Recently I finished my Ph.D. at School of Built Environment, the University of Salford, UK. Before that, an opportunity to do master degree at School of Planning and Architecture, New Delhi, opened the way I view the world. Apart from study, my interest has also been shaped by my working experiences. I have been lecturing since the year of 2000 in Department of Architecture, Muhammadiyah University of Surakarta (UMS) Indonesia. Along with my academic experience, I have been involved in some architecture, urban design, and urban planning project in Indonesia.
Urban design & planning: social sustainable development, public places, leisure facility, town planning
The history of communal, violent conflicts has put Indonesia on the map after its crisis in 1998. As an ‘extraordinarily diverse’ country, the recent conflicts and the social diversity of Indonesia has led to a need to understand the importance of the relationships among societies. Several researchers have attempted to explain the reasoning behind the incidents, but they have mostly approached the matter from social and political perspectives. Another shortcoming of the existing research is the diverse use of methodology and thematic choices, and thus researchers have reached different conclusions. To better understand the dynamics of conflict, a study needs to be conducted into the violent conflicts in Indonesia which will draw on data from similar types of conflict. Although some discussions in urban development and urban policy delivery arise in relation to social diversity issues and the potential conflicts, they are often unrelated to the context of a developing country, such as Indonesia.
This research aims to establish a framework of urban planning and development direction in response to the social diversity issues which might lead to communal conflict in Indonesia. The framework achieves this through a number of objectives: observing the relationship between social diversity, communal conflict, and urban development, and exploring the elements of urban planning practices relevant to urban diversity and potential conflicts.
The research looks at the context of communal conflicts during the end of 1990s and early 2000s, which happened in three urban environments: Solo, Poso, and Sambas. The case studies involve an in-depth interview with 38 respondents, and an additional six respondents for the verification. The research adapts the Grounded Theory approach in the analysis of the data.
The findings reveal that the emerging issues are moving from personal level to city level. The pattern indicates that communal conflicts at a personal level could grow exponentially into a larger conflict at city level. An urban planning strategy could help in mitigating the potential conflicts, particularly from the community level. Community-level development would need to mediate a larger planning agenda to be able to improve the performance of personal-level development. In response to communal conflicts, urban planning practice could respond indirectly by taking social diversity into account. The result contributes to three levels of development stakeholders: the government, urban planning practitioners, and the general population. This would help urban policy makers to take action. This also provides an idea of what researchers and urban planning practitioners should look at to deal with the issues of violent conflicts, particularly in developing countries.