On Friday 12 June 2020, P.N.G. Akbar will defend her PhD dissertation, entitled: ‘The Role of Place-making in Urban Informal Settlements. A Study of Indonesian Kampungs’.
Similar to other cities in the developed world, the use of place-making, which has mainly served as a tool to redevelop and reimage areas, has become increasingly popular in Indonesia. In this case, there has been grassroots movements in Indonesia that adopt art- and cultural-based festivals for over than decades in urban kampungs (Indonesian informal settlements). Place-making through art and creative festivals have been held with the hopes of improving the aesthetic appeal of the kampungs, creating new opportunities for the residents to develop creative output relevant to their neighbourhood and communities’ existing assets, and strengthening the local identity to protect kampungs from the demolishment threat. However, it is still unclear whether place-making has made any real contribution to improving the social aspects of kampung residents. Therefore, the main purpose of the study is to understand the role of place-making through regular and temporal practices on local empowerment, identity, social connection, and quality of life of residents in Indonesian urban informal settlements.
A sequential explanatory mixed-method research design is then adopted, consisting of the quantitative data in the first phase and followed by the qualitative data in the second phase. The quantitative methodology consists of 227 randomly selected household surveys in two informal settlements, Kampung Bustaman and Kampung Dago Pojok. In order to further understand residents’ responses, 39 interviews with the survey respondents and representatives of civil society organisations are conducted.
As discovered from the two kampung cases, this study provides evidence that place-making can bring positive impacts to residents in deprived neighbourhoods in a developing country. It comes with a side note that forms, mechanisms, and outcomes of place-making in these neighbourhoods are different from those in the Western context. In this sense, the current study found that place-making as a process has been inseparable from the social and public life of kampungs.
In conclusion, this study has achieved its aim to explain the role of place-making as a social process in urban informal settlements and to what extent this process could contribute to the social and public life of informal settlers, particularly in the developing context. The current findings have explained many interconnections between places and their users, between resources, and between outcomes.
The PhD defences will not take place publicly in the Senate Hall or Professor Andries Queridoroom due to the coronavirus. The candidates will defend their thesis online.