ISRF Collaborative Fellows 2023
ISRF Collaborative Fellows 2023
Angelika Fortuna (left) is a Program Officer at International NGO Forum on Indonesian Development (INFID). She currently works with international development agencies such as the Ford Foundation, USAID, GIZ and others to support developmental projects in Indonesia. She obtained a Bachelor’s Degree in Urban Planning from Tarumanagara University in Jakarta and a Master’s Degree in Socio-spatial Planning from the University of Groningen. She is also part of the SEED group at Informal Urbanism Research Hub (InfUr), University of Melbourne.
She does research and program management by combining Qualitative Methodology and Geographic Information Systems (GIS) to foster knowledge in urban resilience, its socio-environmental entanglements and historical processes featuring case studies in Jakarta and beyond. With MPIWG, her current research examines the discourse of resilience within the issue of severe land subsidence in North Jakarta. It traces the historical knowledge formation in infrastructural resilience by analyzing the Dutch flooding approach in Batavia (colonial city of Jakarta) developed in the 18th-19th century. This research then calls to both socio-historical and resilience perspectives against the sinking, whilst questioning the efficacy of Western centric paradigm towards disaster resilience and its manifestation in both colonial and postcolonial context of Jakarta as one of the world’s fastest-sinking coastal cities.
Dewi Tan (right) studied Anthropology and Environmental Science at the Yale School of Environment, obtaining her MESc in 2019 with a focus on urban inequality, modernity, speculative urbanism, and water-related disasters in Indonesia. Her current research focuses on examining the discourses of the sinking crisis in Jakarta, and the urban politics behind various socio-historical and infrastructure approaches of resilience. Dewi currently works at the Ambasz Institute at MoMA overseeing the research and public programs dedicated to advancing the relationship between the built and natural environment, and at YABB, the GoTo Group Impact Foundation to develop their sustainability and climate resilience programs. As a filmmaker, she is interested in complementing academic research with visual media in hopes of engaging with a wider audience through “multilingual” dialogue across various interrelated mediums. Her recent short film on Bantar Gebang, the largest landfill in Southeast Asia screened at DOC NYC and Jakarta Film Week in 2022. She is currently developing her first narrative feature with themes related to modernity, shopping malls, and urban development.
In the last decade, Northern Jakarta sank a staggering 2.5 meters, earning notoriety as the world’s most rapidly sinking city. Many researchers have projected that 90 percent of the coastal area will have subsided below sea level by 2030 or in another scenario by 2050. Anthropogenic factors such as rapid urbanization—with booming economic activity and expanding built-up areas—exacerbate the issue by accelerating subsidence at an unprecedented rate. Responding to this situation, discourses of resilience have arisen in policymaking and the public sphere. At the same time, the issue of subsidence has been approached as a flooding issue, which oversimplifies efforts to mitigate the sinking crisis.
This research project begins by examining these resilience discourses from the perspectives of urban development and environmental anthropology, taking into account how key stakeholders—such as the government, building sector, media, and vulnerable communities—situate their resilience in the face of the alarming subsidence rate. We highlight how present-day flooding infrastructure to combat the city’s sinking correlates with Dutch technocratic interventions imposed during colonialism in Batavia (Jakarta). We trace the historical legacy of knowledge formation in resilience that is embedded within flood-management infrastructures, ranging from canalization to the fragmentation in Batavia’s water supply system implemented by colonial administrators in the eighteenth and nineteenth century. By analyzing resilience discourses in flood-related approaches to subsidence through archival material, interviews, fieldwork, and Geographic Information System (GIS) mapping, we call into question both sociohistorical and resilience efforts amid an invisible yet complex disaster in the making.