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A political and spatial history of Indonesian cities

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Chapter Summary

The chronological narrative of this chapter, providing a minimum of historical background, is spun from three strands: the structure of local administration, the symbolic appropriation of urban space, and the urban landscape. The resulting cord is divided into the conventional historical periods of Dutch colonialism, Japanese occupation, Indonesian Revolution, and the period after the transfer of sovereignty. The chapter also summarizes the demographic changes throughout these periods. Local administration was arguably the single most important actor shaping urban space, and particularly housing, in the mid-twentieth century. During the Japanese period and Republican times, the national government reclaimed many of the competences transferred to the local level, reversing the Dutch colonial trend. The urban landscape portrays the social fabric, especially the size of the gap between different social classes. The best documented change in the urban landscape was, not the production of statues and gateways, but the proliferation of modern architecture.

Keywords: Dutch colonialism; historical background; Indonesian Revolution; Japanese occupation; modern architecture; urban landscape



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