City and regional planning graduate students Sarah Dougherty, Adna Karabegovic and Anne Pease, all MRP ’16, traveled to Surabaya, Indonesia in December to participate in the third annual Urban Social Forum (USF) and conduct research for individual projects with residents in various areas of Java.
The USF is an annual conference aimed at promoting awareness of urban issues, improving understanding of current practices and promoting collaboration. It provides an opportunity for participants to debate ideas, exchange experiences and knowledge, and meet and network with other leaders and organizations working on pressing urban issues throughout Indonesia.
“We saw the new leaders of social change at the USF,” Pease says. “It’s not the same generation as the people who had to take to the streets to advocate for change – these are young people, academics and government officials collaborating to share ideas. We heard people talking about using new technology to improve waste collection, urban activists encouraging bike commuting, and gender advocates discussing targeted strategies to increase female participation.”
Dougherty and Karabegovic were part of the participatory budgeting panel, where they presented “The Advocacy Planning Guide,” a project originally created for the International Development Planning Workshop at Cornell. The presentation focused on the opportunities within Indonesia for collaborative planning.
After attending the conference, Dougherty traveled along the coast to Semarang, and then to Surakarta (Solo) and Yogyakarta in central Java to conduct research for her exit project, focusing on gender dimensions in climate change processes. The project furthers research begun over the summer with Yayasan Kota Kita (YKK), a nongovernmental organization.
Pease and Karabegovic went to Solo and presented findings from previous workshops to community leaders. Their report included key findings regarding security and shelter, sanitation and community participation. The pair also conducted new research, interviewing leaders in the communities they worked in previously to gain a better understanding of the participatory budgeting process known as musrenbang.
This semester, Pease and Karabegovic are pursuing an independent project in collaboration with YKK that examines the participatory budgeting process in Solo. They hope their findings will aid the city of Surakarta as well as civil society organizations in making the musrenbang process more efficient.
The three students received funding support from the Southeast Asia Program for the research trip and their conference participation.
Rebecca Bowes is assistant director of communications at the College of Architecture, Art and Planning.