Urban Activism in Yogyakarta, Indonesia: Deprived and Discontented Citizens Demanding a More Just City

  • Sonia RoitmanEmail author
Part of the The Contemporary City book series (TCONTCI)


Community engagement and urban activism have become significant in Indonesia over the last two decades. This has changed how citizens express their demands. This is encouraged by the government since Reformasi but it is also the result of growing frustrations with inequalities in the city. This article analyses the activism of two urban groups in Yogyakarta (Indonesia) and examines the similarities and differences between them. One group comprises ‘deprived’ citizens who live in informal settlements, whereas the other is made up of a diverse group of ‘discontented’ citizens who feel their right to the city is undermined. These groups aspire to a more just city through collective action, though their origins and strategies differ.


Discontented Deprived Exclusion Yogyakarta Indonesia 



I am deeply grateful to the interviewees who shared their views and experiences with me. Without their generous time and willingness to talk about their activities, this article would not be possible. Although this article expresses different views and perceptions, it remains my total responsibility as the author. My thanks also to Jason MacLeod, Shehana Gomez and the book editors who provided helpful comments on the drafts of this article.

This chapter is based on data collected for two research projects funded by The University of Queensland: ‘Urban governance and housing policies in Indonesia’, Sonia Roitman (Chief Investigator), UQ New Staff Grant (2013–2015) and ‘How can gated communities contribute to the public good and improve the living conditions of poor residents? Gated communities and inequality in Indonesia’, Sonia Roitman (Chief Investigator), UQECR Scheme Grant (2016–2018).


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Copyright information

© The Author(s) 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.The University of QueenslandSt LuciaAustralia

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