Towards Civil Society in Yogyakarta, Indonesia

The vision of development aimed to be achieved in the Special District of Yogyakarta Province in the upcoming 25 years is to become a city of education, culture and the foremost tourism destination of South East Asia in the environment of an advanced, autonomous and affluent society. The definition of advanced society is a society which is economically prosperous, supported by a high degree of knowledge, wisdom, and health; having a stable political and judicial system and setting; having its rights, safety and reassurance guaranteed; and participating in the development of every sectors, supported by good and comprehensive infrastructures. An autonomous society is a society which is capable of realizing an equal and fair living compared to other advanced societies and nations by relying on self capability and strength. The autonomy of a society is reflected in the provision of qualified human resources that are able to meet the needs and progress of development. An affluent society is a society whose needs, both spiritual and material, are fulfilled properly in accordance to its role in life.
Yogyakarta as the only administrative city in the Special District of Yogyakarta Province experiences the most advanced development compared to other regions, characterized by a higher degree of education, economy and welfare. Similar to other big cities, Yogyakarta also faces an issue related to its settlement structure. Two examples of this, i.e. the settlement alongside the banks of Code and Gajahwong Rivers, show that a society, supported by the government, academics and other stakeholders succeeds to manage the environment and autonomously continue the development in the areas. These examples are referred to as the best practice to become a self-reliant society in an urban area.
The case of Code River bank shows a success in managing the settlement environment from slum to neat. The past condition alongside the Code River was very bad. The inhabitants did not have access to the land and, therefore, illegally settled alongside the river. Most of the people had low income and did not have a good educational background. This brought negative consequences to the environment, such as misbehavior in waste management, they threw away waste into the river. Their preference in using the river as waste dump caused the annual flood during the rainy season. Since 1980s, initiations to manage this area have been done by the government, academics, NGOs and the community through the "Settlement Improvement Program". One of the programs is constructing a dike along the River followed by changing housing sites facing the river. Now, they have a better treatment of waste and sewage as well as greening of the environment, supported by government funding. The community of the northern part of Code River is a good role model. Supported by a community leader with a wider knowledge, academics and government, they improved the environment. The case of Gajahwong River shows that the autonomy and creativity of a society brings in the management of a clean and harmonious environment with a value-added point of turning the river bank into a tourism object. People of the area received the best award for the environmental cleanliness and beauty from the city mayor. The area is often as the research subject for other regions and foreign countries. The local government gives the motivation that a river is not a waste dump and, in doing so, people are encouraged to build their houses facing the river. Some programs initiated by the government such as the provision of waste baskets, sewage recycling installations and gardening, are considered very supportive. From both cases, it can be learnt that in order to achieve a civil society, there is a fundamental need of society awareness, academics participation and appropriate support programs from the government as well as the other stakeholders.
From the city government side, the concept of management squatter settlements in Yogyakarta city is build without abolish, through keeping the settlements clean, well spaced, healthy and homey, since an ideal city comes from an ideal settlement. The government of Yogyakarta puts an effort to arrange the riverside areas such as those at Code and Gajahwong Rivers in order to make them cleaner. This settlement management is even put on the General Plan and Policy of Yogyakarta which involves all components of the society. Some activities to support this program are the communal sewage recycling installation, block grant to the Community Empowerment Institution, stimulant aids for the establishment and rehabilitation of bathrooms/toilets, or house-flooring programs, infrastructures for sanitation of self-recycling waste. In 2005 and 2006, Yogyakarta received the Ciptakarya award from the Ministry of Public Works for its achievement in the internationally best slum settlement management.

Rini Rachmawati
Regional Development Study Program, Fac. of Geography,
Gadjah Mada University

Tri Retnani
Social Economic and Culture Planning Division, Regional Development Planning Board,
Yogyakarta Municipality

Totok Pratopo
Community of Code River Area, Yogyakarta