Firm Foundation

Banjarmasin, Indonesia

Firm Foundation aims to reduce environmental vulnerability in riverfront settlements in Banjarmasin, Indonesia. Through a participatory campaign, residents cooperated with the Solo Kota Kita design team to envision a new waterfront public space. The project positions Banjarmasin's rivers as an asset for sustainable development and is a catalyst for future investments in basic services.

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Firm Foundation comes to life

Firm Foundation was constructed in April 2013 in partnership with PNPM Mandiri, Indonesia’s national program for slum upgrading and community empowerment.

The design restores a port that had fallen into disrepair, thereby recovering important daily economic activities such as residents purchasing vegetables from boat vendors. The public space steps down to the water and creates multiple ways to engage the river through fishing and other activities. It also provides flexible open and shaded space, which the area lacks. The shaded area also provides seating for an adjacent food stall, thereby supporting another local economic activity.

For more photos, visit our Facebook album


The self-proclaimed 'City of 1000 Rivers'

Participatory Design

Designing with the Residents of Sungai Jingah

Social Design Field Guide

A Handbook from Experiences
in Participatory Design in Indonesia

In order to share this experience more widely, we published the “Social Design Field Guide”

View online

Download PDF (18MB)

The 68-page book illustrates nine design tools and methods applied during Firm Foundation and narrates lessons learned and reflections from working with residents to reduce vulnerability. With this publication, the team is expanding the impact of Firm Foundation through storytelling.


Stories from Banjarmasin

Banjarmasin Dispatch #2:

"The Workshop Journey"

August 2012

Banjarmasin Dispatch #1:

"Jalan Jalan: a first look at Sungai Jingah"

June 2012

Interviews on the Waters of Banjarmasin

July 2011


2013 Special Recognition

AIA Social Impact Design Award

Presented by AIA San Francisco and on exhibit at Constructed Realities

AIA SF Constructed Realities
Coverage by Public Architecture

2013 Award Winner

SEED Award for Excellence in Public Interest Design

Presented by Design Corps and University of Minneapolis College of Art and Design

Design Corps
Coverage on Arch Daily
Coverage on Bustler
Coverage on Archinect

2011 Winning Entry

UrbanSOS Design Competition

Firm Foundation originated as the winning entry in the 2011 AECOM UrbanSOS competition.

Competition announcement


Firm Foundation has been made possible by the global efforts of the following people:

  • Solo Kota Kita
  • Addina Amalia, Surakarta, Indonesia
  • Michael Haggerty, New York, NY
  • Stephen Kennedy, Cambridge, MA
  • Alykhan Mohamed, Cambridge, MA
  • Bima Pratama, Surakarta, Indonesia
  • Ahmed Rifai, Surakarta, Indonesia
  • Alice Shay, New York, NY
  • John Taylor, Jakarta, Indonesia
  • AECOM UrbanSOS Program
  • Daniel Elsea, London, UK
  • Kimberlee Myers, Jakarta, Indonesia
  • Pierre Pohan, Jakarta, Indonesia
  • Rachael Pengilley, London, UK
  • Iman Prasetio, Jakarta, Indonesia
  • Sibarani Sofian, Jakarta, Indonesia
  • Merry Thong, Jakarta, Indonesia
  • Hari Widijanto, Jakarta, Indonesia
  • Sheau Fong Wong, Singapore
  • Bappeda Kota Banjarmasin
  • Ir. Fajar Desira, Banjarmasin, Indonesia
  • DTRK Banjarmasin
  • Ibu Betty Goenmiandari, Banjarmasin, Indonesia
  • PNPM Mandiri Korkot Banjarmasin
  • Heru Sujatmiko, Banjarmasin, Indonesia
  • Mas Joe, Banjarmasin, Indonesia

Our Kickstarter Rock-Stars!

A huge thanks to the following fine folks who have supported Firm Foundation through our Kickstarter Campaign:

  • Albert Ching
  • Alejandra Rojas
  • Alex Marks
  • Alexa Clay
  • Alexis Smagula
  • Alexis Wheeler
  • Ali Cole
  • Alyssa Bryson
  • Amrit
  • Amy Glasmeier
  • Andrea Cheng
  • Andrew Turco
  • Ann Ellis
  • Ann-Ariel Vecchio
  • Anna Fedman
  • Anna Kaderabkova
  • Anne Emig
  • Anthony Vanky
  • Arlene
  • Aviva Rubin
  • Ayeh Bandeh-Ahmadi
  • Barbara Eastman
  • Ben Nguyễn Tăng Lê
  • Benjamin Bangsberg
  • BlinkTag
  • Carol Marshall
  • Chelina Odbert
  • Chris Rhie
  • Christophe Chung
  • Claire Lorman
  • Colleen McHugh
  • Cristina del Rosario
  • Dan Weissman
  • Daniel Broid
  • Daniel Yadegar
  • Daniella Jaeger
  • David
  • David Godfrey
  • Dominick Tribone
  • Ed Bagale
  • Elaine Braithwaite
  • Ellen Ward
  • Emily Hultman
  • Emily Lo
  • Emily Pudalov
  • Eric Schultheis
  • Erick Guerra
  • Erin Haggerty
  • Farzana Serang
  • Faye Cole
  • Freya Zaheer
  • Gail Dixon
  • Gregorio M. Atienza Jr.
  • Hatuey Ramos Ferman
  • Heather Velez
  • Hossam Fadel
  • Ian
  • Imminent Ltd
  • James Eastman
  • Janet & Bill Goudie
  • Janet Shih
  • Jared Press
  • Jed Horne
  • Jeff Mansfield
  • Jeremy Steinemann
  • Jess Garz
  • Jess Zimbabwe
  • Jessica Lord
  • Jody Pollock
  • John Haggerty
  • John & Jane Haggerty
  • Jonah Stern
  • Jonathan Crisman
  • José Antonio Lambiris Ruiz
  • Jose Maria
  • Joshua Monthei
  • Juan Levy
  • Judy Tsai
  • Julia Tierney
  • Justin Brandon
  • Justin Kazmark
  • Kaja Kuhl
  • Karen Ha
  • Karen Kubey
  • Karen MacKay
  • Karen Scheer
  • Karina Silvester
  • Kate Dineen
  • Katherine Buckingham
  • Kathleen Evans
  • Kathy & Bob Shay
  • Katie Lorah
  • Keren Charles
  • Kim Bryant
  • Kira Intrator
  • Kirsten Greco
  • Konstantinos Papadimitrakopoulos
  • Ksenia Mokrushina
  • Kyle Brodie
  • Lacey Tauber
  • Lameese Elqura
  • Lee Shinall
  • Lillian & Bob Potts
  • Lindsay Reul
  • Lisa Farjam & Brian Ackley
  • Lizzie Woods
  • Louise Yeung
  • Lucas Hughes
  • Luke Taylor
  • Malka Older
  • Mai Đặng
  • Marcie Parkhurst
  • Marcus Sitonio
  • Marie Patty
  • Marika Shioiri-Clark
  • Mariko Davidson
  • Megan Smith
  • Merran Swartwood
  • Michael Gluzman
  • Naomi Stein
  • Nicki Bertsch
  • Nithya V. Raman
  • Noah Koretz
  • Nur Aqilah Kasim
  • Olivia Stinson
  • Maryann Hulsman
  • Pat & Bob Maddock
  • Pat Kennedy
  • Patricia Molina
  • Patricio Zambrano-Barragán
  • Paul Fischer
  • Penny
  • Peter Sigrist
  • Rachael Tanner
  • Rachel Blatt
  • Raj Alphonse
  • Raj Kottamasu
  • Roxanne Earley
  • Ryan Sullivan
  • Samantha Cornwell
  • Sara Aye
  • Sari Rothrock
  • Scott Staton
  • Sebastian Dettman
  • Seema Adina
  • Sharon Y. Brown
  • Shoko Takemoto
  • Simon
  • Soah Kim
  • Stephanie Shin
  • Stephen Stone
  • Stuart Lawder
  • Susan H. Press
  • Tanya Chiranakhon
  • Theresa Hwang
  • Thomas Lannon
  • Tom & Kate Thoresen
  • Travis Ekmark
  • Tushar Kansal
  • Vasudha Gupta
  • Zaki Ullah

Solo Kota Kita

Solo Kota Kita (Yayasan Kota Kita) is an Indonesia-based non-governmental organization that believes in enabling citizens and government officials alike to understand the complexities of the built environment so they can better take on the problems and opportunities that come with rampant urbanization.