of the Article: The Suburbanization of Jakarta: A Concurrence ofEconomics and Ideology
of the article: The suburbanization of Jakarta: A concurrence ofeconomics and ideology
Thearticle was authored by Michael Leaf and published in the Third WorldPlanning Review in the year 1994. The aim of the author is to explainthe means through which the idea suburb has been spreading in thethird world countries. Leaf argues that the growth of suburb is aform of human settlement that started in the western countries.Currently, the suburb is the main type of settlement in developedcountries, such as the U.S. Critiques hold that this form ofsettlement is responsible for the rapid increase in the amount ofresources that are consumed each year. Other people argue that theexpansion of suburb settlements can be attributed to the increase inthe population of middle income earners, technological changes, andeconomic growth.
Duringthe middle and later stages of colonization, a fair distribution ofresources was achieved. Democracy was getting roots, which allowedmore people to advance to the middle and upper social classes.Countries (such as the U.S.) perceived that the dream of democracycould be realized better in the suburban settlements.
Thereis no doubt that the idea of suburb as a form of human settlementbegan in the western countries, but the means through which it hasbeen spreading in the developing nations is still controversial. Leafproposes two means through which the idea could be spreading. First,the author holds that the idea could be spreading throughsuburbanization of the globe. This idea is based on the assumptionthat the expansion of the suburb is caused by the growth in theglobal economy. Therefore, it only originated in the westerncountries because that is where the growth of the global economystarted. It will continue to expand to developing nations as theyachieve economic growth as well.
Secondly,it has been argued that suburb settlements have spread like any otherform of the western culture. Its spread has been equated to the bluejeans and McDonald’s hamburgers. However, this form of spread isquite exclusionary because it leaves many members of the society outof the suburb settlements.
Thegrowth of suburbs in Jakarta, which is classified as the largest cityin Indonesia, has been attributed to multiple factors. These factorsare ideological and economic in nature. The concurrence of the twotypes of factors is associated with the policies developed inIndonesia. For example, the enclave housing program has contributedtowards the growth of suburbs in Jakarta. Leaf also associates thegrowth of suburbs in Jakarta to two aspects of policy development,including the massive housing program initiated by the nationalgovernment and the permit system that is administered by themunicipal authority of the city.
Thefinancing program was launched in the year 1974 and it isadministered by the national government through the State SavingsBank. The program was initiated with the objective of enhancing thecitizen’s access to houses through the construction of low-costapartments. However, it resulted in the overall stimulation of thereal estate sector, especially in the city of Jakarta. Thestimulation of the entire sector occurred because the privatedevelopers were also allowed to access the financing program.
TheIndicative Land Use Permit that was initiated by the municipality hasfacilitated the growth of suburb by creating an opportunity for thegrowth in the number of small plots that are held by the privatedevelopers. A combination of the interventions made by the nationalgovernment and municipality supports an argument that the growth ofsuburbs in Jakarta have resulted from policies, instead of the marketforces. This growth is in line with the ideology of the “newgovernment order” that favors the capitalists. This assumption isbased on the fact that most of the beneficiaries of the housingprograms in Jakarta are capitalists, while the low-income earnershave been left out. Emerging capitalists are motivated by the idea ofowning property, including small parcels of land.
Thereare several economic trends that Leaf associates with the expansionof suburbs in Jakarta. There has been an increase in the level ofcontrol of the agricultural sector as well as the resource extractionby the local entrepreneurs and employees. This has resulted in theempowerment of the local people, which has enabled them to ownproperty. The growth in the middle management jobs and the serviceindustry has resulted in the exponential increase in the number ofindigenous capitalists. Moreover, the expansion of the middle classhas increased the purchasing capacity of residents, which hasfacilitated the growth of the local enterprises. The growth of theconsumerist ethics in the city has also made a contribution towardsthe success of the local businesses. Consumerism does not onlyinvolve the manufactured goods and services, but also the modernhouses.
Towardsthe end of the article, Leaf argues that programs that havefacilitated the growth of the suburbs can be classified as pyramidschemes. This classification is attributed to the fact that theprograms have characteristics that limit the capacity of the peopleto access the houses in the urban areas. Some of the key features ofsuburban include setting aside of zones for residential houses forthe wealthy and low building densities. The limitations created bythe existing programs ensure that only a few people are able toaccess the classic suburb houses. The association betweensuburbanization and capitalism has forced the developed countries torethink it as a form of settling human beings.