Strengthening Urban Community Coherence Through Participatory Planning: Lesson Learned From Yogyakarta Municipality, Indonesia

Conflicts between government and citizens have been common in the last decade of the Indonesian development processes. The government position in the development process was very dominant and there was no participatory approach or involvement of stakeholders in any city planning and government process.
In consequence the citizens don't have any sense of belonging or responsibility and no awareness of their potential as one of the urban drivers.
On the other hand, social coherence is very well known in the Yogyanese culture, and "Gotong Royong" (working together) characterized the historical daily life of the people and is a very highly valuated tradition. In the modern days the Gotong Royong value is getting dim and left behind, especially in the urban communities.
Against this background the current Indonesian government nevertheless is aware that people's involvement is essential for a new democratic development process. Accordingly, Yogyakarta Municipality has imposed a new mechanism by giving a chance to the people to participate in planning processes. The mechanisms of participatory process that were applied are summarized by the term "Jaring Asmara" (penjaringan aspirasi masyarakat = collecting people's aspiration). This new approach is very specific and differs from the general National Development Planning System Acts (Act Number 25 year 2004) where participatory planning is only conducted through a discussion forum (Musrenbang). In Yogyakarta Municipality the participatory approach includes various activities and instruments on different levels, e.g. interviews, TV and radio conferences, service information teams and complaint units as well as hearings and Mayor visits. This mechanism enables structural coherence within urban communities, the development process is strengthened and development becomes more effective.

Dra. Wadjarni Prasadjati Rasdan
Secretary of Regional Development Planning Board of Yogyakarta City
Kenari No. 56 Yogyakarta City - Indonesia, e-mail:

Rini Rachmawati
Faculty of Geography, Gadjah Mada University, Indonesia, Bulaksumur G-7,Yogyakarta 55281, Indonesia
Tel.: +62 (0) 274 902340, Fax: +62 (0) 274 589595, e-mail:,