Contested waterfronts: informality, floods and capital in Indonesia cities

Major Indonesian cities are laced with rivers that have become key sites of contestation over urban development - Ciliwung in Jakarta, Cikapundung in Bandung, Code in Yogyakarta, and the Kali Mas and Stern Kali in Surabaya. Such rivers are lined in part with informal settlements, often subject to flooding, and also the focus of formal development to meet the tourist market, attract global capital, and transform the image of the city. These rivers have become subject to conflicting desires to upgrade existing informal settlements, to invest in the necessary flood control, and to replace such settlements with sites of middle-class consumption that are seen to attract global capital and tourism. 

This project will investigate these conflicting forces that favour upgrading, global capital, urban image, and flood control. In this initial pilot phase we will form partnerships with key researchers in universities in four major Indonesian cities (Jakarta, Bandung, Yogyakarta and Surabaya) with a view to develop the project and to seek significant long-term funding. We will also conduct pilot studies in Jakarta and Bandung to investigate the scope of these issues and establish the methodological base for subsequent applications.


Kim Dovey [Melbourne School of Design, UoM]

Amanda Achmadi [Melbourne School of Design, UoM]

Brian Cook [School of Geography, UoM]

Ross King [Melbourne School of Design, UoM]