Perspectivas Urbanas / Urban Perspectives

Informes de

Andrea Peresthu *

Jakarta, the eleventh largest city in the world, is perhaps as diverse as the Indonesian archipelago itself [1], as various people with different ethnicities, races, languages, and religious background inhabit it. They come from many different islands in Indonesia seeking and struggling for a better life and prosperity.

The size of Jakarta's core area has expanded from 180 square kilometers in 1960s to 590 square kilometers, with a radius of 7.5 kilometers to the east, west and south axis, in 2001. At the present time, Jakarta's urban nucleus population itself has reached approximately 10 millions, and it is forecasted to reach roughly 21.2 millions by the end of 2015. If this is indeed the case, Jakarta will gain a status as the fifth largest city in the world by 2015 [2].

Nowadays as a mega-city, Jakarta's nucleus area has spatially and economically expanded beyond its former fringe. Jakarta has become increasingly integrated with three other bordering regencies; Tangerang (in the west), Bekasi (in the east), and Bogor (in the south), forming a new metropolitan area that is generally known as "Jabotabek" (which stands for Jakarta, Bogor, Tangerang and Bekasi) [3]. Before the end of 1960s, when Jakarta started to be more urbanized; Bogor-Tangerang-Bekasi regencies were still largely made up by numerous paddy fields [4]. They played a key role as a major rice supplier for Jakarta.

Today, forty years have elapsed, these agriculture lands have long disappeared and been replaced by a massive urban sprawl triggered by a thriving expansion of Jakarta. Indigenous settlements in these areas, which are often called "old-kampong" [5] have become more and more isolated and marginalized by a number of a new highways, industries, "walled" housing estates, golf courses, and even by the emerging "new" informal settlements, which bureaucrats always terms it as "squatter-kampong".

Perhaps, this spatial transformation must be seen and "read" from the perspective of how the logic of late capitalism [6] has deliberately brought urban inequality, social segregation, cultural identity crisis, and serious environmental damages. If we are to take this viewpoint seriously, then the socio-spatial transformation of Jabotabek must perhaps be viewed from the following three stages of urban growth, namely growth by aggregate, growth by dispersion, and growth by polarization [7].

Growth by Aggregate during 1970s

Immediately after the slow down of the world-economy in the 70s and the energy-crisis penetrated most industrial countries in Europe, North America, and Japan, capitalists downsized their business and decentralized their center of production across the world [1]. At that time, South East Asian countries became more eligible and attractive for the foreign investors to make them as their business base.

Indonesia was no exception. Jakarta and its surrounding regions suddenly became one of the most attractive places to invest in the Pacific Rim. Soeharto's regime at that time was also very committed to encourage such trend. They stated the following political wills. Firstly, they would like to make Indonesia as one of the most important players in OPEC (to guarantee sustainable domestic energy and raw material supplies for foreign investments). Secondly, they would like to take advantage of the status as having the lowest labor cost among the South East Asian countries. Thirdly, they considered that discussions on the critical issues on labor rights, pollutions and environmental damages caused by industrialization must not be disclosed in public discourses. Certainly this is appealing to those foreign investors who wanted to seek an easy access without being constrained by political pressure groups. Fourthly, they would also guarantee a stable national security and ASEAN regional peace.

Not surprisingly, after these political will were indeed implemented by the Soeharto's regime, a huge number of foreign investors entered the country in that period [9]. The economic growth increased significantly to around 8.1 percent per annum during 70s and 80s [10]. Jabotabek's GDP per capita (1974-1981) was twice higher than the national GDP per capita, and it was even three times higher by the mid of 90s. As a result, Jabotabek became a major center of income generation and obviously it attracted many people from many different provinces in Indonesia to migrate. This has inevitably stimulated a massive labor force migration. They came to the region and struggled to find a job and to look for a better life.

Rapidly, the silent "gemenschaft" terrain of BOTABEK was replaced by a new "gesselschaft" industry agglomeration . Land price and speculation increased drastically -especially along the arterial roads and along the riverbanks motivated by the desire to have an "easy" access for industry disposal outlets. At the same time, small-scale housing estates also started to develop cheap labor housing projects and many indigenous "old-kampong" settlements became a swift rent-housing provider.

In brief, the growth by aggregate, which is stimulated by the shift in the global-economy, implies a sporadic spatial transformation in the form of urban sprawl emergence, conurbation symptom, and socio-spatial transformation of indigenous "old-kampong" settlements.

Growth by Dispersion by the end of 1980s

The growth by dispersion was triggered by three main factors:

  1. the progress of GATT and AFTA (Asia Pacific Free Trade Alliance), in which Indonesia is a member. As a member, Indonesia is obliged to deregulate many economic aspects including financial, trade and industrial policies. Particularly, after the financial deregulation in 1985, the property-loan became easier to access. It was because many private banks crowded the market, thus creating a problem of oversupply of loan able funds. These banks offered property loan with a very competitive interest rate. As a result, massive real estate projects sprouted across the Jabotabek region.

  2. The second factor is the automotive-industry deregulation whereby the government started to gradually reduce import tax levied on car. As a result, the price of car decreased tremendously. At the same time, banks also offered enormous "easy" consumer loans for car purchasing. This situation has had a great impact on the increasing of commuting trends in Jabotabek. This was because many people took advantage of these "easy" consumer loans and started to buy new houses beyond the inner Jakarta area. They thought that with the easy access to purchasing and owning a car, they would not have to worry anymore about having to live outside the inner Jakarta area and to rely on the "poor" public transport system.

  3. The last factor was the new legislation that allowed the private sector to develop and to operate new highways [11]. These highways were very much controlled by the Soeharto's cronies and their foreign-investors counterparts. Consequently, many new highways were constructed all over the outskirt of Jakarta . They were well connected to each other and also reached some remote terrains, which people had barely visited before.

These three factors that rooted in the spirit of late-capitalism were considered as the main trigger that accelerated the urban growth. The urban area became more dispersed, thus the notion of "growth by dispersion" seems to be justifiable.

The massive sprouting of new estates projects required a tremendous supply of lands located particularly in the outskirt of Jakarta. This drove up the land price and created land speculative practices [12]. Even worst, it caused a huge number of land-disputes [13], which were solved in a very 'wicked' way. Sadly, the "old-kampong" settlements and farm landowners were disadvantaged. Many of them were under-pressure to sell their lands very cheaply. No price negotiation was possible. If they refused, they would then be labeled as communists [14]. Some of them are even still struggling until today because of such a crude action. Nowadays, many of these old settlements and farmlands have been transformed into new "walled and gated" estates that belong to Jakarta commuters.

Also, the massive new estate projects were followed by enormous migration flows of construction labors from many areas in Indonesia. These migrant labors triggered many informal settlements nearby all of these construction projects. These migrants occupied the "no man's land", which was often a land under a legal dispute. At the beginning, these popular settlements seemed to be temporal, but then they evolved into more established and integrated economically or spatially with their surroundings. Recently, these informal settlements that are brought about by growth by dispersion are frequently labeled as "squatter-kampongs". They constitute another form of socio-spatial crisis again.

Growth by Polarization

The growth by polarization that commenced in the mid of 90s can be seen and analyzed using these following frameworks.

  1. The Insular growth: the urban sprawl was continuing, but in a different scale and scope. It becomes more complex overtime, for instance many empty or unproductive farmlands, which were never considered as valuable and strategic, suddenly were transformed into hospitals, warehouses, universities, and golf courses [15].

  2. The ex-novo growth: Obviously, those new functions and projects were established or clustered along the highway corridors to guarantee accessibility [16]. Some of them demanded and insisted to have a direct exclusive access from the highways. This created an unbalanced and crowded road-connection system between the highways and the secondary roads, which then caused many physical damages to the roads and very serious traffic jams.

  3. The Integrated linkage network: Immediately after Jabotabek linkage structure was completed and well connected with the airport, port, and highways, Jakarta was no longer considered as the center of the regional nexus anymore.

  4. The reticular polarization: The urban growth has also shown other symptoms of massive amenities and facilities agglomerations in some new emerging cities within Jabotabek [17]. This trend is visible in the new city of Lippo Karawaci that is located roughly 35 kilometers to the west of Jakarta. This new city is perhaps the most "prestigious" city that Indonesia has ever had. It is the headquarter location of the powerful business group, Lippo. It consists of a five star hotel, university, international standard hospital, cultural center, small-scale airport, shopping mall, and indeed a golf course [18].

This recent urban growth indeed has a direct impact on the socio-spatial transformation of Jakarta. Inevitably, environmental damages cannot be avoided. Tremendous social crisis also exploded across Jabotabek. For instance, the more eager are the capitalists to acquire lands to cater their businesses or just to engage in speculative deals, the more frequent land disputes occurred [19]. This kind of land acquisition, in general, happens to the ordinary people, which are often uneducated farmers. They are likely to be intimidated to sell their land cheaply.

In the meantime, planning policies remained steady or even stagnant. Government is no longer controlled and audited spatial development anymore, because the logic of capitalism has long become their patron. Government perhaps preferred to support and legalize private schemes rather than to seriously question the sustainability of the development.

Conclusion and Further Research

In brief, those stages of urban growth perhaps imply how the geography and the logic of late capitalism intersect in a complex socio-spatial process, which inevitably creates a serious urban inequalities, social segregation, cultural identity crisis, and environmental damages [20]. This notion of complex socio-spatial process can perhaps be pondered from the following two aspects. The First aspect is the way the indigenous "old kampong" settlements have been transformed and assorted in the wake of the continuing urban growth. The Second aspect is the way the emerging new informal squatter settlements (squatter-kampong) are spatially, economically, and culturally formed. Also, the way they struggle and become more integrated with its surroundings.

In term of urban inequality, both old-kampong and squatter-kampong face the same fate. They are deliberately marginalized by the rapid encroachment of the spatial growth and the capitalism spirit. Throughout the aforementioned three stages of urban growth, old kampong is perhaps hardly considered in the blueprint of the regional economic and spatial planning.

The same fate is shared by the informal migrant settlements. Kampong's inhabitants are spatially and economically marginalized, and yet they survived. The reason for their survival is almost like a shrouded mystery. We never really understand it. Nevertheless, we can observe some cases indicating this survival ability. The first one is the case of indigenous "old-kampong" settlements that take up the opportunity to provide rental housing to migrant labors. The second one is the case of migrant labors that occupy "no-man" lands surrounding estate projects in order to afford a cheap settlement. These new settlements have recently evolved into "squatter kampongs". Theoretically, these cases perhaps can be viewed as being examples demonstrating the effort of the kampongs people to adopt the logic of "geography-capitalism intersection in a complex socio-spatial process", albeit of in a different platform.

The mushrooming of satellite cities, new estates, amenities, and warehouses were immediately followed by the social segregation problem. This is because concrete wall and gates often always surround these new communities. There is no direct link between indigenous neighborhoods and these new communities. When people from kampongs work inside the new estate as a maid or gardener, they always have to pass the control gate everyday. There are hardly attempts to start a social contact between these new communities and their surrounding neighborhoods.

The people who live inside these "walled communities" live in a 'bourgeois' environment. First quality water and electricity supplies, nice and fancy streets, gardens, sport facilities, supermarkets, schools, and twenty-four hours security guards are provided to them. Ironically, not more than a kilometers radius from their wall, there are indigenous neighbors who lack clean water and electricity. Their houses are often not in a good state to live in because of lacking good sanitation facilities. This social contrast, which represents a spatial disruption and imbalance in prosperity, can perhaps be considered as one of the triggers causing some looting actions to the new estates, shopping centers, and malls during the "Black May" riot in 1998 [21]. The fundamental question in this context is who isolates and being spatially isolated.

As we mentioned before, the urban growth engenders serious environmental damages such as water or air pollution, floods, and traffic jam. They are not only caused by the emerging of new housing estates or the gigantic reticular polarization, but also by the spatial transformation of "old-kampongs", as well as the emergence of "squatter-kampong". The latter causes are hardly mentioned, discussed, or even included in the formal spatial planning policy scheme. The government only categorized them as an informal sector. Thus, nowadays Jabotabek does not posses any strategic spatial policy, which integrates and takes into account these "exurbia" [22] kampongs phenomena.

In this research, I would like to further elaborate these kind of informal settlements and their neighborhood from a socio-spatial transformation viewpoint. The research has the following goals.

  1. To elaborate, in a more comprehensive and deeper way, these three stages of urban growth evolution, i.e. growth by aggregate, growth by dispersion, and growth by polarization.

  2. To link the socio-spatial transformation with the urban growth using a scheme that integrates economic, social, cultural, and spatial analysis on both "old-kampong" and the emerging ”squatter-kampong”.

  3. To provide a critical review on Jabotabek's spatial policies, planning instruments, linkage structures, demographic trends, regulations, and regional economic analysis.

  4. To offer a critical review on the institutional aspects of Jabotabek's spatial planning and urbanism.

  5. To present a critical review on the socio-spatial approach that takes into account the connectedness and separateness of several specific spots in the region of Jabotabek. It is expected that this critical review can reveal the complexity and contradiction of spatial nexus embedded in the interplay among the ”old-kampong”, ”reticular growth”, and ”squatter kampong”.
These five research goals are, of course, going to be continuously developed and improved. The next immediate step that I would like to do is to build some sounds theoretical foundations that will be particularly suited for the case of Jakarta. From these theoretical foundations, I hope to be able to offer a better understanding on the logic behind the spatial transformation, which I believe is very much intertwined with the spirit of embracing capitalism that was adopted during the course of Jakarta's modern history. Furthermore, I wish to offer an incubator for a new paradigm that revises and improves the 'orthodox' planning paradigm, which puts too much emphasis on sector specific planning [23].

Through this research project, I want to also stress the importance of incorporating the existence of informal squatters and the urban polarization trend in a formal Jabotabek spatial planning. I believe that such an inclusion of informal squatters in the policy making is useful in order to avoid a chronic dichotomy between formal and informal settlements that could cause spatial, social, cultural, environmental, and economic problems. This is important in order to allow us to achieve a sustainable development. Otherwise, what will happen to the overall welfare when formal settlements keep segregating themselves from informal settlements, sometimes even with violence and repressive actions? These marginalized informal settlements may trigger an even serious problem when they are not properly taken into account in the overall planning policy.

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[1] Indonesia is an enormously diverse nation consisting of more than 13,000 islands, more than 200 ethno-linguistic group, and significant representation of each of the world’s major religions, although 87 per cent profess Islam [Hugo, 1996: 134].

[2] In the early 1940s the population of Jakarta had reached a total of 540,000 inhabitants. In 1950, there were about 1.4 million residents. Within the next twenty years, ending in 1961, the total population was already 2,973,053. By 1971, this number rose swiftly to 4,684,950 -an annual rates of 4.6%, of which migration represented 2.5% and natural growth 2.1%. Between 1980 and 1985 the population of the city increased from 6,071,750 to 7,429,000 inhabitants. In 1990 the total population has reached a total of 8,227,746 inhabitants and with including commuters during the working days the total population is estimated of about 9.2 million. By 2015, Jakarta is expected to be the fifth largest city in the world, with a population of 21.2 million- -15 times its size in 1955 [Peresthu, 2001: 11].

[3] The functional area of the larger cities has exceeded their administrative definition , creating metropolitan regions like Jabotabek [Jakarta-Bogor-Tangerang-Bekasi] –[Sudarmo, 1997: 230] in The Challenge of Sustainable Cities, Edited by Rod Burges, Marisa Carmona, and Theo Kolstee.

[4] By the early 90s a third of Indonesia were urban dwellers, for the first time less than half of Indonesia workers were employed in the agricultural sector, and agriculture’s share of GDP had fallen to 18.5 per cent [Hugo, 1993a]

[5] Kampungs area is usually formed incrementally, not by mass invasion, and gradually fills in the gaps between other land uses. Initially, the structure is quite open, and the kampungs resembles those in the rural areas with fishponds and separate houses surrounded by banana and coconut trees. The density gradually builds up as the city expands, and it becomes profitable to subdivide and sell off the land. Urban kampungs evolved from a compressed rural village and becomes incorporated into the expanding city. It developed a clearer and more hierarchical structure (Williams, 1975 p.341).

[6] Based on: Ernest Mandel [1993], Late Capitalism, Verso Books; ISBN: 0860917037. Also: Fredric Jameson [1993] Postmodern or Cultural logic of Late Capitalism.

[7] Andrea Peresthu [2001] Jabotabek Morphogenesis: The emerging of Jakarta exurbia. Research paper, ETSAB-UPC, Barcelona.

[8] David Harvey named it as “sea change” and it caused space-time compression [1989]. See also: Contemporary Spatial Strategies and Urban Policies in Developing Countries: A Critical Review [Burges, Carmona, Kolstee, 1997: 111-124]

[9] During the period 1974-1978 foreign investments reached US $ 338.1 million, with 37 projects, and it tripled to US $ 963 millions –with 38 projects, during 1979-1983. By the last period of 80s, only within two years (1989-1990) foreign investments reached US $ 1,381.5 millions with 181 projects. Most of the foreign investment originated from Japan was 39.8 per cent, Hong Kong it was 12.8 per cent, Europe was 20 per cent, American countries around 8.5 per cent, Australia and New Zealand were 2.4 per cent, Africa was 0.6 per cent, and the others were 5.6 per cent [Peresthu; 2001: 25]

[10] During 70s GDP grew by 6.3 per cent in real terms [Word Bank, 1984; NUDSP, 1985], later GDP growth slowed to 4.3 per cent per annum between 1981-1988 [Booth, 1992: 1]

[11] The construction and operation of highways was permitted and regulated by Act. No. 13 [1980] and Government Regulation No.8 [1990].

[12] See more: Many Developers Illegally Build Houses in Jakarta”. Jakarta Post [8 August 1990]; “Officials Believed Involved in Authorized Projects”. Jakarta Post [7 March 1989]; “Government to Revoke Permits of Delinquent Developers” . Jakarta Post [25 march 1991].

[13] See more: “Developers, residents asked to discuss land dispute” Jakarta Post [25 April 1989]; “Land Disputes Dominate Complaints to Council” Jakarta Post [5 September 1988].

[14] See more: “Residents seeking protection against intimidation, Jakarta Post [19 March 1991]

[15] In 1994, government revised master plan as well as regional plan, which is known as Jabotabek Metropolitan Development Plan Review – JMDPR. This revised plan includes 18 largest scale, residential, amenities, and new town projects proposed by private developers [JICA, 1994].

[16] The accumulation of highway length increased from 46 kilometers by 1978 [which connected Jakarta – Bogor] to 285.9 kilometers by the end of 1996, and recently it has around 390 kilometers total highways length in Jabotabek area [Peresthu, 2001: 37]

[17] The prominent new towns built or planned by private real estate developers in BOTABEK Region are among others: In the regency of Tangerang, West of Jakarta : the Bumi Serpong Damai (BSD) New Town of about 6,000 hectares; Tigaraksa New Town of about 3,100 hectares and Lippo Village, Karawaci of about 2,600 hectares; Pantai Jndah Kapuk of about 800 hectares; Alam Sutera of about 700 hectares; Kapuk Naga, 8,000 hectaers; Binatro Jaya of about 2,300 hectares; Citra Raya New Town, 2,000 Hectares; Modern Land of 770 hectares; Citra Grand City of about 1,000 hectares; Villa Permata of about 700 hectares and Palm Spring Village of about 100 hectares; Pun Jaya City, about 2,000 hectares, and others are in the pipeline such as the Citraland New Town and the Serpong Gading New Town. In the regency of Bekasi, East of Jakarta: the Bekasi Integrated New Town of about 1,300 hectares, Cikarang Baru New Town of about 5,400 hectares; Bekasi 2000 New Town of about 2,000 hectares, Lippo Cikarang of about 5000 hectares, Legend New City of about 2,000 hectares and Bekasi New City which is planned to develop an area of about 3,000 hectares, Bumi Bekasi Baru New Town, 1,500 Hectares. Others are in the regency of Bogor, South of Jakarta: Jonggol Asri about 33,000 hectares; Citra Indah City, about 1,200 hectares; Royal Sentul New City of about 2,000 hectares; Lido Lake Resort City of about 1,700 hectares; Rancamaya New City of about 550 hectares and the Cariu New Town of about 6,000 hectares. Within the city of Jakarta itself, several new towns in town had also been developed by private developers such as The Kemayoran New Town in the northern central part of Jakarta; Pantai Indah Kapuk New Town and Pluit New Town in the Northern Coastal Area of Jakarta and Pondok Jndah in the South Western part of the city of Jakarta and in the planning of Marunda New Community [Peresthu, 2001: 39-40]

[18] Private land developers provide new world for (upper) middle and upper class people, who live in gated communities. The new towns Lippo Karawaci and Bumi Serpong Damai, both in Tangerang, even try to be self-sufficient towns [kota mandiri], with a state-of-the-art infrastructure. Many elements of such a modern world have a higher symbolic meaning than practical use. Most resident, i.e., cannot afford to use the golf course, however, the are proud to have one [Leisch, 2000: 4-12]

[19] see more: Bernard Dorleans, The Land Speculation and The City Planning Problems in Jakarta. Workshop paper in The Indonesia Town Revisited, Leiden University, 6-8 December 2000.

[20] Those negative impact, theoretically have been mentioned by Ed. Soja as “a constantly evolving historical sequence of spatialties” [Soja 1989; 75].

[21] The environmental sustainability of many Third World Cities, particularly in relation to energy, food, and water supplies, is under question [Burges, Carmona, Kolstee, 1997: 70].

[22] The term of “exurbia” is adapted from: Alvin Rosenbaum and Marcy Mermel [1995]. Why now is the Time to Rethinking Regionalism. Cornell Journal of Planning and Urban Issues, spring 1995, Vol. X, pp. 31-37. Also with the work of Albert Pope [1996]. Ladders. Rice University School of Architecture.

[23] These reforms should be enacted in the context of dynamic proactive structure plans that guide the general process of urban development in line with a urban strategy based on regional and sustainable environmental support capacity consideration rather than through master plans based on rigid and detailed land use planning. Reactive action plans are also recommended to target investment that tackle specific bottlenecks [Burges, Carmona, Kolstee, 1997: 73].

(*) Andrea Peresthu, Escuela Tècnica Superior d’Arquitectura de Barcelona.