative economy have also become factors that connect the two sectors. For example, the working conditions in creative economy fields are commonly casual, playful, and flexible, and develop its networks based on “family values” (Duffy, 2016; Neff, 2012; McRobbie, 1998; Ross, 2003).

These conditions are also found within the contexts of informal economy, whose workers generally thrive due to strong family ties among the actors, the sense to help each other in a community, and the strong awareness to build social networks as an “infrastructure” to survive (Mizen and Ofusu-Kusi, 2010; Simone, 2004; Malasan, 2019).

2. What are the benefits of informality for your case?
With the existence of informal economy, creative activities become more lively and the participants were excited to know the existence of the informal economy which has so far been missed or not known before. By involving the informal sectors in JalanJajan.bdg, the engagement process was rather very simple, for example to ask their consent as a part of the game, the committee did not have to follow official procedure, instead they approached the food vendors casually. The characteristics of the owners of the food vendors are also very nice and flexible.

3. How does the informality speak back to some of the other SDGs
Related to the SDGs, the JalanJajan.bdg program’s benefits are reflected in the following five goals, namely point 1 (No Poverty): By empowering businesses in the informal economy sector, people who have limitations in capital, work skills, or experience can run a business and earn regular income independently, 8 (Decent Work & Economic Growth): The actors of the informal economy, with the support of social networks formed at this event, can get the attention of wider community so that in the longer term they form bonds with new customers and increase their income, 10 (Reduced Inequalities): In this event, everyone allowed to get equal opportunity to participate. They can participate actively, despite of different economical, educational, or cultural backgrounds. Participants can freely interact with the organizers and informal economy actors in the process of playing., 11 (Sustainable Cities & Communities): By involving various elements of the city, the creative event has created an ecosystem that supports each other to form creative events and communities in a sustainable and flexible manner to improve their quality, through the informal sectors., 17 (Partnership for the Goals): The involvement of the formal and informal sectors in this event builds the exchange of knowledge, expertise, technology, and finance among all stakeholders who are actively involved.

4. What are some of the challenges experienced from this informality?
Difficulty of obtaining capital, the informal economy business model is still marginalized from the government system because it is difficult to detect, there is no standardization of quality (cleanliness, products, work system) and the working character of informal sector actors are considered inconsistent.

5. What are the links with the formal sector of your case?
By supplying the produced foodstuffs, the actors of the informal economy sector maintain a sustainable business ecosystem with the formal sectors such as restaurants, cake shops, etc. In addition, through the creative activities of JalanJajan.bdg, all stakeholders from the formal (professional designers, universities, foundations, etc.) and informal sectors get involved and form a collaborative network.

6. Impact of Covid-19 on the work
The Covid-19 pandemic encourages the new JalanJajan.bdg concept with an hybrid (online and offline) system, so that it has a wider exposure to national and international participants. This has been implemented in 2020 with the theme CureYourCity.

Section three

Implications from the Case

1. Extent to which this case is an example of a trend or pattern in your territory.
JalanJajan.bdg is a case where we consider as one of example of a trend or pattern of the juncture between informal sectors and the creative economy, especially in Bandung. Bandung is popular as one of culinary tourism destination area in West Java, and the informal sectors contribution in culinary tourism is also quite significant. This can be seen on mass media, such as television variety shows, and also social medias posts. Many of new and favourite culinary spots are basically informal economy sector. JalanJajan.bdg utilizes gamification to expose this potential by linking it to the historical aspects of the city.

2. Implications for documentation and recording of cultural activity
It is important to documenting and recording the whole activity related to this case, because of several things. First, one of the informal sector’s weakness is there is no guarantee that the business will survive for a very long term. This uncertainty become one of the main concerns why this informal sector needs exposure, new customers, and story to be told in order to offer a more sustainable business. The more the community is aware of the sector, the higher the possibility of the business to sustain. By making documentation and recording, not only we can keep the story for a long time, we can also make it accessible to the public and give the business more exposure.

Second, Indonesia has a huge number of creative cities with various creative potentials and always strive to develop the city with their own unique characteristics. The documentation and recording of creative events, such as JalanJajan.bdg, will become very useful for other city or region who would like to develop a program that can link the informal sectors with their creative activities.

Third, if only every cultural activity in all over Indonesia is documented and recorded properly, it would become one of the efforts for managing the cultural resources. By having the proper documentation and recording, the future generation can be aware and learn about their own culture better.

3. Implications for public sector support
JalanJajan.bdg is one of case where the Hexa Helix stakeholders are involved. Hexa Helix is an ecosystem that shows collaboration between actors such as the government, academia, mass media, communities and also with the private sector as an effort to develop the potential for the creative economy in a region; by generating 3 Cs (connect, collaborate and commerce/celebrate).

Government or the public sectors were actively involved in many creative activities in Bandung. The involvement become deeper as many activities or events were held in this city. This Hexa Helix stakeholder involvement in creative activities also has led the city government to ratify the first bottom up initiated local regulation (Perda) about Creative Economy Arrangement and Development in early 2021.

In this Creative Economy regulation, there are eight scopes that are regulated; creative economy actors, creative economy arrangement, creative economy development, creation centres and creative cities, creative economy structuring and development committee, funding, creative economy information systems and supervision and control. This new regulation is arranged and pushed by the local community, creative economy actors, and the public sector.



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