Peer-reviewed journals and peer-reviewed conference proceedings

Putri, P. (2020). Insurgent planner: Transgressing the technocratic state of postcolonial Jakarta. Urban Studies, 57(9), 1845-1865.

… [I]t signals the end of a century in which modernist doctrine posed the urban questions of our time precisely by advancing planning and architecture as solutions to the social crises of industrial capitalism [original emphasis].

James Holston, ‘Spaces of Insurgent Citizenship’ (1998: 37) 

For summary and some background thoughts, see the journal’s blog.

Hadipuro, W., & Putri, P. (2020). Right-to-water alliances in Indonesia and two critical disjunctions. Power, Conflict and Democracy, 8(1), 29-47.


Discourses on the right to water have shaped opposition movement against the market-oriented approach to water governance in Indonesia. We documented how global debates against water privatization influenced discourses in this sector since 1998, and how activists utilized the discourses in the context of national and provincial water policy arenas. Our observations and analyses are centred on the decision of the Indonesian Constitutional Court February 2015 to annul the 2004 Law on Water Resources (UU Sumber Daya Air of 7 year 2004). This was a legal umbrella under which private water concessions were sanctioned. We seek to understand discourse formations before and after the decision that helped to end partial institutions of water privatization in Indonesia. By deploying textual-oriented discourse analysis of the pros and cons of the right-to-water and market-oriented approach, this article seeks to reveal the trajectory of Indonesian water social movement against privatization. The sources of analysis are Indonesian leading newspapers, grey literatures – or literatures that are produced outside the academic and commercial publishing, and scientific publications. This article shows that there are limits to the use of the right-to-water discourse among the activists, which lead to ‘two critical disjunctions’. First, overly-focused on the normative struggles against the privatization of piped-water services has hindered more progressive, community-oriented responses to different policy changes within the water sectors that remains market-oriented in feature. Second, consequently, social movement in this sector has been disconnected from the more recent agendas of global struggles for just water governance.

Kaputra, I., & Putri, P. (2020). The precarity of peri-urban resistance: A resistance to the forced eviction of Pasar VI Village and the development of Kualanamu International Airport, North Sumatera. Power, Conflict and Democracy, 8(1), 49-67.


In 1997, Kualanamu was chosen as the site of a new airport in North Sumatra. The central government’s unilateral decision created new agrarian conflict and complicated the agrarian issues that had plagued the region since the colonial era. The accumulated conflicts and structural issues left local residents in a precarious state as they became integrated into peri-urban society. This article highlights the complexity of the conflict, the agency–institutional–structural relations that underpin it, and peri-urban resistance within the context of urbanisation and its marginalisation of rural communities.

Putri, P. (2019). Sanitizing Jakarta: decolonizing planning and kampung imaginary. Planning Perspectives, 34(5), 805-825.


This article offers a critical view of the water and sanitation sector within the broader trajectory of Jakarta’s spatial development and planning. Its territorial focus is on kampungs and it traces their historical journey from the periphery of the colonial city – Batavia and its modern planning domain – to the centre of the post-independence planning regime. ‘Kampung’ is an indigenous term for rural-agricultural settlements. In the colonial period, it was used to label non-European and non-Chinese settlements in and around the city. Colonial modernity created certain stigmatizations: kampungs came to be seen as undisciplined and insanitary communities, sources of insurgency and threats to public health. But the kampung realm was also (re)produced through practices of segregation within the colonial planning system. The imaginaries of colonial modernity linger on within today’s planning practices, resulting in a persistent failure to improve the environmental health of kampungs and the city as a whole. Postcolonial kampungs remain as a cosmopolitan enclave open to different cultures and socio-political contestations. The article argues that, given the kampung’s resilience in varying socio-ecological conditions, urban kampungs should be seen not as a problem, but as an opportunity for new planning approaches.

Washing in Molenvliet, ca. 1936.
Source: courtesy of KITLV/ Royal Netherlands Institute of Southeast Asian and Caribbean Studies

Putri, P., & Moulaert, F. (2017). Spatial Practices and the Institutionalization of Water Sanitation Services in Southern Metropolises: The case of Jakarta and its Kampung Kojan. International Journal of Urban and Regional Research, 41(6), 926–945.


This article examines the spatial practices and forms of institutionalization in the water and water sanitation sector in Jakarta, capital of Indonesia, and especially in Kampung Kojan in the Kalideres subdistrict of Jakarta. To this end, it develops a three-layered analytical framework viewing the city as a multi-scalar socio-ecological system in which different forms of human–water relations and their institutionalization are found. Particular attention is given to informality in this system and how it interacts with ‘regular’ state and corporate market sector practices. Within these interactive dynamics, informality is not only understood as a survival strategy but also as a creative practice connecting various social-ecological opportunities, traditional and contemporary technologies and modes of institutionalization to each other. Ongoing institutionalization processes in the formal and informal economy, as well as between them, are analysed. Opportunities to integrate and regularize the diverse water sanitation services into community-led closed water–wastewater cycles capable of ensuring public health and sustaining a bio-hydrological balance at the local level are explored.

Putri, P. (2017). A decentralised approach to wastewater management in the urbanising region: the case of Jakarta, Indonesia. Urbanisation, 2(2), 83-97


State-led and market-oriented approaches to sanitation development in Jakarta have favoured the construction of large-scale centralised sewerage systems. This development approach is not always suitable because the principles of modern infrastructure underlying the technological systems are not applicable in informal settlements scattered over the metropolis. Due to spatial fragmentation within the built environment, diverse socio-economic and fragile geo-ecological conditions in different settlements and the city as a whole, Jakarta needs to adopt a decentralised approach to wastewater management. This article examines governmental dynamics in Jakarta and analyses a sanitation project to introduce improved septic tanks and community sludge-hauling enterprises. The presence of (international) NGOs and civil society organisations is often vital to help communities enrich their technical knowledge of environmental problems and expand their sociopolitical networks. Nevertheless, local initiatives provide a limited response to community sanitation needs and sanitation problems beyond the neighbourhood level. This article argues that the introduction of decentralised sanitation systems requires a new form of state-led infrastructure provision, which involves the (transformative) participation of local actors. In doing so, it extends the notion of decentralised wastewater management beyond purely technological concerns.

Putri, P. (2017). Integrated at the neighbourhood level: a decentralised approach to water management. Trialog, Zeitschrift für das Planen und Bauen im globalen Kontext, No.126/127, 35-42.


Cities in the Global South are generally vast due to urban sprawl. They are characterised by a varying level of density, and enclaves of informal settlements. Within this context, this article addresses the limits of large-scale and centralised water systems. It seeks to understand, qualitatively, to what extent the decentralised approach to water management has been adopted within the current development practises in the Southeast Asia region. The case studies in Jakarta, Indonesia, and Soc Trang, Viet Nam, show that by “scaling down” the development interventions, the socio-spatial characteristics of local communities can be accommodated. Smaller-scale development intervention also means stimulating creativity in planning and policy-making processes to address water-infrastructure needs at local levels and opens possibilities for integrating water-infrastructures with public space. Such a decentralised approach matters to improve the overall socio-spatial quality of a neighbourhood, however it requires, in parallel, new institutional mechanisms to provide a coherent water and environmental management system at the urban level. This article argues for a synergy of two axes: the water sector as a crucial development sector, and the neighbourhood as a vital scalar dimension. This synergy is a strategic step to improve the overall quality of urban life.

Putri, P. (2015). The Seedbeds of Active Citizenship? Community Gardens in Kampung Tugu Selatan, Jakarta – A Research Note. Pacific Geographies, 44 (July/August ).

Kampung Tugu Selatan, Jakarta

Putri, P. (2010). Seeking Creative Collaborations for a Sustainable City. Giving Way to Water. In A. R. Soemardi, A. S. Wibowo, R. D. Damajani & R. Voragen (Eds.), Artepolis 3. Creative Collaboration and the Making of Place: Learning from Shared Creative Experience (Conference Proceeding) (Vol. 2, pp. 831-840). Bandung.


This paper focuses on the Indonesian urban sanitation sector by placing it within the wider urban infrastructure sector and spatial system. In this paper, ‘sanitation’ is limited as domestic wastewater collection and treatment. Through our understanding that the sanitation sector and its problematic are interdependent with other infrastructure networks within urban spatial development, we will not see the problems as merely technical ones, e.g. lacking of finance, management capacity and technological solutions. This paper aims to 1) show that unevenness of wastewater infrastructure development is rooted in uneven spatial development; 2) show that defining ‘sustainable city’ as a future path for planning our urban environment necessitates more attention to the sanitation sector with its economical, social and ecological aspects; 3) seek a framework for identifying creative collaborations that can inform policy making in Indonesian water and sanitation sector.

Putri, P., & Sari, A. (2010). Jakarta Waterscape: From Structuring Water to 21st Century Hybrid Nature? Nakhara, Journal of Environment and Design, 6, 59-74.


This paper explores how changing conceptions of human-environment relationships have been materialized within Jakarta, Indonesia’s planning and development practices and how these practices have contributed to shaping today’s problematic waterscape. By refusing the modern binary opposition of nature-culture and arguing that our city is a hybrid human-nonhuman nature, this paper shows that there have to be socio-technological solutions for the water sector’s current problems. We center our chain of explanations on flooding without neglecting the fact that flooding is related to other water issues and broader issues of uneven spatial development. Hence, tackling the calamities of flooding has to be situated within the whole water sector framework and spatial planning processes.

Chapters in collective volumes

Putri, P. (2019). PUSH in the Kampung: Social innovation in the Global South. In P. Van den Broeck, A. Mehmood, A. Paidakaki & C. Parra (Eds.), Social Innovation as Political Transformation: Thoughts for a Better World (pp. 162-164). Cheltenham: Edward Elgar Publishing.

Septic Tank Installation in Kampung Kojan

Putri, P. (2018). Strategic Integration of Water Management within Spatial Planning: A view from Karachi and Jakarta. In U. Altrock, D. Kurth, R. Kunze, H. Schmidt & G. Schmitt (Eds.), Quartiersentwicklung im globalen Süden : Jahrbuch Stadterneuerung (pp. 309-326). Wiesbaden: Springer VS.


Coastal cities of the Global South are subject to increased socio-demographic and environmental pressures. Given the limitations of land-use zoning to guide spatial development in both the Global North and South contexts (see Albrechts 2004, Voogd 2006, Steinberg 2007, Woltjer and Al 2007, Silver 2008, Salet and Woltjer 2009), this chapter argues that water management could provide a strategic focus for spatial development. It particularly features wastewater management that, as a component of the sanitation sector, is crucial for eradicating poverty and improving the socio-economic productivity of households (Allen et al. 2006, Whittington et al. 2012), as well as for tackling wider urban problems such as flooding and deteriorating water resources.

Putri, P. (2017). Moulding Citizenship: Urban Water and the (Dis)Appearing Kampungs. In S. Bell, A. Allen, P. Hofmann & T.-H. Teh (Eds.), Urban Water Trajectories (pp. 193-207). Switzerland: Springer.


The multifaceted territorial character of managing water and land reveals the highly contested notion of citizenship as there were continuous processes of service inclusion and exclusion within complex interactions among different state institutions, the private sector and communities. While the twentieth century colonial government addressed water and sanitation issues as part of modernity projects, urban kampung communities simultaneously used diverse socio-ecological networks to meet their water and sanitation needs. However, their strategies did not always comply with the modern sanitation standards idealised by the colonial state. The existence of Batavia’s kampungs preceding and following the inception of modern planning system reflects their capability of undergoing socio-spatial transformations within the contexts of limited state intervention on the provision of basic services and under the condition of unequal spatial development processes. The kampung dynamics seem to call into question the existing form of state-led management systems in providing water and sanitation services. The systems pretty much favour the marketisation agenda at the operational level, while keep idealising universal access to services at the discursive level despite the exclusionary nature of infrastructure planning. The persistence of kampungs has likely proven their socio-ecological relevance, and potentially forms the foundation of an alternative paradigm of citizenship for an improved governance system in the urban water sector.

Research Monographs

Putri, P. (2014). Black Water – Grey Settlements. Domestic Wastewater management and the Socio-ecological Dynamics of Jakarta’s Kampungs. Doctoral thesis, Faculty of Engineering Science, Department of Architecture. Leuven: KU Leuven, Science Engineering and Technology. ISBN 978-94-6018-892-3.

Kampung Kojan, Jakarta Barat

Putri, P. (2008). Reclaiming Waterways for Urban Regeneration – Testing an Urban Design Model of Water Management Strategy on Cikapundung River Basin, Bandung, Indonesia. KU Leuven, Master Thesis, supervised by Kelly Shannon and Bruno De Meulder.

Tamansari, Bandung

Special issue

Savirani, A., & Putri, P. (2020). Social Movements and the Materiality of Governance: Conditions and Effects of Struggles over Land, Water, and Livelihood: Introduction to Special Issue. Power, Conflict and Democracy, 8(1), i-vi

This special issue follows a scholar-activist workshop that was conducted in Yogyakarta in November 2018. Born of collaboration between the Research Centre for Politics and Government (PolGov), Department of Politics, Gadjah Mada University, and the Global Development Section, Department of Food and Resource Economics, University of Copenhagen, the workshop benefitted from the ERC-funded project “State Formation through the Local Production of Property and Citizenship” led by Prof. Christian Lund, University of Copenhagen. Scholars and activists working on social-environmental conflicts in North Sumatera, Java, and Nusa Tenggara attended the workshop, shared their experiences, and reflected on the themes and sectors in which they were involved. They represented a range of development issues, including the conflicts that emerge from contested land ownership, destructive extractive industries, limited access to affordable housing, privatization of water and water infrastructures, and the marginalisation of community food and livelihood provision systems. They also represented various forms of social movement and collective action, with diverse interactions between subjects who are promoting particular institutional settings. During the workshop, it was revealed that each form of social movement stems from a specific sectoral field, locality/spatiality, and history. While contributing conceptual understandings of social movements and the materiality of governance, the workshop also had some more pragmatic aims. It sought to map diverse social movements and link them with each other while simultaneously initiating collaboration between activists and academic networks. Participants learned about the necessity of bridging scholars and activists as part of participatory research and action research.

Book reviews, conference paper and popular publications

Putri, P. (2019). The Forgotten Water: The Role of Decentralised Wastewater Management in Jakarta’s Socio-Ecological System.

Jakarta has responded to regular flooding by proposing gigantic infrastructure projects such as sea walls to keep the water at bay. But the main problem is that the city does not consider the land-water ecosystem as a whole, says Prathiwi W. Putri.

Putri, P. (2018). Ash Amin and Nigel Thrift 2017: Seeing Like a City: Cambridge and Malden, MA: Polity Press. International Journal of Urban and Regional Research, 42(2), 359-361.

Putri, P. (2011). Global Water Governance and the (Re)Production of Urban Environment. Paper presented in the World Planning School Congress Perth, 4-7 July 2011 ‘Planning’s Future – Futures Planning. Planning in an Era of Global (Un)certainty and Transformation’ 


It has been proved that several pilot projects and small scale interventions in the Indonesian water and sanitation sector have potentials to influence the national policy making process. This paper recognised that the small scale interventions to some extent are able to reveal the sanitation needs of the marginalised people. This paper shows, however, that decision making processes at each level of governance involve several power relations; hence, they are not free from conflicts. The interplays between several power relations include the productions and (re)articulations of several different discourses that might be complementary or contradictory.

Several popular essays on cities in Indonesian newspapers, ca. 800-1000 words (in 2003-2005)

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