This study examines how the Reformation has affected public space in Indonesian cities. The article draws on expert interviews and systematic field observations in Surabaya and Bandung, Indonesia’s most important cities after Jakarta. The findings reveal that, with democracy and decentralisation, the public sector is more keenly aware of the socio-political functions of public space, and the planning process has become more participatory. This growing awareness has helped create more appealing and humane urban environments. Political activities, largely absent in the past, are now allowed in public space – albeit under the watchful eye of the government. At the same time, if public space was once considered as an ‘unproductive’ land-use, it has now commodified in a major way. Shopping malls have become ubiquitous, and are quite popular with local urbanites, who have traditionally equated public space with commercial space. Locals appear to be unconcerned about public space ownership – as long as it can offer novel and interesting activities.
Title: The transformation of public space production and consumption in post-reformation Indonesian cities
Authors: Tigor Panjaitan, Dorina Pojani, and Sébastien Darchen
Journal: City, Culture and Society