CRP Launches International Development Workshop in Indonesia

December 5, 2013

CRP's Victoria Beard, associate professor, will be leading a new international development planning workshop in Indonesia during the spring semester.

Focused on a group of squatters located along the Pepe River in the city of Solo, workshop participants will engage in a collaborative planning process that addresses planning problems at the intersection of informality, affordable and secure housing, access to basic services and public space, environmental degradation, poverty, and social exclusion.

"Solo is a particularly interesting city to conduct the workshop in because it has recently undergone a noteworthy planning process led by the former mayor, Joko Widodo," says Beard. The former mayor, commonly referred to by his nickname Jokowi, is well known for successfully relocating squatters away from another Indonesian river, the Bengawan; engaging street vendors in a relocation process; supporting traditional markets instead of developers seeking to build shopping malls; and his overall, clean, transparent and participatory style of governance. Jokowi is currently the governor of Jakarta, Indonesia's capital, and there is speculation that he will run for president in 2014.

"Jokowi's decision to relocate squatters away from the Bengawan River flies in the face of what is considered 'best practices' in urban planning — improving housing and basic services with minimal relocation and disruption of existing social networks," says Beard. "There are very few international examples of successfully relocating squatters, and as a starting point in the workshop, we will examine what made the Bengawan relocation effort successful."

Over the winter break, a group of CRP students will travel to Solo to work with local collaborators including the communities along the Pepe River, Yayasan Kota Kita (a non-governmental organization), Solo's municipal government, and faculty and students at Atma Jaya University. During the spring semester, two Indonesian collaborators will travel to Ithaca to work with students.

"Cornell is the epicenter of Indonesian studies, and there are broad resources here that can help make this program a success," says Beard. "Our hope is that this partnership between CRP and our Indonesian collaborators will facilitate international development planning internships for students, and exchanges of people and knowledge in both directions."

Starting in the fall of 2014, the workshop will be taught as a yearlong class, including another trip to Indonesia over the winter break.

The workshop has received financial support from the Mario Einaudi Center for International Studies, the Southeast Asia Program (SEAP), the center for Engaged Learning + Research, the Department of City and Regional Planning, and the American Institute for Indonesian Studies.

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