Yogyakarta Special Province is a small region. It only consists of 4 kabupatens and 1 municipality. Yogyakarta’s urbanized areas are located in the middle part of Yogyakarta Special Province and consist of 2 kabupaten (Sleman and Bantul) and the city of Yogyakarta. This area is fertile land and highly populated. This area becomes wider and wider. Due to population growth, urbanization and development, land use in the peri-urban area has changed rapidly. A lot of agricultural land has changed to settlement areas. Land ownership of farmers has changed, in 1990 an average farmer had less than 0.26 hectares. Like other cities in developing countries, Yogyakarta’s urbanized area also has a common problem that is urban fringe unstructured growth and encroachment of agricultural land adjacent to the city, congested traffic in downtown areas (Malioboro Areas) and their surroundings with increasing traffic accidents, air pollution, etc. Rapid land conversion (from agricultural to urbanized areas) reduced agricultural production and live stock farming in the peri urban areas.
Before 2001, Regional Planning was conducted “top down, hierarchical”. Most major urban development activities were concentrated in big cities (Jakarta, Surabaya, Medan etc). The planning mechanism in the Indonesian Planning Act (law no. 24/1992) was not in touch with fair treatment of the land owner. As far as the planning aspect was concerned, the planning document has never been laid open to the citizens. In some cities the plan that should be considered open to the public is very difficult to see. As a result people then disobey to the already stipulated plan.
After 2001, decentralization was established as a principle of the government policy in Indonesia. Regional Planning has been implemented as a “concensus-based” cooperation among local governments. Along with the decentralization of central power and funds, more and more cities are experiencing rapid urban development, including Yogyakarta surroundings.
The Government of Yogyakarta Special Province made a cooperation with the Governments of Sleman, Bantul and Yogyakarta City, to make such a participatory development plan based on information and aspiration from the citizens in urban and peri-urban areas. The goal is to make regional land use spatial planning discourage land development connecting small towns from becoming a big metropolitan conurbation. The intended urban development should be spread out throughout the region resulting in many small towns rather than in one big metropolitan conurbation. Thus the fertile and ecologically sensitive land (in the middle part of the region) could be better protected against disorganized rapid conversion. The strategy is to develop small and medium enterprises in the peri-urban area in order to spread out urban activity (urban activity distribution) into the region and to develop urban agriculture in order to reduce urban densities.