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Vivid Makeover Lures Tourists to Former Slum

Friday, May 26, 2017

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A plan to apply fresh coats of colorful paint on houses in an Indonesian village has transformed a slum into a tourist mecca.

Because of a plan proposed by junior high school principal Slamet Widodo—and 300 million rupiahs (about $22,500) worth of paint—a kaleidoscope of heart-motif murals, multicolor flags, polka-dot panels and 3-D textured reliefs now grace dozens of buildings in the village of Kampung Pelangi in Semarang, Central Java.

Structures were brightened with at least three different colors each and more than 230 homes were given a facelift. Benches, bridges and stairs also were beautified with fresh, vivid hues. Widodo hopes to expand the effort and eventually give rainbow paint jobs to all 390 homes in the village.

World of Color

The project took a little more than a month to complete, and the results were revealed at the end of April.

The vivid makeover has earned the town a new nickname: the Rainbow Village of South Semarang.

"I saw that our village looked like a slum," Widodo said. "I dreamed about how my village would turn into a rainbow and how it would be so good it would be a tourist destination."

Widodo said he was inspired by the efforts of Yogyakarta, an Indonesian town that received funding for its endeavor from a cigarette company. Kampung Pelangi received financial support from the Semarang Government and businesses, including paint companies.

Spreading the Word

Photos of the village on social media—especially Instagram—have helped buoy tourism.  According to the Indonesian Builders Association, which did most of the painting, local shop and restaurant owners are seeing a significant rise in sales since the project was completed. Village officials are planning to build a food court and a parking lot to accommodate the influx of visitors.

“It’s because of the unique look of the village,” said tourist Nihayatun Naqiyah. “We know this area used to be a slum district, but now it looks so beautiful after the colorful makeover. I used to pass this area without any interest, but now the colors change everything."


Tagged categories: Color + Design; Design; Housing; Paint application; Renovation

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