Provisional Notes on Semi-Urbanization, Abidin Kusno


Wednesday September 20, 12:30pm- 2:00pm, Health Nursing & Environmental Studies Building (HNES) Room 140, York University.

Scholars working on Asian cities have argued that urban expansion in the region is taking a unique shape. In contrast to “suburbanization” which suggests a more or less unidirectional “urban sprawl” phenomenon due to the expansion of serviced land, the suburban transition in Southeast Asia, for instance, takes a hybrid form which stems from a complex interface between the urban and the rural. This talk argues that such a hybrid formation is not unique to the mega urban-region of Asia. Instead, it is a dominant feature of the urban core of some cities in Asia which, as I will show, is a result of “semi-urbanization.” Focusing on Jakarta, this talk will show how the irregular settlement known as the kampung constitutes an important part of semi-urbanization, and how an understanding of its persistence, location and functionality in the city would allow us to comprehend the peculiar suburban formation in the region.

Abidin Kusno joined York as a Professor in the Faculty of Environmental Studies in 2015, and he is currently the director of York's Centre of Asian Research (YCAR). Before his arrival at York, he was the Canada Research Chair in Asian Urbanism and Culture at the Institute for Asian Research at the University of British Columbia. His highly respected academic work draws upon a range of fields including urban studies, history, politics, cultural studies, architecture, design and geography. His research focuses on Indonesia in particular and he is a speaker of Bahasa Indonesia and Hokkien. Professor Kusno’s books include: Visual Cultures of the Ethnic Chinese in Indonesia (2016, Rowman & Littlefield); After the New Order: Space, Politics and Jakarta (2013, Hawaii University Press); Appearances of Memory: Mnemonic Practices of Architecture and Urban Form in Indonesia (2010, Duke University Press); and Behind the Postcolonial: Architecture, Urban Space and Political Cultures in Indonesia (2000, Routledge).

As President of the Canadian Council for Southeast Asian Studies (CCSEAS), Professor Kusno is also chairing the organizing committee for the CCSEAS conference to be hosted at York University in October 2017.

This seminar series is presented by the Major Collaborative Research Initiative Global Suburbanisms as a lead up to the project's final conference, "After Suburbia: Extended Urbanization and Life on the Planet's Periphery."