Jakarta’s Redevelopment: A Case Study of the “Insta-famous” Alam Sutera and M Bloc Space

Daniel Yonto, Department of Geology and Geography, Georgia Southern University


Developing Lands and Cities


Compared to the west, Indonesians are very social. With Indonesia’s active social media users, sharing life stories and everyday occurrences is a common and important way of socializing and staying in touch. Moreover, with smartphone cameras, the destination for these digital memories includes Facebook, YouTube, Instagram, Twitter, Tiktok, WhatsApp, or Line. Nowadays, two of the more famous neighbourhoods seen across all social media platforms are the “Insta-famous” Alam Sutera and M Bloc Space. However, behind the selfies lies a complex story of how these neighbourhoods have changed. Our study explores the complexity and the diversity of capital reinvestment and social conflict in Alam Sutera and M Bloc Space. Results reveal a complex relationship between local government’s aim to redevelop into a tourist city and many who use the streets who desire to share the land. To prevent what local officials label as “negative things” that are not specifically for tourism, undesirable street vendors have been largely barred from these neighbourhoods. Instead, bicycle rentals, statue performers, and street painters can stay as they have “something to do with art and culture.” Although many street venders and local artists were relocated to an alternative market area, few people visit these places, which, in turn, leads to a substantial loss of income for community members. The processes and outcomes of Indonesia’s changing neighbourhoods highly depends on the context. However, revitalization projects must take into account the long-term socioeconomic, racial, and/or ethnic injustices it could cause. Otherwise, revitalized Indonesian neighbourhoods will only be reserved for certain populations.

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