Staff of the section for Global Development – University of Copenhagen

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Sanitizing Jakarta: decolonizing planning and kampung imaginary

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This article offers a critical view of the water and sanitation sector within the broader trajectory of Jakarta’s spatial development and planning. Its territorial focus is on kampungs and it traces their historical journey from the periphery of the colonial city – Batavia and its modern planning domain – to the centre of the post-independence planning regime. ‘Kampung’ is an indigenous term for rural-agricultural settlements. In the colonial period, it was used to label non-European and non-Chinese settlements in and around the city. Colonial modernity created certain stigmatizations: kampungs came to be seen as undisciplined and insanitary communities, sources of insurgency and threats to public health. But the kampung realm was also (re)produced through practices of segregation within the colonial planning system. The imaginaries of colonial modernity linger on within today’s planning practices, resulting in a persistent failure to improve the environmental health of kampungs and the city as a whole. Postcolonial kampungs remain as a cosmopolitan enclave open to different cultures and socio-political contestations. The article argues that, given the kampung’s resilience in varying socio-ecological conditions, urban kampungs should be seen not as a problem, but as an opportunity for new planning approaches.

Original languageEnglish
JournalPlanning Perspectives
Number of pages21
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 2019

    Research areas

  • colonial modernity, community development, Jakarta, urban kampungs, urban planning, Urban sanitation, water management

ID: 196204158