Theses Master's

The Land-Water Nexus in a Sinking City: The Case of Jakarta

Marianne, Priska

Coastal cities around the world are increasingly facing inundation hazards as urban expansion and population growth change hydrologic systems in the floodplains and compounding impacts of climate events accelerate and exacerbate these risks. The land and water dynamics in these shifting landscapes intersect with biophysical and sociopolitical dimensions that shape uneven flood vulnerability. This thesis explores the ways in which differential vulnerability to floods in Jakarta has been produced since the colonial rule and reproduced throughout major urban development phases in postcolonial Jakarta.

Applying the framework of political ecology, this thesis investigates the three interconnected elements that are at play in the production of uneven flood risks: (i) the changes in land cover associated with rapid urbanization, (ii) the constant need to make room for water, and (iii) the inclination to turn to engineering solutions that are not context specific during moments of crisis.

With the analysis of remotely-sensed data, this thesis explores a method to detect land cover change and their implications for modifying urban hydrology. Using two case studies of flood mitigation infrastructure, this thesis examines the ways Jakarta have navigated the tension between making room for water and maintaining space for people. It further introduces the concept of co-production in developing solutions to flood mitigation and climate adaptation actions, in the context of existing unequal power relations and the North-South divide. Finally, this thesis puts forward the importance of understanding and challenging the colonial legacy of fragmented water infrastructure and the ways they shape the production of uneven flood vulnerability and perpetuate socio-spatial segmentation in Jakarta.

Geographic Areas


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More About This Work

Academic Units
Urban Planning
Thesis Advisors
Bou Akar, Hiba
M.S., Columbia University
Published Here
July 12, 2021