Saturday, June 15, 2013

Posted by adriani zulivan Posted on 11:00:00 PM | No comments

Merthi Kutha, When People Grab their Public Space

One barometer of life quality of a city is public space. As an open space between communities that bring together citizens, public spaces act as strategic interests of all citizens. Yogyakarta is one of the major cities in Indonesia, which has complicated public space issues.

Public spaces in Yogyakarta have not been ideal, as function and quantity. It is also lack of government support (policy). According to Marco Kusumawijaya (2012), the declining quality of public space due to the inability of the state to take care of and/or communities does not feel they have and do not take care of it. Public spaces will come alive when successfully lived by the residents and the community changed from a public space into shared space. Public space, in the realm of the state, is considered as rigid and controlled entities. Common space is considered to be a living embodiment of an open community of citizens, as the active-creative interaction space in a city. Consequently, all the planning and the changes that will be made on these spaces is a common consensus. Residents seat role to be involved in determining the direction of the management and development of the city, rather than the practice of privatization and commercialization, to conservation. 

"Merti Kutha" which was held in Yogyakarta by a group of communities and individuals who called themselves as “Warga Berdaya” (powerful citizens) is a condition marker. Merti Kutha is a collaboration of citizen participation to reorganize their urban spaces. They are talking about pedestrian, visual trash, access for difabel, and heritage. This movement emerged when the city government failing to provide a decent living community rights of citizens. Dimensional space is absent due invincible dominance by economic power. Awareness among the community that people are still able to meet, communicate, and articulate their interests, it is a form of gratitude. Merti Kutha corroborates the existence of the city as a physical manifestation of the community in a vibrant city with a consensus across space, can be with or without the presence of the city government.

Keywords: public space, common space, privatisation, commercialization, citizen action

Author 1:
Elanto Wijoyono
Greenmap Indonesia

Author 2:
Adriani Zulivan
Indonesian Heritage Inventory

* This Abstract of Paper is prepared for the International Conference on Cities, People & Places, October 14-17, 2013 at the Sri Lanka Foundation Institute in Colombo, Sri Lanka. See here.

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