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Jakarta, Drawing the City Near

Jakarta, Drawing the City Near

AbdouMaliq Simone
Copyright Date: 2014
Pages: 320
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  • Book Info
    Jakarta, Drawing the City Near
    Book Description:

    Jakarta, a city rife with disparities like many cities in the Global South, is undergoing rapid change. Alongside its megastructures, high-rise residential buildings, and franchised convenience stores, Jakarta's massive slums and off-hour street markets foster an unsettled urban population surviving in difficult conditions. But where does the vast middle of urban life fit into this dichotomy? InJakarta, Drawing the City Near, AbdouMaliq Simone examines how people who the largest part of the population, such as the craftsmen, shopkeepers, and public servants, navigate and affect positive developments.

    In a city where people of diverse occupations operate in close proximity to each other, appearance can be very deceptive. Set in a place that on the surface seems remarkably dysfunctional, Simone guides readers through urban spaces and encounters, detailing households, institutions, markets, mosques, and schools. Over five years he engaged with residents from three different districts, and now he parses out the practices, politics, and economies that form present-day Jakarta while revealing how those who face uncertainty manage to improve their lives.

    Simone illustrates how the majority of Jakarta's population, caught between intense wealth and utter poverty, handle confluence and contradictions in their everyday lives. By exploring how inhabitants from different backgrounds regard each other, how they work together or keep their distance in order to make the city in which they reside endure,Jakarta, Drawing the City Nearoffers a powerful new way of thinking about urban life.

    eISBN: 978-1-4529-4293-3
    Subjects: History, Sociology

Table of Contents

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  1. Front Matter
    (pp. i-iv)
  2. Table of Contents
    (pp. v-vi)
  3. Preface
    (pp. vii-xii)
  4. Introduction Rehearsal for an Urban Commons in Jakarta
    (pp. 1-22)

    Jakarta is a city full of deceptive appearances. It contains large swaths of unequivocal desperation, of people facing constant scarcity, caught in the exhausting daily struggle to put food on the table. No matter how much the government may extend subsidies or promote empowerment, at least two million Jakartans live in substantially deteriorating conditions with which they can do little. In contrast, the machineries of Megadevelopments work their way across the metropolitan region, promising all-in-one living environments designed to concentrate the accumulation of a growing middle class. Much of the city remains an ambiguous landscape, difficult to read. Places are...

  5. 1 THE NEAR-SOUTH Between Megablock and Slum
    (pp. 23-82)

    Recently, I lived for one year on the thirty-ninth floor in one of the fifteen towers making up Podomoro City in Jakarta. I rarely saw my neighbors and even more rarely had any kind of conversations with them. The first person on my floor with whom I ever spoke was a middle-aged woman from Abidjan. I stupidly asked how it was for an Ivorian woman living in Indonesia, and she replied that on the thirty-ninth floor, “where are we really anyway?” As the fascination and exigency of vertical living becomes more extensive throughout the world’s cities, does this woman’s somewhat...

  6. 2 THE URBAN MAJORITY Improvised Livelihoods in Mixed-up Districts
    (pp. 83-150)

    If I posit a provisional concept such as the near-South in order to explore a momentary in-between existence for the major metropolitan regions of the “non-West,” the importance of this exercise rests partly in its also opening up exploration of urban relationality in general. What does it mean to be a collective, to operate within a collective relationship, in situations where the predominant terms of representation are inadequate to the local realities, but where emergent terms of self-representation are either too provisional or too marginalized to secure substantial traction or consensus? Given the variegated histories of specific regions and their...

  7. 3 DEVISING RELATIONS Markets, Streets, Households, and Workshops
    (pp. 151-208)

    Cities are contexts for the dense proximity of living and nonliving things, materials, and abstractions of all kinds. Proximity does not guarantee relation. While the intensities exerted by things and bodies may generate attractions and repulsions, draw things near or push them away, there are no predetermined reasons why things or events should necessarily connect, be in relationships with each other. The subsequent relationships may retrospectively reveal properties that explain how things are attuned to each other, how they complement or engender new capacities, but these characteristics or properties of the relationships cannot fully account for how the relationships were...

  8. 4 ENDURANCE Risking the Familiar
    (pp. 209-242)

    How do the residents of a city like Jakarta keep going? How do they endure the volatility of the city, its massive growth, and extensive fragmentations? How do they persist as familiar sources of anchorage slip away? I begin this chapter not with a story from Jakarta but with a description of the daily practice of a friend of mine living in Kinshasa, the capital of the Democratic Republic of the Congo. I do so because Kinshasa is a city that has few formal instruments to hold on to, few unyielding frameworks that residents can use to track their lives...

  9. 5 INVENTIVE POLICY Integrating Residents into Running the City
    (pp. 243-260)

    The relational economies discussed in chapter 4 raise significant questions about the future direction of urban development and economic policy. The presumptions of clarity in economic transactions attained through the devices of price, securitization, leverage, and guarantees intended to distribute risk efficiently no longer hold (Clark 2011; Bryan et al. 2012; Gillespie 2013). We know the general criteria for agglomeration and its relationship to economic innovation, and that agglomeration is contingent on the supply of housing and amenities, as well as the productivity effects of the worker skills available. But there are no adequate explanations of how agglomeration really gets...

  10. Conclusion: Reimagining a Commons
    (pp. 261-268)

    Urban thought today places great emphasis on the notion of the urban commons. As spaces of all kinds are valued primarily as financial assets, this emphasis on the commons attempts to make spaces accessible to a wide range of uses and actors. The commons is not just a collection of things. It is not just the buildings and infrastructure, with their various uses, shared among residents, not just the specific public spaces identified through a checklist of green areas, squares, and facilities. The commons is not just an assortment of public goods that have in recent decades been privatized or...

  11. Bibliography
    (pp. 269-294)
  12. Index
    (pp. 295-320)
  13. Back Matter
    (pp. 321-321)