School of Property, Construction & Project Management
For the first time, students from a multidisciplinary background from the College of Design and Social Context went on a low carbon study tour to Indonesia. In November 2015, students from the School of Property, Construction and Project Management; Global and Urban Studies, and Media and Communications worked together as part of a spring elective course. Scholarship funding covering air fares, accommodation and incidental expenses was secured through the New Colombo Plan by Associate Professor Usha Iyer-Raniga, with further support for some students provided by the School of Property, Construction and Project Management. A total of 13 students from RMIT University worked with 9 students from the University of Gajah Madah. This study tour was supported by Neville Hurst from the School of Property, Construction and Project Management (PCPM) at RMIT University and Professor Bobi Setiawan from University of Gajah Madah (UGM).
The aim of the study tour was to ultimately build an educational facility in a village, in the island of Java. To do this, it was essential to work with the local community to firstly develop a needs analysis to understand the priorities for this educational facility. The students’ were therefore involved in developing this needs analysis.
The site chosen was in Puton village about 13 kms from Yogyakarta, in Bantul Regency, Java, Indonesia. Puton had been affected by an earthquake that practically destroyed the village a few years ago. Not long after the earthquake, a volcanic eruption further devastated the village and caused flooding in the local river near Puton. As a result of these natural disasters, Puton’s modest primary school had no outdoor play area or functional library, leading to the identification of an educational learning facility as being a priority for the village.
To support the development of the needs analysis extensive consultation was undertaken with the community of Puton. The students spent a lot of time in understanding how the villagers live on a day to day basis. They visited the early learning centres and interacted with the students in the local primary school. Among other activities, they also learnt to play gamelan music and planted rice in the fields. In addition, the Rotary Club of Yogyakarta were also involved to assist with project management. From the Australian end, support was provided by two other not-for-profits; ABCD (Art Building Children’s Dreams) and Rotary International.
Students from the various disciplinary backgrounds from RMIT University worked with architecture students from UGM to realize the needs analysis into a master plan with associated concept designs to be built. These plans and concept designs, with associated costing and phased planning were presented to the village. Puton villagers are now deliberating which design is to be selected for construction.
Once the design has been selected, ABCD and Rotary will assist in securing funding for the phased building of the educational community centre.
Students from RMIT and UGM found the experience unique and interesting. Once funding is secured, students from RMIT and UGM will be involved in future building activities in Puton. A similar study tour is expected to be undertaken in November this year.
Author: Assoc. Prof. Usha Iyer-Raniga
Photo: Assoc. Prof. Usha Iyer-Raniga