Planning the Megacity: Jakarta in the Twentieth Century, 1st Edition (Paperback) book cover

Planning the Megacity

Jakarta in the Twentieth Century, 1st Edition

By Christopher Silver


254 pages

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Planning the Megacity examines the dramatic transformation of Jakarta over the past century. In 1900, the colonial capital of the Netherland Indies, then known as Batavia, was a compact city of approximately 150,000 inhabitants. During the next hundred years, but especially after 1950, it was transformed into the sprawling ‘megacity’ of more than 9 million in an urbanized region that boasted nearly 18 million by 2000.

How this metamorphosis took place and what it meant for the life of Jakartans are questions central to the story of the city, as is the role of both local and national leaders in the control and manipulation of processes of growth. As Christopher Silver reveals, Jakarta’s place as Indonesia’s most prestigious city, and its capital city, subjected it to conflicting approaches to planning, and placed its development within the vortex of national development. He reveals how colonialism, the struggle for independence and for improving the national condition, together with aspirations for economic modernization, contributed to the distinctive character of Southeast Asia’s largest metropolitan area.


'I have no doubt that this carefully researched study contributes to the literature of international planning and planning history. Anyone with a scholarly interest in the history of planning in Jakarta should read this book; it can also serve as an excellent source of information in graduate and undergraduate courses that focus on international planning, particularly in the Southeast Asia region. It can also be a very useful reference for planners conducting projects in Jakarta. In sum, I fully agree with Silver that ‘[planning in Jakarta] is a history worth understanding and worth telling’. - Deden Rukmana, Journal of the American Planning Association

'A helpful book. It offers a comprehensive account that invites reflection on how planning has worked for power and how it could become a device for challenging this power in one of the world's largest cities.' - Abidin Kusno, CAA Reviews

"Planning the Megacity is an outstanding book, comprehensive in its treatment of its topic, rich in detail and insight and well-written in an accessible and lively style. It is highly recommended."— Stephen Hamnett, university of South Australia

Table of Contents

Introduction 1. Understanding Urbanization and the Megacity in Southeast Asia 2. Fashioning the Colonial Capital City, 1900–1940 3. Plans for the Modern Metropolis, 1950–1970s 4. Planning For Housing, Neighbourhoods and Urban Revitalization 5. Expansion, Revitalization and the Restructuring of Metropolitan Jakarta, the 1970s to the early 1990s 6. Urban Village to World City: Re-Planning Jakarta in the 1990s 7. Planning in the New Democratic Megacity

About the Author

Christopher Silver is Dean of the College of Design, Construction and Planning and Professor in the Department of Urban and Regional Planning at the University of Florida, Gainesville.

About the Series

Planning, History and Environment Series

This series offers a unique window on the creation of the modern environment. Designed for an international readership, the emphasis is on:

  • urban and regional planning
  • recent as well as longer-term history
  • what the past can tell us about the present
  • local as well as global and comparative topics

Within this framework the books address three themes:

  • regional, continental and comparative studies
  • planning histories of key cities
  • changing planning ideologies and policies


Learn more…

Subject Categories

BISAC Subject Codes/Headings:
ARCHITECTURE / Urban & Land Use Planning
SOCIAL SCIENCE / Sociology / Urban
SOCIAL SCIENCE / Developing Countries