Posted November 1st 2012 at 8:56 am by
in Fresh Eye Friday

Sea of Commerce

Fresh Eye Friday: Sea of CommerceSea of Commerce in Banjarmasin, South Kalimantan (Borneo), Indonesia

I returned to Indonesia this past summer to help coordinate a series of neighborhood design workshops with riverfront residents. Our daily commute consisted of hour-long boat rides along the Martapura, one of Banjarmasin’s primary aquatic arteries. This photo was taken during a side-trip to visit the floating market, which I had visited one year prior but had never expected to see again. As the morning darkness gave way to this vibrant scene, I realized that as a visitor, I had no way of understanding solely from observation how this system of exchanges occurs. As simple as this commercial set-up seemed, I was unable to distinguish the buyers, traders, or middlemen in the process or what medium of exchange (if any currency at all) was used to track transactions. Only the daily participants knew exactly how to operate here, adeptly jockeying for position on the water to swap fish or fruits.

Stephen Kennedy, a recent MIT Master of City Planning graduate, spent the summer in Indonesia, and is now working on a related start-up called Firm Foundation.

This post is part of the Fresh Eye Friday photo series.

One response to “Sea of Commerce”

  1. jmach says:

    I’m living in Vietnam and our country also has many floating markets too, especially in Southern. As you said “Only the daily participants knew exactly how to operate here”, it’s true 🙂