Understanding Kampong: History and Emergence of Kampong

During colonial era in Jakarta, due to lack of ability to provide sufficient amount of housings for the citizens, the Dutch government encouraged the residents to build their own housings (Cuadra, Sears and Gieble, 2015). Thus, low-income citizens were free to construct their own housings and form villages in marginal areas of Jakarta.

After Indonesia regain its independence, the government set up housing department to deal with housing shortage issue; however, the government was incapable of overwhelming housing shortage for low-income citizens, and eventually relied on the same strategy with the Dutch government (Kusno, 2012). As a result, it was the government that allowed such informal structures to continue growing in the marginal spaces in the city.

Furthermore, during Asian financial crisis in 1997, the government allowed the low-income residents to occupy abandoned land near the city center in order to hire them for cheap labor works as informal employment (Cuadra, Sears and Gieble, 2015). Hereby, the Jakarta government not only allowed but also relied upon these informal settlements to compensate for their housing and economic crisis.

However, Sukarno and Suharto started focusing on neoliberalism and was inclined to develop Jakarta as a more modernized and international city (Cuadra, Sears and Gieble, 2015). The shift of government’s goal on urban development started to guide developers towards waterside spaces that were occupied by kampongs. From then on, in order to construct shopping malls and golf courses, the government started to remove people from the marginal spaces and demolished the kampong housings for modernized development of the city.




  1. Cuadra, Linda, Sears, Laurie J., and Giebel, Christoph. This Grievable Life: Precarity, Land Tenancy, and Flooding in the Kampung of Jakarta, 2015, ProQuest Dissertations and Theses.
  2. Kusno, Abidin. “HOUSING THE MARGIN: PERUMAHAN RAKYAT AND THE FUTURE URBAN FORM OF JAKARTA.” Indonesia, no. 94 (2012): 23-56,149.
  3. Supriatna, Andri. Analysing Land Tenure Security of Urban Kampung in Jakarta, 2018.

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