(January 2010) In Search of Spatial Justice for Infrastructure Development at Decentralization Era in Indonesia

In Search of Spatial Justice for Infrastructure Development at Decentralization Era in Indonesia image

After a lot of protests, fragmentation threat, and dissatisfaction in equitable development to the centralistic system from local governments in Indonesia, in 1999 Indonesia transform the old system to decentralization. This new system is expected to solve equity development problems in cities and regencies. In infrastructure development, this new system gives hope to the local community. Most of them expect this new system could develop their area. Began the large scale development in cities and regencies in Indonesia begin.


Enlarged authorities of power within cities and regencies after decentralization creates an opportunity to gain funds from central government and local sources to be used for developing basic needs such as infrastructure, education, public health, energy, etc (Darmoyono and Woltjer, 2009). Unfortunately the aggressive development in each cities and regencies in Indonesia was not followed by much analysis of what the region actually needed. A lot of excessive and unnecessary development are build in cities and regencies such as airport, sea port, football stadium, etc. These uncontrolled and unplanned development make important developments such as clean water, road, electricity, etc forgotten. At the end, prices to access infrastructure are expensive and low income people cannot access the facilities and benefit of development. Even in some extreme cases the quality of living environment in cities and regencies were decline. Conflicts in the region requires “fair city” cannot be avoided. Local inhabitant began to seek for justice in city.


Conflation of injustice and distribution signals a liberal spatiality which space is seem as a platform upon which social processes and relations unfold and a container for social practice, rather than as a social structure arising out of extant power relations (Soja, 1980, 1999, Smith 1984, Harvey 1996, in Standley, 2009). Distributive understanding of justice articulate and are articulate by an ontology of space in which space itself is figured as prior to distributive projects (Kobayashi and Ray 2000 in Standley, 2009). Failure of government in distributing infrastructure development could be seen as problems of redistribution and decision-making process in local government institutions.


Idea about social justice are produced by conflict and contest, then it is conflicts and contest in, over, and about real space (Mitchell, 2007). Conflict between local government and inhabitant raises issues about spatial justice and decentralization. It seem impossible to develop spatial justice in decentralization era, especially in country like Indonesia. Political pressure and in-consistency in local government body make infrastructure development affected and impartial. All of these lead to question about decision-making and spatial distribution. How is the decision-making and spatial distribution process in decentralization era? How effective this process and how it could reduce conflict. It also explain correlation between political influence, distribution and spatial justice in case of local government in Indonesia.


This paper will be use both qualitative and quantitative methods in order to make comparison and evaluate local government policy for infrastructure development. Output from tis research will be policies for infrastructure development in order to create spatial justice at decentralization era.