“In order for the oppressed to unite, they must first cut the umbilical cord of magic and myth which binds them to the world of oppression; the unity which links them to each other must be of a different nature.“
PAULO FREIRE, ‘PEDAGOGY OF THE OPPRESSED’ (1970 : 175)
How can transformations be understood? Who and what makes transformation? Whose perspectives should lead our attempts in understanding diverse processes of transformation? Whose aspirations should be at the front line to transform conventional development practices or those practices that help decay communities’ rich pluriverse of social reproduction systems?
Linking Theory and Practice
Prathiwi’s work has been centred on understanding transformation to inform spatial development practice. She has published a number of scientific writings in various academic communities. Her publications show rigorous analyses with diverse theories and informative empirical works. As to inform practice we need good theories, her current intellectual projects seek to bridge different theories at different levels of abstraction. Moreover, rather than locating herself at a distance from the research field, she stands with the research subjects and their situated knowledge. In her recent publication, she advocates the role of insurgent planner.
Besides conducting academic research to inform praxis, Prathiwi’s expertise also includes policy advice, strategic planning, architecture engineering and urban design visioning. Her office to date has been mostly on the field! She enjoys working closely with communities. The Aceh Tsunami Response of Oxfam GB brought her in April 2005 to Aceh Jaya District, where she helped the reconstruction of three villages for around a year and a half. It was only a year after she obtained a degree in architecture and at that time, she felt tired already of designing luxurious apartments and exclusive water-front developments. The Aceh Experience was truly valuable. After decades of armed conflict and the dreadful disaster, Aceh was not an easy place to work. But it could not be more inspiring for Prathiwi to learn the rich nature-and-culture beyond Java.
Another chance to explore the vast home country by working with communities was in West Papua. Within the scheme of Corporate Social Responsibility of BP the mining company, Prathiwi developed a strategic planning for the development of water and sanitation sector of Bintuni Regency, implemented by Dinas Kesehatan (Health Agency). One work package was delivered in September 2012, to mentor sanitation workers from several districts in planning their regular tasks (including assisting communities to conduct physical planning for their water and sanitation facilities). The Papua Experience had enriched Prathiwi’s doctoral study.
Prathiwi is an enthusiast in exploring (traditional) open markets. She had great times in visiting various (community) markets in Indonesia, Viet Nam, India, Poland, Serbia, Belgium and Germany. Raised in an urban kampung in periphery Jakarta, she experienced markets in her everyday childhood.