Sociocultural and spatial factors in river-edge relationships: A comparative case study of rivers in Indonesian cities

Research output: Contribution to conferenceAbstractpeer-review


This paper describes a comparative analysis of qualitative aspects of river improvement in Indonesia in order to make recommendations for the design of river-edge relationships in cities. While the poor condition of rivers in these cities—as result of decades of immense demographic and economic growth—has long been of concern, there has been limited documentation and comparison of river improvement projects specific to socio-spatial factors. There is an increasing need for practical examples of such work to support policy-making, design and implementation. For this purpose, the research employed fieldwork to collect material evidence of the spatial reconfiguration of river edges along four urbanised rivers, namely: The Code and Winongo (Yogyakarta); the Cikapundung (Bandung); and the Bengawan Solo (Surakarta). Building from architectural and social science approaches, a conceptual and methodological framework for evaluating improved riverfronts was developed. These cases were examined using schematic drawings and then classified based on aspects of the physical environment shaping the river-edge relationship. The literature reveals that the urban improvement norm in Indonesia has focused on the delivery of individual solutions, such as infrastructure and housing. However, the case studies examined have illustrated the potential of projects centred on neighbourhoods and the local scale to have positive environmental impacts. This work will benefit those attempting to review and learn from locally derived river improvement projects, and as such is broadly significant to designers and policy-makers working with rivers in Southeast Asia.
Original languageEnglish
Publication statusPublished - 12 Dec 2017
EventRiver Cities 2017: Water Space in Urban Development and History - Airlangga University, Surabaya, Indonesia
Duration: 11 Dec 201712 Dec 2017


ConferenceRiver Cities 2017
Internet address


  • river cities
  • sociocultural perspective
  • landscape architecture
  • informal settlement
  • pollution
  • environment and behaviour

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