The number of the traditional Balinese houses transformed for tourism.
The traditional Balinese house that is manifested and translated in this agricultural context is a complete house in which domestic and religious activities are interrelated with the environment including the biodiversity. Since these iconic practices subsequently became a resource of tourism economy, the house has been transformed not only for tourist facilities but also for accommodating the novel demands of occupants. The transformation presents a conflict between economic gain and the preservation of Balinese traditions. Using architectural examination, interviews about the cultural and domestic activities, and biodiversity checklist to record the historic process of types of vegetation and animals in the house, the chapter shows that the tourism has blurred the house’s configuration. The house becomes incomplete in which the preservation of biodiversity spaces is now oriented toward the purpose of tourism rather than protecting the traditions and environment as a part of an agricultural tradition. The house has lost some essential elements that affect the way that accommodates Balinese traditions.
- the traditional Balinese house
- tourism economy
The traditional Balinese house, which is manifested and translated in an agricultural context, is organized within the framework of ritual arrangement in which its configuration is harmonious within its worldview to support the cultural functions of the house. The spaces in the house are not only to accommodate ritual and domestic activities, but also to provide materials for offerings and daily food for the occupants including many kinds of vegetation and animals. This configuration shows that the house is a complete house in which the biological diversity called biodiversity in the house provides the demands of the daily needs of the occupants. Biodiversity consists of species variation and their habitats across the earth’s surface . In a traditional Balinese house, biodiversity is the variety of vegetation and animals in the house. Their functions not only create comfortable conditions but also provide raw materials for daily basic needs, offerings, and buildings .
Open spaces were not only a place for domestic and religious activities but also for vegetation and “domestic” animals. Small plants such as flowers and foliage were planted near the pavilions, while big trees such as coconut, banana, and palm were planted in the backyard. Pigs and ducks could run everywhere, while chickens freely played and looked for food in the courtyard (
However, since the tourism industry in the early twentieth century, the Balinese house has been transformed not only for tourist facilities but also to accommodate the new demands of occupants. On the other hand, since cultural tourism conception is applied in Bali, people try to maintain their culture as a resource of tourism attractions. This is a paradoxical phenomenon in which the transformation as the impact of tourism presents a conflict between economic gain and the preservation of Balinese traditions including the biodiversity in the house as a part of domestic and cultural activities.
In order to present the abovementioned conflict, this paper uses architectural examination and spatial stories of people’s activities as a method of investigation. This method involved architectural documentation, graphic analysis, and narratives of people’s cultural activities and traditions. Through this method, this paper investigates and explores how the biodiversity spaces in the house have been reconfigured as a response to address the challenges of the tourist economy. Initially, however, some theoretical considerations of how traditions in general are transmitted and the traditions of Balinese in the agricultural economy era are discussed. This is followed by a detailed description of the elements of the traditional Balinese house. In subsequent sections, the paper explores how the traditions and biodiversity have been transformed by the new arrangements within the house. Some conclusions are presented in the final section.
2. The traditional house: the harmonious spaces for biodiversity
The traditional Balinese house is a cosmological space in which its compound configuration is translated from a spiritual orientation. In this configuration, the world is built upon opposite poles as a cosmic antagonism concept including the sacred and profane, sunset and sunrise, high and low, mountain/highland, and sea/lowland. This is the concept of the balance of opposite poles, called
This relationship is the personification of the Hindu religion philosophy called
Based on this concept, the house is metaphorically likened to a human body divided into three parts: the head, body, and legs (Figure 1). The head is the most sacred area, called
The body is the intermediate sphere where domestic and ceremonial activities related to the human life cycle, birth-life-death-rebirth. Within the body as the zone of the domestic domain, the inhabitations are preoccupied with daily work. Women mobile across spaces: to the kitchen (f), to the backyard (k), to the pigsty, to the granary, and sometimes to the rice field and to the market. In their spare time, women sit in the pavilions such as the
The legs, also called
The abovementioned functions of pavilions and open spaces show that the house has multifunctional purposes, both spiritual purposes represented by ceremonial activities and secular purposes represented by domestic activities. The spaces become meaningful through this interaction between architectural spaces, objects, and activities therein. Without occupants’ activities, the spaces are abstract and without meaning.
The social-cultural activities are related to harmonious relationships between occupants and God, as well as community. This is represented by the ceremonial activities that are regularly performed in the house. In ceremonial activities, the house is full of activities involving the members of the family and the community during the preparation and the day of the rituals. The house becomes a meeting place for members of a traditional neighborhood called
On the days of ceremony, Women assemble in the compound space and family temple, take and lay the offerings in the shrines, light incense, and perform the procession of the rituals. They perform these activities and rituals together guided by a priest called
3. The transformation of the compound spaces
The development of tourism has changed many aspects of Balinese culture. Tourism has produced negative impacts including the profanation of sacred performances  and the degradation of classical artworks . However, the tourism impacts are various and it is difficult to generalize from a specific case [13, 14]. The impacts depend upon the interactions and their circumstances between local people and tourists. Variations are caused by the dynamics of tourism that is different, active, and changing.
The development of tourism has influenced many aspects of the village, including the pattern, as well as the family house compounds . Many traditional Balinese houses have been transformed for tourist facilities such as home-stays, art shops, restaurants, cafes, moneychangers, and laundries. Along the main roads in the villages, traditional settlements were previously represented by the presence of traditional walls, gates, and the spaces between the wall and the road. Now many of these have been turned into tourist facilities. A baseline data investigation recorded 749 traditional Balinese houses in the four villages. This investigation found 54% of the houses have been transformed into tourist facilities (Table 1). These data show that tourism has substantially influenced the transformation. Kuta, which is a very popular coastal tourist destination, underwent the greatest transformation (69% of the 191 houses were transformed). This number is the highest percentage of the four villages. Kamasan, the less popular tourist destination, had the lowest percentage (13% of the 188 houses transformed) . This phenomenon presents the extent to which tourists influenced the level of the house transformation.
In Kuta, tourist activities have spread both to beaches and in the village while, in Kamasan, tourist activities have been restricted to just a few parts of the village. The people in the former village, therefore, have had opportunities to interact intensively with tourists and employed their houses as an asset by transforming them for tourism. Similarly, tourist activities in Ubud have been in the center of the village, with 61% of the 213 traditional houses were transformed into tourist facilities . On the other hand, the tourist activities in Sanur are on the outskirts of the village. In this village, the percentage of the transformed houses for tourism was much lower (38% of the 157 traditional houses) than the percentage in Kuta and Ubud (Table 1). Therefore, the location of the tourist activities has influenced the degree of transformation; the closer the tourist activities were to the traditional village, the greater the level of transformation.
This investigation also found that house gates were generally kept unlocked during the day, even when the occupants were absent. For the most part, the owners were willing to show off their houses, some of them were proud to do so. However, there were different reactions of people across the four villages. In Kuta and Sanur, there were more locked houses and the owners were more cautious about giving consent because of criminality, increasing tax surveys, wasting time to talk with unrecognized people and for no stated reasons. These observations indicate that tourism has influenced people’s behavior making them more selective in their contact with people, especially strangers.
In transformed houses, many parts of the houses have been changed. These changes have altered both the settings and forms of the house compound. The houses, which once had similarities, nowadays have many variations. To understand the variations, the houses were investigated by visual and checklist examination to assess the recent settings and forms compared to the traditional configuration of the Balinese house including
The level of the transformation differs amongst the villages. The concept of the destinations is significant. Most houses (96%) in Ubud, regarded as the cultural capital of Bali, still kept the traditional front wall while they are just 75% in Sanur and 73% in Kuta that are the coastal destination areas . In the investigation of the
The traditional Balinese architecture including the elements of the traditional house was one of the cultural components used by the local people in Ubud to attract tourists. From the economic benefit of tourist activities, they were able to reconstruct and repair the old in the traditional style. On the other hand, the people in Kamasan were not able to rebuild the traditional
The application of traditional architectural style indicates that tourism has evoked awareness in people to maintain their culture as a strategy to attract tourists. The figure shows that the transformation in cultural tourism destination contrasts with the tourist destinations that rely on the beach as capital for tourism developments in which the houses have undergone substantial transformation. The constructions of many new structures have utilized parts of the
Ubud, the cultural tourism area, had the biggest percentage (84%) of the presence of courtyard (
In all processes and categories, the original pattern of the house is still maintained in which a
The enlargement and multiplicity process of new structures causes a decrease of open space in the house. This process not only occurs in the compound spaces as the body of the house, but also spreads into the backyard or the legs of the house. The backyard, which used to be a small forest without pavilions, now becomes an additional space to accommodate the occupants’ domestic activities. The compound space as the body of the house is getting bigger while the backyard as the legs of the house is getting smaller and in some houses there are even not enough spaces for planting vegetation. From the perspective of the cosmological framework, the house is likely to become incomplete. The house has disproportional arrangement and becomes like a “human” who still has a head (the family temple) with an enlarged body but without legs or very small legs. The traditional house pattern no longer presents its cosmological order. Therefore, the following section will examine whether or not this change will influence the functions of the house in relation to its physical configuration as a residential area and the representation of the family formation of the paternal kinship.
The disproportional arrangement of the house has caused the gradual disappearance of many functional structures that presents the deterioration of its traditional functions and meanings. Although many socio-cultural practices are still performed in the transformed houses, the house needs other components outside the house such as village facilities to compensate for the lost spaces. The space limitation also influences its original configuration, rendering the structure less environmentally friendly including the reduction of biodiversity in the house.
4. The reduction of biodiversity spaces
The transformation of the traditional Balinese houses in tourist destinations has caused disproportional arrangement. The reduction of open spaces has influenced spaces for biodiversity. Spaces that were places for animals and vegetation are now places for accommodating the occupants’ domestic activities and tourist activities.
In order to investigate the types of vegetation in every sample house, vegetation checklist was used to record it. In this investigation, the vegetation was divided into two categories: (i) commonly grown vegetation and (ii) non-commonly grown vegetation. Vegetation being traditionally used for ceremonial and domestic activities is categorized as the first. The second is vegetation that traditionally is unusually used as materials for ceremonial activities. The types of vegetation in every transformed house were then presented in star diagrams (Figure 6).
The amount of vegetation in a house is related to the availability of open spaces. This availability influenced the number of vegetation types in the house. Ubud that had the lowest (47%) BCR (Building Coverage Ratio: the ratio in percentage between ground building area and plot area) had the most types of vegetation (32 types). On the other side, Sanur and Kuta having the highest BCR (60%) had the fewest types of vegetation (respectively, 15 and 18 types) (Figure 3). The figure also presents that frangipani was the favorite vegetation in all villages. Almost 90% houses in Sanur and Ubud, more than 80% in Kamasan and almost 70% in Kuta have this flower.
Nine types of flower trees, 13 types of fruit trees, and 11 types of foliage trees have still been planted in the transformed houses. Frangipani called
The size of the trees was a reason why flowers that were usually still planted in the house were more popular than other kinds of vegetation. Because of the limitation of undeveloped spaces, people were compelled to cut down big trees in order to build new structures to accommodate tourists and domestic activities. The flowers, on the other hand, were still in the houses because such vegetation does not need a lot of space. People are able to plant them in limited spaces or pots.
In the transformed houses, the owners planted particular trees not only because of their need for domestic and socio-cultural activities, but also because they like to see the appearance of the trees. They planted particular vegetation to express their hobby. People also have even planted banyan trees in the houses. This tree is a big tree that is usually planted in village facilities. Traditionally, it was never planted in the houses because the people believed that by planting this tree in the house, there would be a negative impact on the residents. However, in the transformed houses, this belief has changed so that this tree has been planted in the houses, especially those in popular tourist destinations, without being afraid of its negative effect. The tree has been planted in pots as a bonsai tree. A few houses (13, 8, and 7%) in Kuta, Sanur, and Ubud, respectively, utilized the bonsai as part of the garden. On the other hand, no houses in Kamasan, the least-popular tourist village, had this tree.
Compared to commonly grown vegetation (33 types), as mentioned above, the types of non-commonly grown vegetation (six types) were fewer.
Animals are other kind of biodiversity in the house. Chickens, ducks, dogs, pigs, cows, and water buffalos were traditionally raised by the Balinese in the houses . A pigsty was usually built near a kitchen, while a cowshed was built in the
In the transformed houses, most traditional domestic animals were no longer in the houses. Cows and water buffalos that were used to help a farmer to plow the rice field are now replaced by a machine. People also no longer raise pigs in the house because of their bad smell. However, some traditional domestic animals including dogs and chickens are still kept in the houses. On average, they were the most popular traditional domestic animals kept in the transformed houses. Dogs were raised in 45% houses, while chickens were raised in 33% houses (Table 4). In Sanur and Ubud, dogs are the popular animal where the percentage was 38 and 53%, respectively. In Kuta, chickens and turtledoves (
Besides raising traditional domestic animals, some animals have been introduced in the transformed houses although in the small numbers. Raising many species of nontraditional domestic dogs has become a popular hobby in the houses. Two nontraditional domestic animals,
The traditional Balinese house is an indigenous form accommodating domestic and religious activities in relation to maintain a harmonious relationship with God, other human beings, and the environment. Traditionally, the representation of the environment in the house was open spaces including a courtyard and a backyard. In these open spaces, occupants planted vegetation and raised animals. It was the biodiversity that supplied materials for rituals and domestic needs. In the house, rituals and mundane practices were mutually implicated. The Balinese conserved the environment to support their rituals, and at the same time, they conducted these rituals so that the God will provide them with a good harvest. As a site to perform these practices, the house and the practices have produced and contributed to the Balinese cultural identity.
However, these iconic practices subsequently became a resource to obtain economic benefits when the tourism industry discovered the island in the early twentieth century. Tourism has caused a paradoxical phenomenon in which the transformation presents a struggle between economic benefit and the preservation of Balinese culture including the biodiversity in the house. Nowadays, the old conditions contradict with the new desires of the occupants. In this transformation, new ideas have infiltrated the local traditions by collective participation and collaboration.
Every division of the house has undergone different levels of transformation. The head constituting the most sacred spaces, where God and occupants’ ancestors reside, underwent fewer and more limited transformations. On the other hand, the expansion and multiplication of new structures occurred in the body of the house, causing a reduction of open spaces including in the courtyard and backyard. From the perspective of the cosmological framework, the body has been getting bigger while the legs, represented by backyard, have been getting smaller and, in many cases, have disappeared. The house has been likely to become disproportional and even incomplete. The traditional house pattern has undergone an ongoing process of the loss of some components, its cultural expression and traditional functions but economically, the house becomes more valuable than it was before the transformation.
The increase of building density has reduced open spaces in the houses that would appear to significantly influence biodiversity. The preservation of biodiversity is oriented toward the purpose of tourism rather than protecting the environment as a part of an agricultural tradition and as materials for offerings. The house has lost some essential elements that affect the way to accommodates Balinese traditions. Sanur and Kuta that had a high BCR had smaller numbers and types of vegetation and animals than Ubud and Kamasan that had the lower BCR. The investigation found that some types of flowers, such as frangipanis, hibiscus, and
The head of the villages and staffs are gratefully acknowledged for their support and assistance in this research. Great thanks would be to the owners and the head of the houses and households who allowed to investigate their house and warmly communicated. Finally, thanks go to some Master Students of Department of Architecture, Udayana University, who have been involved in this research.
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