Inclusive governance for sustainable urbanization: Changing our future through co-creative processes
Postdoc researcher at the Department of Cultural Anthropology and Developmental Studies at Radboud University, a psychology lecturer at the Faculty of Psychology at Maranatha Christian University, Indonesia
Inclusive governance for sustainable urbanization : Changing our future through co-creative processes
The fast growing Indonesian economy has triggered tremendous urbanization. Over half the population (57%) now live in the many cities spread through the archipelago. Predictions see these urban areas absorbing the complete population growth over the next four decades, with a considerable increase of rural-to-urban migrants. The vast majority live in densely populated cities, with a large group of urban poor dispersed into overcrowded ‘informal’ settlements, slums, adjoining interstitial spaces or on under-monitored government-owned lands, with inadequate public services of water supply, sanitation and healthcare and other ecological amenities. This unsustainable mode of urbanization imposes high ecological tolls, such as surface water pollutions, groundwater overuses, land subsistence and unmanaged solid waste. Next to the rapid urbanization, climate change has further impacted the wellbeing of urban communities, for example through floods in coastal cities such as Jakarta, Samarinda, Semarang and Pontianak.
Creating sustainable Indonesian cities, including those still in the making, such as the proposed new Indonesian capital, requires an inclusive governance roadmap that builds the capacity to mitigate environmental disasters and enhance people’s wellbeing. Co-planning and co-creation with relevant stakeholders – government, market, civil society, community, science and other motivated change agents – is central to our change pathway to create both societal and technological solutions for social-ecological resilient cities. But realising this kind of collaboration requires careful preparation. How do we engage stakeholders in a co-creative process to change in a society dominated by power relations and where the government is often distrusted or considered to be unreliable? And how do we overcome issues imbued in language and conceptualization, where people use similar words to denote different things and where various actors have opposing interests? Although participation has become a key term in Indonesian society, as elsewhere in the world, a true co-creative process in which all relevant stakeholders are equally involved in the development, feasibility/piloting, implementation and evaluation phases remains challenging.
In this seminar, two Indonesia-Netherlands Joint Research Projects, which are geared towards sustainable Indonesian cities, propose to discuss good practices with and challenges for properly engaging stakeholders, such as local communities, NGOs, businesses and scientists, into a co-creative process to change in the Indonesian context. As a starting point, we provide a brief overview of each project: ‘Resilient Indonesian Slums Envisioned (RISE)’ and ‘Following Frontiers of the Forest City’. We have developed a pragmatic framework which describes how the intervention affects change, a so-called ‘Theory of Change’, and we have invited a local community member, NGO representative, government officials and businesses to reflect on their experiences with engaging themselves with different stages of this envisioned Change. We also invite active engagement of our students who are the agents of future changes. These various viewpoints will provide inputs for further discussion in which you are all invited to participate in envisioning ‘inclusive governance’ as a decision-making process that involves all people in society or community, along with institutions, policies, processes, and services that are accessible, accountable and responsive to all members of society.