‘As different groups give different meanings to space, it becomes a multilayered place, reflecting the way places are socially constructed’ – (Knox, 1995). Design change by context and space will begin to form its own meaning and notions; creating its own signature style. The original concept and idea of a design from the designer can often be interchangeable. However, it does not mean the product itself has been misused incorrectly but merely given a new meaning and purpose. An example of this would be Banjarmasin’s public transport ‘Taksi Kuning’ (Yellow Taxi) design and its service.
Taksi Kuning are usually yellow coloured mini-bus with altered back seats to accommodate people travelling short distances. This public transport from the 80s is quite popular transport choice and is cheap allowing for regular use by the locals to travel around the city. Instead of the usual car seats, the back has been replaced with two long seats facing each other. Taksi Kuning does not have seatbelts. The door of Taksi Kuning are always open for easy access. The setup of Taksi Kuning itself reflects the idea of short distance travel due to the unique design of the car. During the Banjarmasin trip, we used this service to travel from our hotel to Menara Pandang.
In comparison to Australia, mini buses are usually used as hired transportation services such as car rentals to travel long distances or private use. The difference in service provided between Australian and Indonesian mini buses and its inner vehicular layout reflects on the context of these buses themselves.
According to the Stanford University of Physical Activity Research, Indonesia was lacking physical activity, especially in the walking department with 3513 steps per day (Althoff et al). This could be a direct result of the existence of many forms of public transport such as Taksi Kuning on the streets of Indonesia which prevents Indonesians to walk and prefer to use public transport that enables them to arrive to their desired location conveniently. Hairulsyah 2013 mentioned ‘The sustainability of urban public transportation which has involved public participation, as it has been mentioned above, such as economic, social, and environmental sustainability, should be maintained. Even though Taksi Kuning has their own travel route, it can freely stop at any time. Hence not a very sustainable transport for the public.
Due to these findings, context do change the meaning of a design. In this case, Banjarmasin’s public transport system and service is comparatively different than Australia’s due to the differing culture and custom of the people living in each country.
Althoff, T., Sosič R., Hicks L, J., King, A. C., Delp, S, L., Leskovec, J. 2017, ‘Large-scale Physical activity data reveal worldwide activity inequality.’, Nature, vol. 547
Hairulsyah 2013, ‘The Influence of Public Participation on Sustainable Transportation and Regional Development in Medan’, The Indonesian Journal of Geography, vol. 45, no. 1
Madanipour, A. 1999, ‘Why are the design and development of public spaces significant for cities?’, Environment and Planning B: Planning and Design 1999, vol. 26.
Kalimantanpost.com 2017, Taksi Kuning terus tergerus: Puluhan Trayek Tak Lagi Beroperasi, kalimantanpost, viewed on 6 February 2018, < http://www.kalimantanpost.com/taksi-kuning-terus-tergerus-puluhan-trayek-tak-lagi-beroperasi/>