After the regional autonomy period in Indonesia, the management of urban heritage does not depend merely on the legislation and policy at national level any longer but also on decision-making at local level. This legal basis has empowered the local authority to have more power and legitimacy to plan and manage the urban heritage of the city.
Urban conservation policy in Surakarta demonstrates how the mayor as the local authority leader has an indispensable role. He has the vision that the development of Solo as a city should be returned to its cultural roots and originated towards the strengthening of its cultural identity, which is reflected by the city's slogan: ‘Solo's future is Solo's past'. He has a strong commitment to conserve urban heritage through rehabilitation of several historic urban spaces. In conducting these measures, his efforts have been favored by his sensitivity for local culture and cultural issues. Solo's urban conservation policy has become a great success, while also the relocation of street vendors that were occupying the historic areas happened without any considerable conflicts.
By learning from the new trend in other countries, Solo's mayor also aims to promote heritage tourism in Solo through the development of MICE (Meetings, Incentives, Conference and Expo) tourism. Worldwide this kind of tourism has become such a great business that it has become a global industry. Solo's success in organizing an international conference as well as an expo of the Euro-Asia World Heritage Cities in October 2008, provides a crucial basis to develop this type of tourism.
Efforts, undertaken by the city were acknowledged by several awards from various institutions. Under the mayor's direction, Solo is on the right track towards an integrated urban development and conservation in order to be not only a better place to live for its residents but also an attractive place to visit for tourists. However, despite the accomplishment, some problems still persist, including local poor community awareness, lacking private sector initiatives, and limited financial resources for heritage conservation.
This presentation is intended to look at how Solo as a historic town has made a great effort to conserve its urban heritage. It examines how the political view and commitment of a local authority leader strongly determines the policy on urban heritage management and its implementation. It tries to identify what has been done and what has not, as well as the city's challenges and opportunities in urban heritage conservation and management.
Mrs. Putu Ayu Agustiananda
Department of Architecture
Islamic University of Indonesia