Reading political insinuation in urban forms: saving the sinking Jakarta through giant sea wall project

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This research examines the Giant Sea Wall project in Jakarta and how it symbolizes new postcolonial identity for Indonesia. As political insinuation in architecture and urban design is a common practice in postcolonial cities, power and legitimacy are shown through urban built forms. Considering that Jakarta has been constantly flooded, several attempts were installed, for instance building dikes along the coastline and making the east-west canals. However, this cannot stop the sea flood, as the severe land subsidence in the northern part of Jakarta grows rapidly. Giant Sea Wall aimed to protect the city from the flood later was transformed as a new symbol for Indonesia. However, as the project continues, the Indonesian politicians have asked the Dutch counterparts to redesign the Giant Sea Wall. The new design is no longer perceived as only the wall with small reclamation land, but rather as a new city shaped as Giant Garuda spreading from the east to the west part of Jakarta. The new postcolonial icon ironically was designed by the former colonial ruler. The research will explore the design and symbolism of the Giant Sea Wall project in order to understand the practices of urban design in the postcolonial city.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)56-65
Number of pages10
JournalGeographia Technica
Issue numberSI
Publication statusPublished - 2019
Externally publishedYes


  • Politics in architecture
  • Post colonialism
  • Southeast asian study
  • Urban design

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