Jakarta’s Rooftop Suburb Is Built Atop a Giant Shopping Mall

The Indonesian city of Jakarta is home to one of the most unusual residential projects in the world – a suburb located atop a 10-storey shopping mall.

Over the past 20 years, Jakarta has become one of the world’s most crowded megacities. With over 10 million residents in its metropolitan area alone and up to three times that in the greater Jakarta area, the city is quickly running out of land to build on. While other crowded capitals, like Tokyo, are expanding vertically, Jakarta is expanding horizontally, with most residents preferring low-rise houses instead of apartments. With real-estate in increasingly short supply, developers have been forced to think outside the box, and that’s how urban oddities like Cosmo Park came to exist…

Consisting of 78 two-storey villas and featuring its own network of asphalt roads, plenty of greenery, swimming pools, and even a tennis court, Cosmo Park looks like an average, cookie-cutter suburb. But zoom out a little bit and you’re in for a major shock. The whole place sits atop the Thamrin City Mall, a 10-storey shopping mall in central Jakarta.


Cosmo Park has been around for about 14 years, but few knew about its existence outside the bustling Indonesian capital until 2019, when a photo shared on Twitter went viral. It showed the residential complex from the air, with the rest of the ground-level city sprawled around it. The bizarre location left people scratching their heads about the safety of such a project.


Some of the residents of Cosmo Park admitted that they too thought it was strange when they first saw photos of the villas on Instagram. The idea of living so high-up in a city where low-rise buildings are the norm seemed strange, but when they visited the place, they just fell in love with the peace and quiet, as well as the privacy it offered despite being in the center of the busy capital.


The entire residential area is divided into 5 blocks, from A to F, and it is accessible only to those with a Cosmo Tower pass. Residents can drive to and from the complex via a special ramp, and the whole place is surrounded by a high metal fence to prevent accidents.


Rooftop architecture is not unheard of. In fact, we featured two examples of villas built illegally on top of other residential buildings, but Cosmo Park is something else entirely. Developers had all the permits to go ahead with the project, and it is actually viewed by experts as an example of ingenious design.


Back in 2019, Cosmo Park houses were priced anywhere from 3 to 5 billion rupiahs ($200,000 – $334,000), but with inflation wreaking havoc all over the world and real estate being even more scarce, we suspect that prices are even higher today.