Urban space and housing during the decolonization of Indonesia, 1930-1960

Freek Colombijn

In Urban space and housing during the decolonization of Indonesia, 1930-1960 (a main title will be added to this book title) the social changes in Indonesian cities during the process of decolonisation are examined. These social changes are studied from the angle of urban space and the provision of housing. This focus on the everyday worries of space and housing, in combination with a local level of analysis, provides fresh insight into the question how people experienced the Japanese occupation, the Indonesian Revolution, and the first steps to build a sovereign nation. In the first half of the book, the author challenges the idea that a shift from ethnic to class differences was the paramount social change during decolonization, and argues instead that social class already formed the predominant principle of stratification in colonial urban society. The second half of the book focuses on the shifting balance of power between the main agents in the urban arena. Through the use of hitherto unused historical sources, the book presents a wealth of new data about the competition between civil and military authorities to control available housing; the exasperation of urban dwellers about the residential permits issued by the corrupt Housing Allocation Bureaus; public building programmes appropriated by self-serving civil servants; the cat-and-mouse games between the kampong population and the urban administration; and the shifting balance of power between landlords and tenants. This study of the Indonesian city and the decolonization process during the understudied decades of the 1940s and 1950s is of great importance for people interested in history, urban anthropology, and the study of Third World cities.


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