Spontaneous Privatization of Public Urban Land
This chapter analyzes struggles over urban space in Bandung, a city of some two-and-a-half million inhabitants. It focuses on a particular piece of land, a strip alongside a now inoperative railway line. As infrastructure, it falls within the ambit of government spatial control. Yet the area has become a settlement for ordinary people through an intricate combination of claims. The selection of this urban setting is not a claim that spontaneous privatization is generalized in Indonesia, in its urban areas, or even in Bandung. Instead, it is an example of how privatization can take place even where one would suppose that government control over space is rather strong. If privatization dynamics nonetheless unfold under the nose of government, these are dynamics worth studying in many other places. The chapter then presents a brief outline of the history of informal, unplanned urban settlement in Java.
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