Urbanization VS Food Security

Surakarta City is a cultural city located in Central Java Province, Indonesia. Solo City is a city with a mixture of heritage, tourism and commercial activities. These days this city is famous among urban studies practitioners with its green planning and development. Tourism and commercial activities in Solo have attracted not only foreign and domestic investments but also migrants. Migrants have pushed the development toward peri-urban area and, once again, availability of land and houses become the main reason.

Peri-urban area of Solo City consists of some districts, i.e. Sukoharjo District, Sragen District, Karanganyar District, and Boyolali District. Colomadu Sub district is one of Solo peri-urban which is located in the northern part of Solo City. In term of land use characteristic, formerly this area is dominated by agriculture land that produces rice, corn and sugar cane, but currently the number of agriculture land decrease continuously. It occurs due to the development of residential estate and settlement. The number has been decreasing continuously. Today, there is only 519.9 ha farm land left compare while 895.9 ha for residential uses and the number keep increasing. Strategic location, supported by good infrastructure and accessibility, has a crucial effect on the transformation of this sub district. As the main access to the Adisumarmo International Airport, Colomadu appeared as a gold land for many developers and investors. High movement from and toward Adi Sumarmo airport has not only triggered tremendous development of residential and settlement but also commercial activities alongside Adisucipto and Adi Sumarmo Street. It will be even greater when the development of Semarang – Solo and Solo – Kertosono toll road are finish and start to be occupied. In the development planning of the highway, the entrance and exit gate will be located in this sub district specifically in Klodran and Ngasem Village. Colomadu is going to be developed into a big interchange area of Joglo Semar and East Java Province movement. It can be assumed that in the future Colomadu probably is going to be develop as a new core city like Kartasura and Solo Baru though today it more looks like a dormitory city. It is because Colomadu is mostly used as residential area instead of economic activites with residential area rather than other economic activities. However, commercial and services activities have been growing rapidly.

In this essay i would like to discuss about how urbanization has been exploited our farmland in Colomadu. Planning document has been set aside as the need of houses become bigger. As an inhabitant of a particular city we should participated on our preserved our farmland by respect on the development planning and regulation.

Land Conversion Treaten Food Security

Colomadu Sub district is not the only one and the most developed peri-urban area of Solo City. Solo Baru and Kartasura, which are part of Sukoharjo District, are two most urbanized area around Solo City. Both of them are highly developed compared to Colomadu. Solo Baru and Kartasura are dominated by commercial activities but Colomadu development dominated by residential area. Based on the sub district planning document (RDTR 2013), Colomadu is planned to be a residential sub district. On the other hand, the development in Colomadu is still carried on although RDTR planning document stated that 520 Ha farm land in this sub district are categorized as preserved land (LP2B). How is it possible a preserved land planned to be residential development area?

The invasion of residential estate by private developer had been causing not only environmental and land use transformation but also social economic transformation. The number of farmer keeps decreasing day by day. The questionnaire data result shows that there is 80% economic transformation from farm to nonfarm activities with only 3% farmer left from total number of respondents in Colomadu. Farmers tends to shift to urban activities like industrial labor, construction worker, and trader rather than manage their farm land. Farmers, face many difficulties in managing their farm land today as the result of residential and commercial development. One of the farmers in Gawanan Village said that the water is getting difficult to be found because the garbage blocks the drainage. As the nearest urbanize area, Solo City seems to have the biggest role in Colomadu transformation and development. Here is the evidence of land use transformation in Colomadu Sub-district.


Land Use 1990 2003 2006 2011 2013
Wet Land 840.3 716.6 547.6 520 486.6
Built-up 583.3 767.6 865.9 895.9 931.3
Farm 81.9 60.6 67.8 65.4 65.4
Savana 0.32 0 0 0 0
Pond 2.9 2.5 2.7 2.7 2.7
Forestry 0 0 0 0 0
Plantation 4.7 4.6 0 0 0
Others 50.6 82 80.2 86.8 80.2

Sources: BPS OF KARANGANYAR DISTRICT,1990, 2003, 2006, 2011, AND 2013

Compared to the 1990’s, the land characteristics and uses in the 2000’s have been transforming as the result of urbanization and exploitation of settlement. The domination has completely shifted from wet land to built-up area. Today, the land has urban characteristic rather than rural. The plantation use has completely gone just like savanna in 2003’s data. Then, when it is compared to Karanganyar land use data, the statistic shows the real tendency of development compared to other sub-districts. As one of two sub-districts having more built-up use than farm land, Colomadu is quite dense. It was the densest sub-district in Karangayar as proven by population number statistical data in 2012.

Today, the government of Karanganyar District has been managing the development of houses and settlement by giving new law about permitted developers. Only big developers with 40 and more houses project are permitted to build new settlements. Although this law has been set by the government, small developer still can be easily found in Colomadu. This fact makes the development seems to be uncontrollable. Karanganyar local government has been trying to prevent the transformation to be going too fast and decided to create a limitation by setting the minimum unit of houses for private developer. However, recently, based on interview the law has been changed and the government allows small medium developers to build new settlements. Thus, now petty developers can built a new residential estate with only five units of houses. This new construction of planning law will be supported the exploitation of farm land more and more which already reach Colomadu since 1990.

2001 BARU

2014 BARU

Sources: Kusumaningrum, 2014


The time series maps above show the transformation of land use in Colomadu Sub-district. The most obvious one to be identified in those maps are the decrease of farm land and the increasing number of built-up areas. The built-up areas are mostly used as settlement, followed by commercial use and industry. The first series of maps shows the land use transformation from farm to built-up in 2001. In this map, the green color seems to be dominating the land use of Colomadu while followed by the yellow one. In 2013 map some areas have been developed into residential estate areas as represented by orange color.

So how is it influencing the food security?

The faster the development, the agriculture land become lessen. The food production become smaller and smaller. So who’s fault is it? Government? Farmer? People? Urbanization? All of us have to be aware even when we drops one sigle grain of rice one hectar lands being exploited. Each second development has eaten our food. Sustainable planning has to be manage so that our agriculture land could be preserved. We as the future generation have to realized how uncontrolable development could create big issues for our child and grandchild.


What can we do now? As a young urban planner i believe that my city has a big plan and regulation about land and development. But many great plan was set aside by uncontrollable illegal development which is not based on the planning made by the government. So, what we have to do now is just simple, let support our government in maintaining our farm land by their plan. Erase all corruption and let’s all of us follow all the regulation. It is simple but difficult as hell because of population boom and economic development these days. Because population need house, house need lands.

In Ag-Summit i would like to give understanding that it is not as simple as just a small family issues about hunger, but it is a responsibility of a whole city not only the government but also the inhabitant. I hope with this discussion a lot of people will take a bigger attention to the farmland and food.


  • Kusumaningrum, Ratna. 2014. Land Use and Social Transformation in Colomadu Sub-district. Diponegoro University Thesis: Semarang.
  • Statistical Central Bureau of Indonesia. 1990, 2003, 2006, 2011, and 201.3