Water, Water Everywhere: Toward Participatory Solutions to Chronic Urban Flooding in Jakarta
Jakarta has entered an era of chronic flooding that is annually affecting tens of thousands of people, most of whom are crowded into low-income neighbourhoods in flood-prone areas of the city. As the greater Jakarta mega-urban region—Jabodetabek—approaches the 30 million population mark and the sources of flooding become ever more complex through combinations of global climate change and human transformations of the urban landscape, government responses to flooding pursued primarily through canal improvements fall further behind rising flood risks. Years of field observation and archival and ethnographic research are brought together in a political ecology framework to answer key questions concerning how government responses to flooding continue without significant participation of affected residents, who are being compelled to relocate when floods occur. How do urban development processes in Jakarta contribute to chronic flooding? How does flooding arise from and further generate compound disasters that cascade through Jakarta's expanding mega-urban region? What is the potential for neighbourhoods and communities to collaboratively respond through socially and environmentally meaningful initiatives and activities to address chronic flooding? Floods, urban land use changes, spatial marginalization, and community mobilization open new political dynamics and possibilities for addressing floods in ways that also assist neighbourhoods in gaining resilience. The urgency of floods as problems to be solved is often interpreted as a need for immediate solutions related only to flood management, but community resilience is more crucially attained in non-emergency times by expanding rights to dwell in this city, build houses, and create vernacular communities, livelihoods, and social support networks.
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Document Type: Research Article
Publication date: September 1, 2015
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