Improving the lives of women through better urban planning

Large areas of Jakarta are classified as ‘kampungs’ – consisting of self-built dwellings that house the city’s urban poor population. Many kampung residents have lived there for generations and pay land and property taxes. However, regular land disputes mean that residents are extremely vulnerable to eviction, as land is cleared to make way for new urban developments.

This UK-Indonesia collaboration has conducted the first in-depth study on the impact of resettlement and rehousing schemes on urban poor women in Jakarta. The work has informed policy making and produced a new toolkit to ensure the views and needs of women are accounted for by urban planners and decision makers.

Through testimonies from kampung women, evictees, and social housing residents, the project identified how poor women’s voices and experiences need to be better represented within policy initiatives aimed at building sustainable future cities.

The research demonstrated how the assumptions that urban planners often make about women’s roles and responsibilities within households can have detrimental consequences. For example, the assumption that women are economically inactive ‘housewives’ fails to recognise the work that women do within the informal urban economy, how this work is vital to livelihoods, and how re-location to public high-rise accommodation can cut women off from these essential economic networks and infrastructures.

Another goal of the collaboration was to develop research capacity. The team ran specialist workshops to improve access to publishing in international peer reviewed journals and bring research by Indonesian scholars to a wider academic audience. The partnership forged between researchers in Jakarta and Warwick will lay the foundations for many years of joint work around issues of economic development and social welfare.

The high-quality outputs that came out of the project were the direct result of collaborations with Indonesian scholars and activists. Many intangible benefits also flow from these kinds of research links which serve as a springboard for further research and educational collaborations.

Dr Juanita Elias, University of Warwick

The gendered everyday political economy of kampung eviction and resettlement in Jakarta

Project leads: Professor Juanita Elias, University of Warwick, UK and Dr Chusnul Mariyah, Universitas Indonesia

Delivery partners: British Council, UK and Ministry of Research and Technology/ National Research and Innovation Agency (Kemenristek/BRIN)

SDG 5 icon gender equality
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