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Suburb in the sky: how Jakartans built an entire village on top of a mall

[Reading level: B2 – Upper Intermediate]

Depending who you ask, Cosmo Park is an ingenious urban oasis or an ill-conceived dystopia.

 

It’s Thursday and the residents of Jakarta’s Cosmo Park are out jogging, watering their plants or walking their dogs along neat asphalt roads.

 

Neighbourhood kids pedal their bikes under frangipani trees and peach-coloured bougainvillea to the pool and tennis court. Apartments, comfortable and modern, sit side by side, with barbecues and toys stacked outside.

 

 

Quiet and orderly, it feels like any other suburban idyll – but there is one difference. Cosmo Park is a village in the sky, perched 10 storeys up on top of a shopping centre and car park, a world away from the heaving megalopolis below.

 

Indri Lestari and her son, who moved to Cosmo Park three months ago. – Indri Lestari và con trai, người đã chuyển đến Cosmo Park ba tháng trước.

It is a surreal urban bubble, where normal life unfolds at an abnormal altitude. To access ground level, residents drive their cars down a ramp. A tall metal fence runs around the perimeter to make sure no one falls or drives off. Peer beyond the fence and you can spot the city’s landmarks below.

 

Cosmo Park was built 10 years ago but was largely unknown outside Jakarta until last month, when a drone photograph broadcast its oddness to the world.

 

In June, Twitter user @shahrirbahar1 posted a bird’s eye view of the complex, 78 two-storey, cookie-cutter units on top of the parking lot with Jakarta’s immense urban sprawl in the background. It was a photo that captured both the scale and incongruity of the project.

 

“Good morning Jakarta,” he wrote. “What type of person thinks about developing a housing complex on top of a building?”

 

Retweeted almost 27,000 times, the post spawned a long thread of incredulity and wisecracks (how do food delivery drivers find it?) but also serious questions about the wisdom of the city’s urban development, such as how might a complex like this fare in an earthquake?

 

Home to 10 million people and almost three times that including the greater Jakarta area, the Indonesian capital is buckling under the weight of its problems, from chronic floods and unbelieveably bad traffic to severe pollution, overcrowding and the fact that it is literally sinking.

 

Cosmo Park is a complex of neat, two-storey homes built on top of a car park. – Cosmo Park là một khu phức hợp gồm những ngôi nhà hai tầng gọn gàng được xây dựng trên bãi đậu xe

So severe are the city’s problems the president has once again raised the idea of moving the capital.

 

Is Cosmo Park some kind of postmodern dystopia or, in a city beset by perennial woe, an ingenious use of urban space? While some outsiders are unconvinced, those who live at Cosmo Park offer glowing reviews.

 

“It’s a lovely oasis,” says Fazila Kapasi, as she tails her four-year-old son around on his bike along one of the complex’s neat roads. “I cannot recommend it enough.”

 

Fazila and her husband moved to Jakarta from Mumbai, and chose Cosmo Park partly because they were concerned about Jakarta’s floods. But after living there for six years Fazila can reel off a string of other advantages, including that it is less isolating than standard apartment living.

 

In the afternoon Fazila stops to chat to her neighbours, while most days she and her son feed the pigeons that live in a nearby tree. She also has her own garden, where she has a hammock and space to grow aubergines, tomatoes and chillies.

 

“It is so good. There is so much open space, my son can ride his bike around. It’s so central, it’s really safe, and there is a lovely neighbourhood feel,” she says.

 

“I feel like this is a real house, not an apartment,” exclaims Indri Lestari, who moved into Cosmo Park with her husband, who is Spanish, and their young son three months ago. “It’s just there is no kaki lima [street food cart] here,” she jokes.

 

Indri says she laughed when she saw the complex on Instagram.

 

“It’s high here, for sure,” says Indri, who moved from a higher apartment block nearby. “But lots of places are and here we have more space and privacy, and it’s better for my family. My son can play outside, just out the door.”

 

The view of central Jakarta from Cosmo Park. – Quang cảnh trung tâm Jakarta nhìn từ Cosmo Park.

Situated amid a cluster of mega malls in Jakarta’s centre, Cosmo Park is one of two such developments in Jakarta by the Indonesian property developer the Agung Podomoro Group, and was built according to regulations. The second is above the Mall of Indonesia in the city’s north.

 

 

“But this one is more popular,” notes the real estate agent showing the Guardian around Cosmo Park, past the pool and launderette and minimarket, as she extols its convenient location.

 

“A lot of foreigners choose this place,” she says, before leaving with a parting note: “You know who to call if you want to live here.”

 

Source: https://www.theguardian.com/cities/2019/aug/05/suburb-in-the-sky-how-jakartans-built-an-entire-village-on-top-of-a-mall

WORD BANK

ingenious  /ɪnˈdʒiː.ni.əs/ (adj): khéo léo, tinh tế

oasis /əʊˈeɪ.sɪs/ (n): ốc đảo

ill-conceived  /ˌɪl.kənˈsiːvd/ (adj): tồi tệ, không thấu đáo

dystopia /dɪˈstəʊ.pi.ə/ (n): một xã hội hỗn độn

resident /ˈrez.ɪ.dənt/ [B2] (n): cư dân

neat  /niːt/ [B1] (adj): gọn gàng

asphalt  /ˈæs.fɔːlt/ (n): trải nhựa

pedal /ˈped.əl/ (v): đạp bàn đạp

frangipani tree  /ˌfræn.dʒɪˈpɑː.ni/ (n): cây hoa đại

bougainvillea  /ˌbuː.ɡənˈvɪl.i.ə/ (n): hoa giấy

stack /stæk/ (v): chất thành đống

suburban  /səˈbɜː.bən/ (adj): thuộc về ngoại ô

idyll  /ˈɪd.əl/ (n): cảnh thơ mộng, yên tĩnh

perch in/on sth  /pɜːtʃ/ (phrase): nằm, đậu trên cái gì

heaving  /ˈhiː.vɪŋ/ (adj): có nhiều người, chật chội

megalopolis  /ˌmeɡ.əˈlɒp.əl.ɪs/ (n): siêu đô thị

surreal  /səˈrɪəl/ (adj): siêu thực

abnormal  /æbˈnɔː.məl/ [C1] (adj): bất bình thường

altitude  /ˈæl.tɪ.tʃuːd/ (n): độ cao

ramp  /ræmp/ (n): bờ dốc

drive off (PhrV): rời đi bằng ô tô

peer  /pɪər/ [C2] (v): nhòm, ngó

perimeter  /pəˈrɪm.ɪ.tər/ (n): chu vi

drone  /drəʊn/ (n): máy bay không người lái

oddness /ˈɒd.nəs/ /ˈɒd.nəs/ (n): sự kỳ lạ

a bird’s eye view (idiom): cái nhìn toàn cảnh từ trên cao

complex  /ˈkɒm.pleks/ [C1] (n): khu phức hợp

cookie-cutter /ˈkʊk.iˌkʌt.ər/ (adj): giống nhau

immense  /ɪˈmens/ [C1] (adj): rộng lớn

sprawl (n): phần mở rộng

capture (v): bắt được, thu được

incongruity (n): sự phi lý

spawn /spɔːn/ (v): tạo ra, sinh sôi

incredulity  /ˌɪn.krəˈdʒuː.lə.ti/ (n): sự hoài nghi

wisecrack /ˈwaɪz.kræk/ (informal) (n): lời mỉa mai

fare  /feər/ (v): thành công

buckle  /ˈbʌk.əl/ (v): oằn mình

chronic /ˈkrɒn.ɪk/ [C2] (adj): kinh niên

sink  /sɪŋk/ [B1] (v): chìm

beset /bɪˈset/ (v): bao vây

perennial  /pəˈren.i.əl/ (adj): lâu năm

woes /wəʊz/ (formal) (n): tai ương, rắc rối lớn

outsider  /ˌaʊtˈsaɪ.dər/ (n): người ngoài cuộc

unconvinced /ˌʌn.kənˈvɪnst/ (adj): không thuyết phục

glowing  /ˈɡləʊ.ɪŋ/ (adj): tích cực

isolate  /ˈaɪ.sə.leɪt/ (v): biệt lập

pigeon  /ˈpɪdʒ.ən/ (n): bồ câu

hammock /ˈhæm.ək/ (n): cái võng

aubergine  /ˈəʊ.bə.ʒiːn/ [B2] (n): cà tím

uncanny  /ʌnˈkæn.i/ (adj): lạ lùng

sensation  /senˈseɪ.ʃən/ [B2] (n): cảm giác

simultaneously /ˌsɪm.əlˈteɪ.ni.əs.li/ [B2] (adv): đồng thời

privacy /ˈprɪv.ə.si/ [B2] (n): sự riêng tư

situate  /ˈsɪtʃ.u.eɪt/ (v): đặt ở vị trí

amid  /əˈmɪd/ (prep): ở giữa

a cluster of sth (phrase): một nhóm cái gì

property developer  /ˈprɒp.ə.ti dɪˌvel.ə.pər/ (n): nhà phát triển bất động sản

regulation /ˌreɡ.jəˈleɪ.ʃən/ [B2] (n): quy định

real estate /ˈrɪəl ɪˌsteɪt/ (n): bất động sản

launderette  /ˌlɔːnˈdret/ (n): tiệm giặt là

extol  /ɪkˈstəʊl/ (v): ca ngợi

parting /ˈpɑː.tɪŋ/ (adj): chia tay


NG HỘ READ TO LEAD!

Chào bạn! Có thể bạn chưa biết, Read to Lead là một trang giáo dục phi lợi nhuận với mục đích góp phần phát triển cộng đồng người học tiếng Anh tại Việt Nam. Chúng tôi không yêu cầu người đọc phải trả bất kỳ chi phí nào để sử dụng các sản phẩm của mình để mọi người đều có cơ hội học tập tốt hơn. Tuy nhiên, nếu bạn có thể, chúng tôi mong nhận được sự hỗ trợ tài chính từ bạn để duy trì hoạt động của trang và phát triển các sản phẩm mới.

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