Friday, 3 December 2010

The Dualism of Indonesia’s Urbanization

Urbanization in Indonesia
Rapid urban growth and the emergence of city areas are becoming the new phenomena in Indonesia (Gardiner, 2006). In understanding Indonesia’s urbanization, we cannot escape from the fact that it is largely affected by socio-economic development process. Industrialized countries such as North America, Western Europe, Japan and Australia have high proportion of urbanized population compared to most developing countries. Newly industrialized countries such as South Korea, Singapore and Malaysia have witnessed solid transition towards a more urbanized society, while in contrasts, developing countries such as Indonesia have a relatively lower level of urbanization. This chapter will discuss the urbanization phenomenon in Indonesia and Bandung city in general, by focusing on the reality of dualism that happens almost in all urbanized area in Indonesia. 

Urbanization is a process of transformation from rural to an industrialized lifestyle (Firman, 2007). It is being considered as one of world’s most phenomenal socio-economic transformation process. The process of transformation from rural into being an urbanized condition usually involved transitions of economic sectors of the place, such as from an agricultural-based economy into industrialized-based economy. The diagram below explains the transitions of economic sectors that happens in the process of a certain country, state or city transforming into becoming urbanized. 

Agriculture-based > Industry-based > Service-based > Information-based > Creative City > Future Transformation

In most developed countries with high numbers of urbanized population, the scenario above happens progressively within the period of one century. However, Indonesia is experiencing similar transformation process almost within a simultaneous period of this century (Danisworo, 2010). In addition, urbanization of a certain area are usually caused by these three determining factors: (1) natural increase of population, (2) rural-urban migration, and (3) reclassification. 

There are two types of urban definition in Indonesia, as stated by Gardiner (2006). One is based on the administrative division, which local government units (kota) were given official status as municipalities. The second definition based on its functional aspect where each smaller administrative units (desa) were given functional status of being urban or rural according to their own characteristics and structures. The Indonesian population censuses conducted in 1980, 1990, 2000 and 2010 defined a locality to be considered as urbanized when it meets these three requirements; (1) having a population density of 5000 people or more per square kilometer, (2) having 25 percent or less of its households working in the agricultural sector, and (3) having eight or more kinds of basic urban facilities. These facilities include schools, hospitals, primary health care centers, sufficient road network systems, shopping centers, cinemas, market place, factories, banking institutions, restaurants, sufficient electricity and communication infrastructures and other basic public infrastructures. 

On the other hand, formations of globalized Asian cities are characterized by the followings (Firman, 1999): 

1. Development of economic activities at a global scale 
2. Division of functions between core and peripheral area in the city 
3. Shifts from being single-core to multi-cored city 
4. Conversion of agricultural land on city’s peripheries and changes of land use at the center 
5. Development of large-scale urban infrastructures, including airports, seaports, highways, telecommunication networks and other infrastructures 
6. Increase of land development rate 
7. Increasing numbers of commuters, commuting time and distances 

However, the phenomenon of the global city seems to disconnect local economic activities, resulting in regional disparities and uneven distribution of wealth (Ng and Hill, 2003). In general terms, urban development and urbanization patterns in Indonesia were largely affected by its socio-economic developments and political factors, which include the economy boom during the 1980’s to mid 1990’s and the economic crisis at the end of 2000 (Firman, 2002). Changes and reforms of government’s policies and directions from the era of the Old Order (Soekarno’s regime, 1959 – 1966), the New Order (Soeharto’s regime, 1966 – 1998) and the Reformation era of post-Soeharto also contribute to the overall development of Indonesia’s urbanization process. Basically, the development of urban areas and cities were backboned by politics. During Soekarno’s period of presidency, the development of urban areas focused on projects that represent nation and character buildings, while a more capitalistic direction by opening development markets to the globalized world was the focus undertaken during Soeharto’s presidency period. 

The current urban economic growth in Indonesia is not driven by investments but rely greatly on exports and consumptions. Meanwhile, new laws of regional autonomy and fiscal decentralization would have significant impact towards urbanization in the near future since urban development is becoming a local development affair. As stated by Danisworo (2010), city is the accumulation of decision-makings’ products by many different parties, especially from political decisions. What cities would become are physical manifestations based on the norms practiced during its formation process. In Indonesia, the concentration from capitalistic investments had caused changes in physical developments, but these changes do not apply to behavioral aspects of its dwellers. This dualism phenomenon in most urbanized area of Indonesia has characterized its cities. 

Dualism of Indonesia’s Urbanization 
In her book, The Death and Life of Great American Cities (1961), Jane Jacobs pointed out that diversity is natural to big cities. The concept of place and authenticity of a city are often conflicting, and contain contradictions, resistances and differences. In the context of rapid urbanization of most Indonesian’s cities, there are apparently great contrast between kota and kampungs. This dualist condition of the city, which is the product of the above-mentioned decision-makings and transformative process have been discussed long ago by Geertz (1965): 

"This transformation of kampung or rural into being urbanized or kota have three major aspects. Firstly, there is the emergence of new, semi-modern occupational structure that allowed and encouraged people to move off land and into non-agricultural-based work sectors. Secondly, changes of traditional forms of village social life within the kampungs as the agricultural-based community structure disappeared and new forms of social structure emerge replacing it. Thirdly, partial dissolution of village political structure happens and is reoriented towards the urban political leadership model. In general, it is a process of readaptation, not simply of disintegration – as urbanization is so often described." 

Referring again to the urban transformation cycle based on economic developments as described in Diagram 1 above, what happened in most urban area of Indonesia are merely ‘physical urbanization’ while most of its dwellers are still not urbanized, mentally. The unsynchronized cultural transformation created this dualism character of the city. The question of integrating the functional and the visual aspects of urban characters holistically had long been a challenge to decision makers and implementers of policies and planning and designs. Table 1 outlined major differences of kampung and kota, and also delineate dualist conditions for urbanized area that were embedded with kampung’s characteristics. 

Dualism in Indonesia’s Urbanized Areas (Source: Sihombing, 2004) 

From the characteristics above, we can see that the dualist conditions of kampung and kota in most urbanized places in Indonesia have contradictory and different elements between them. However, it is also important to notice their similarity and integration, as these similarities contribute to the important aspects of symbiosis. Historically, both kampung and kota in Indonesia cannot stand-alone. As stated by Siregar (1990), Indonesian cities from the period of the Hindu civilization up to now have contained kampungs but they have never been a kampung. Because of poverty and the availability of the informal sectors, kampungs always exist together with kota to support and serve each other. In respect to the main interest of this thesis, the transformative value that continuously happen in the urbanized area of the city with all of its elements, including the kampung kota needs a better process of allocation and re-allocation of the city’s sources in ensuring fair distributions of wealth for the society. 

The provisions of conducive in-between spaces in responding to the needs of both the urbanized and non-urbanized dwellers in the city are much needed. This is also important to meet the needs of both formal and informal sectors that have been contributing to the whole transformation process of the urbanized area. Since transformation process cannot happen in a vacuum space, architectural and urban design interventions are some of the most important elements that need to be implemented carefully, with special attention given to the unique conditions of this dualist phenomenon. The selection of Jalan Jenderal Sudirman in Bandung as the case study of this thesis will provide a testing ground that resembles this condition of dualism, and the target of this thesis is to provide design guidelines with simulations on intervening an urban area that is always transforming and dynamic. 

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