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Tebet Eco Park: Ecosystem Restorations Breathe New Life into Jakarta’s Urban Parkland

Tebet Eco Park: Ecosystem Restorations Breathe New Life into Jakarta’s Urban Parkland

/ Jakarta, Indonesia /

/ Story: Kangsadan K. / English version: Bob Pitakwong /

/ Photographs: SIURA Studio /

Environmental degradation has had a wide-ranging impact on people’s lives and the general health of flora and fauna. But the natural world is far more resilient that we realize. Let’s take a look at the design of Tebet Eco Park in Jakarta that’s exemplary of efforts at repairing damage and the upkeep of the biological community, forestland and water sources.

Like everything else, it’s been through good times and bad times to get where it is today – a city park lovingly restored to its former glory.

The fields and streams, and wetland environments are full of life and energy while lush vegetation abounds, thriving luxuriantly under scattered groups of trees.

The secret to all of this lies in creative landscape design that bodes well for the future of the complex network of interacting organisms, and beautiful esplanades lined with greenery. It’s a rendezvous where humanity and nature come together in peaceful harmony.

The years of neglect are gone now, no more flooding or being isolated from the rest of the world. And, thanks to care and attention, the park’s ecosystems are saved from destruction by human activities.

The enclosure 73,000 square meters in extent has experienced the new birth as a result of ongoing efforts at preserving the city’s green spaces and preventing wasteful use of resources.

At the same time, recreation areas and playgrounds connected by a system of esplanades were added to the mix resulting in diversity in parkland ecosystems that augurs well for a good rapport with nature.

The Tebet Eco Park Restoration Project is the brainchild of SIURA Studio, an urban design and landscape architectural firm based in Singapore.

A drawing of the master plan shows the reintroduction of greenery, a system of esplanades on both sides of the waterway and ecosystem restorations in relation to surrounding residential neighborhoods. / Courtesy of SIURA Studio

The company has enjoyed a strong track record in innovative design that prioritizes the climatic context and ecological implications of a project site. In a nutshell, it’s about integrating sustainable goals in park design so as to answer the basic recreational needs of people in urban areas.

The project began in earnest some 15 months ago. At the time, the area with small streams and wetland habitats was clearly in a state of disrepair caused by periods of low rainfall alternating with deluges of heavy rain that resulted in flash floods.

To make matters worse, flooding also brought contaminated debris into the area, while a new road running through it disrupted an ecological corridor that’s the life line of woodland flora and fauna, eventually resulting in widespread destruction of the physical environment.

That’s exactly where an experienced landscape team at SIURA Studio came into play. They were tasked with breathing new life into the area, eventually returning the urban parkland to a good condition.

This was achieved by adding greenery suitable for this particular ecosystem, at the same time improving the quality of small waterways, wetland habitats and biodiversity in the area. And all of this is done corresponding to land use planning so that society, the environment and the city as a whole can benefit from it.

First and foremost, the two separate areas of the park were combined to form a single entity, while the 714-meter-long waterway that ran through it was rehabilitated to health.

A drone’s eye view of Tebet Eco Park shows a pedestrian overpass painted a shade of red twisting and turning on a spiral course, bringing the people of Jakarta and nature closer together.

Meanwhile, the concrete road was removed and replaced by garden pathways, creating a wetland environment capable of supporting aquatic life. The stream itself was made long and winding by design, a clever hack in the waste water treatment process.

Interesting before-and-after photos of Tebet Eco Park show the reintroduction of aquatic plant species and improvements in wetland habitats.

In this way, saturated conditions on both sides of the stream became conducive to the growth of wetland plants and other organisms, not to mention an increase in biodiversity and improvement in soil quality.

The long and winding stream inside Tebet Eco Park is lined with lush vegetation after concrete embankments had been removed and replaced by aquatic plants growing vigorously.

In a gradual way, the urban parkland that once fell into disrepair was brought back to life. The trees and shrubbery now grow and develop vigorously, thanks to the enthusiasm and work spirit that advocates reduce, reuse and recycle as a means of protecting the environment.

Just to give you an idea, some of the rocks and tree stumps unearthed during the excavating process were converted into reusable building supplies, while others found a new purpose as component parts in outdoor furniture, such as park benches and equipment in children’s playgrounds. In a nutshell, nothing goes to waste.

An aerial view of children’s playgrounds designed to answer the rest and recreation needs of the people of Jakarta.

Tebet Eco Park no doubt has transformed into delightfully warm and inviting recreation grounds for the people of Jakarta. If walking is your thing, perhaps you might like to check out the esplanades on both sides of the stream.

Whether it’s a quiet saunter down the garden pathway lined with greenery or fitness walking that quickens your breathing, Tebet Eco Park is the place to be.

A pavilion used as a shelter lies on the south side of the park.

There’s even an overpass painted a bright shade of red that will take you on a twisting and turning spiral course among the treetops. By the way, walking through a park is different from strolling on the street in front of your home. Physical activity in a green space provides multiple health benefits.

A pedestrian overpass in red intersects a system of esplanades on the surface combining two sides of the parkland into one single entity.

In the big picture, there’s more to a park than just restoring ecosystems to health. It involves taking the initiative to improve the quality of life for people in urban areas.

Citizens and investors can participate in city planning and making recreation grounds easily accessible to people in the community.

The bottom line is public green spaces matter. Although everything changes, the relationship between humanity and nature remains inextricable. A yearning to reconnect with the natural world never dies; it only gets stronger with time.

Because the people of Jakarta want a healthy physical environment for rest and recreation, Tebet Eco Park is there for them – an open public space that’s sustainable, creative and easily accessible to everyone.

Architect: SIURA Studio

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The Park: A Grass-Roof Community Center Shimmers in the Night

The Park: A Grass-Roof Community Center Shimmers in the Night

/ Nghe An, Vietnam /

/ Story: Ektida N. / English version: Bob Pitakwong /

/ Photographs: Trieu Chien /

Like the green roofs in times past, a quintet of community center buildings stands sentinel over the rice fields in Vinh, a small farming town in Vietnam’s Nghe An Province. Officially named “The Park” it looks out over a calm and peaceful lake and, beyond, long lines of mountains and hillsides can be seen from miles around.

the park

No doubt, the heavenly morning mist and respect for nature combine to give a team of architects the inspiration they need going forward. The Park is the brainchild of the MIA Design Studio, an architectural firm based in Ho Chi Minh City. And the end result is a delightful a group of public space buildings that blends perfectly into the natural environment.

the park

the park

Technically speaking, it’s a design that takes into account the circumstances that form the setting of the area. And that’s exactly the quality that puts the small town’s community center in a class of its own. The five-building civic center is a great addition to the neighborhood. Among other things, it attracts townspeople, provides community services, and promote community fitness.

A three-stage diagrammatic representation shows a quintet of civic center buildings placed along different imaginary lines to take in different views of surrounding landscapes. / Courtesy of MIA Design Studio
A diagrammatic representation illustrates the location of the civic center quintet in relation to the waterfront. / Courtesy of MIA Design Studio

Their waterfront facades afford a view of the lake surrounded by lush green paddies and mountain ranges to the far side. The exterior walls are built of engineered wood textured and stained to look like real timber set at intervals to allow natural light and fresh outdoor air into the interior.

Designed to merge into surrounding landscapes, the principal facades overlooking the road in front lie hidden under grass roofs set at an angle of 45 degrees gently rising from the ground up to culminate at the apexes.

the park

The five buildings are symmetrical solids set on different axes to take in different views of the calm and peaceful countryside. They are connected with each other by a system of corridors, which in tern leads to a jetty at which boats come to dock and be moored. In a way that’s uncomplicated and easy to understand, each building serves its specific functions providing public services to people in the community.

the park
Openings in the external envelope allow light and fresh outdoor air into the interior, strategies that prevent it from becoming a stuffy, overcrowded space.
Like historic roofing making a comeback, the five buildings are roofed over with lush green lawns resembling grassy knolls overlooking the road in front. Shed roofs covered with earth and vegetation create a superior thermal mass that absorbs and transfer less heat from the sun into the interior.

On approaching the civic center, you only see what looks like a few grassy knolls gently rising to the summits that are the focal points of the design. It’s visual experience that excites the imagination and creates a good first impression on people passing by. For a warm and friendly atmosphere, the main entry area is flanked by a welcome building and a restaurant building linked by a hallway.  The other three buildings that lie a little further away contain a sauna, fitness center, and changing rooms plus other amenities, respectively, for privacy.

the park

With nature as the first priority, the architects chose only simple building materials for interior decorating. It falls into a line of thought that the beautiful view outside takes precedence over any other consideration. At the same time, it is built strong and capable of carrying and transferring loads down onto the foundations. The facades overlooking the lake are covered in frameworks of wooden bars with awnings built of composite wood to keep the sun and rain off the building faces.

the park
A fascinating array of lattices built of engineered wood is set at different angles to provide shade and create an aesthetic appeal to the over design.

Step inside, and you find the ceilings covered in engineered wood paneling. This material is chosen for its beautiful, authentic look that connects with the outdoors. The interior walls are covered in indoor tiles for a neat appearance, while the external envelope is adorned with faux wood lattices for a relaxing outdoor ambience.

the park
Because it’s a public green space, natural features take precedence here. They’re considered more important than other things. In essence, it’s designed to reap the full benefits of nature, be it lighting or ventilation. Plus, well-thought-out design reduces the need for electromechanical air condition, which saves big on electricity costs.
the park
Seen from the water, each building has its lakefront façade facing a different direction to take in a different angle of view of the waterscape. The principal face of the building is covered in frameworks of wooden bars with awnings to keep the sun and rain out.

Designed as a landmark easily seen from a distance, the quintet of civic center buildings is all aglow in the nighttime, thanks to an orchestra of electric lights shining through hundreds upon hundreds of small openings in wooden latticework. Like a chandelier shimmering in the dark of night, they create stunning reflections on water and an indelible impression on people going past this area.

Architect: MIA Design Studio (

Principal Architect: Nguyen Hoang Manh

Concept Design: Nguyen Hong Quan

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Kaew Khum Oey Garden: Rewilding Strategies Turn Unused Land into an Oasis of Calm

Kaew Khum Oey Garden: Rewilding Strategies Turn Unused Land into an Oasis of Calm

/ Chiang Mai, Thailand /

/ Story: Lily J. / English version: Bob Pitakwong /

/ Photographs: Courtesy of Jai Baan Studio /

Imagine what to expect as urban areas relentlessly expand into the outskirts of a city. More basic physical infrastructures are needed. As to be expected, they have a significant impact on rivers, canals and natural water bodies. Not to mention new roads that traverse a vast area covered with forest and agricultural land. Some see it as a welcome change. For others, it’s a rude awakening for its potential to have an effect on the ecosystems. Precisely, there’s a good chance it could afflict harm to existing “Ecological Corridors.”

Jai Baan Studio

What are “Ecological Corridors,” anyway? The term refers to both natural features of Earth’s surface and landscape planning strategies designed to prevent or reduce the effects of habitat loss.

Be it natural or man-made, they provide habitats crucial to the survival of indigenous florae and faunas great and small. Simply put in plain language, they are natural homes to plants, animals, birds, insects and other living organisms.

Jai Baan Studio

It’s for this reason that a property owner in Chiang Mai decided to create an open public space that’s central to the physical and mental health of both humans and animals. She started out with 12 Rai of land (slightly shy of 5 acres) of her own that’s part of a housing development on the outskirts of the city.

Named “Kaew Khum Oey Garden,” the green space project connecting Chiang Mai people with nature is undertaken by the homegrown design atelier Jaibaan Studio.

Jai Baan Studio

Supawut Boonmahathanakorn, architect and founder of Jaibaan Studio, said that for a long time the 12-Rai plot was left largely undeveloped after much of the upper layer of earth had been excavated to fill a strip of land designated for road building.

It lies environed by more than 30 housing developments without a single open public space. That’s reason enough for the owner to put in good quality parklands complete with bike trails, jogging trails and workout spaces for the community to enjoy.

Change is a good thing. The green is open to people of all ages, plus it’s thoughtfully devised to connect with existing ecosystems in the surroundings.

To create an oasis of calm that allows public access, the designer has been meticulous about its appearance and made spaces available for commercial activities, including room for the restaurant business.

It’s a thoughtful consideration since it’s the business that will generate the incomes needed to fund the upkeep of the park, thereby freeing the property owner from burdensome responsibilities in the long term. Plus, it helps to operate within budget.

With respect to landscaping, the designer further improves the visible features of the land by putting in trees and small plants indigenous to Thailand’s North.

Ironically, some of the species are less commonly known even among locals. As the growth of urban sprawl continues, neighborhood greenery matters. That’s the way he sees it.

Hence, the restoration of the area to all its former glory becomes his front-and-center concerns. Besides giving local residents the opportunity to reconnect with nature, he treats it as a design laboratory in which the flora and fauna and other living elements native to the area are incorporated in the design.

Jai Baan Studio

As the designer of Jai Baan Studio puts it, the park doubles as nature conservation, a restoration of the natural environment in which native plant species take precedence over any other consideration.

Trouble is that nowadays the garden market is awash with excessive amounts of decorative plants, including species imported from abroad.

Because of that, most landscape developers across the country have elected to integrate foreign imports in the design despite the kingdom’s rich and diverse native florae. As the imported tree species become more popular, nurseries and garden markets comply.

Subsequently, the landscape designer is compelled to act according to demands. And before you know it, there aren’t many native plant gardens around anymore, let alone the nursery business that produces them.

To solve supply chain problems, the landscape designer builds his own nursery, one that’s specialized in native species production to fulfill the park’s specific needs.

He crosses the hill and sifts through the water collecting specimens of native florae and faunas needed to repopulate the area, literally starting from scratch. A job very well done, he’s succeeded in breathing new life into what was once a neglected piece of ground.

Some of the more commonly known species he reintroduces to the park includes herbal species, such as

(1) Ngu-khiew (พันงูเขียว) or Brazilian tea (Stachytarpheta jamaicensis);

(2) Tri-chawa (ตรีชวา) or squirrel’s tail (Justicia betonica);

(3) Kraprao-daeng (กระเพราแดง) or Red holy basil (Ocimum tenufiorum);

(4) Ho-rapha (โหรพา) or Thai basil (Ocimum basillicum var. thyrsiflora); and

(5) Fai-duenha (ไฟเดือนห้า) or Butterfly weed (Asclepias curassavica). The list goes on.

Jai Baan Studio

Kaew Khum Oey Garden is by no means a one-off project. It’s the designer’s finest work to date. So the information about the native florae used here will be stored in a repository of data for future landscape developments similar to this one.

The data will also be made available for public access in time to come with a view to stimulate demands, thereby encouraging the nursery business to fulfill the emerging needs for indigenous plants in the future.

For a carefree, laid-back vibe, it’s the designer’s intention for the project to be nothing out of the ordinary, a public green space that operates without too much control or intervention.

As he puts it, “There may still be parts of it that aren’t arranged neatly or in good order here and there, but hey, that’s perfectly normal if we wish to restore an area of land to its original uncultivated state.

“After all, we have different notions about beauty in the 21st Century. Wouldn’t you agree that there’s a sense of beauty in imperfections, too?”

Jai Baan Studio

It’s the different conception of beauty that brings our attention to “Rewilding the Environment,” the term used to describe the return to a state of being unorganized or leaving it alone again, naturally.

By design, it’s a far cry from the impeccably manicured garden. Rather, it’s one rich in the flora and fauna of the Northern Region, including insects. It’s a design that views human users as inextricable parts of nature.

So if you’re looking for a place to relax, lean back and chill, Kaew Khum Oey Garden is the place to be. It’s made with the user in mind. And that’s precisely the message that the design atelier Jai Baan Studio tries to communicate.


Designer: Jai Baan Studio (

Find out more about nature-inspired landscape architecture and ideas for a possible course of action toward environment-friendly design similar to the above-mentioned project at the upcoming room X Living Asean Design Talk 2023.

It’s an opportunity to meet up Supawut Boonmahathanakorn, architect and founder of Jai Baan Studio as well as a panel of experts from three ASEAN countries.

This year’s conversation event is on the theme of “URBAN FUSION / RURAL FLOURISH: Interweaving Urban and Rural Designs.” The Design Talk is scheduled for Sunday August 6 at the room Showcase zone inside Baan Lae Suan Fair Midyear 2023.

Admission is free. Just a friendly reminder, seats are limited. Registration is recommended.

For more details:

Register to attend at:

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The Splendors of Myanmar’s Botanical Gardens

The Splendors of Myanmar’s Botanical Gardens

Speaking of ecotourism, Myanmar offers vast, well-protected parklands that no nature lovers can afford to overlook. The National Kandawgyi Botanical Gardens promise to be a pleasant surprise that all present will long remember. 

/// Myanmar /// 

Story: Panchat Changchan /// Photo: Rithirong Chanthongsuk 




Myanmar, also known as the “Land of pagodas,” is rich in cultural heritage sites and vast parklands well worth a visit. Among them, the National Kandawgyi Botanical Gardens are cherished by the eco travelers. The vast parklands are located at 1,000 meters above sea level at the town of Pyin Oo Lwin, some 70 km by road from Mandalay.

At 177 hectares (1,106 Rai), the Botanical Gardens have been in existence since 1915. They were founded by British forests officer Alex Rodger, and Lady Cuff, a botanist. The parklands started small as a vacation town and the summer capital of British Burma during the colonial period. They expanded in recent years and reached the current size in 2000.



Kandawgyi is home to a bewildering array of flora and fauna indigenous to Myanmar’s alpine region. The native plant life includes many species of bamboo, crotons, hundreds of species of orchids, trees, and herbs. A walk in the park is pleasant, and chances are you will come across blooming Wild Himalayan Cherries along the way. It is a wonderful nature reserve for those interested in the interactions among organisms and the environment, which includes swamps, forests, lakes, beautiful botanical gardens, and homes to wetland birds.




For those inspired by a passion for flowering plants and scenery, Kandawgyi offers blooming fields at various places throughout in the park. Hop a ride on board the horse-drawn carriage for a sightseeing tour. It’s one of several unique features of the Botanical Gardens. There are several vista points to take in mountain views and gaze in awe at towering pine trees along the road.





Many natural splendors have transformed the National Kandawgyi Botanical Gardens into an impressive countryside in Myanmar. For the eco-adventurers, these vast parklands promise to be an experience they will long remember.


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