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

SUWON ECOMOBILITY VILLAGE: Let’s start to change!


Suwon ecomobolity village are great innovation to introduce ecomobillity towards people. The street is walk able and comfortable with many restaurant and cafe around. Although it seems to be lack of greeneries, the weather is quite hot in the summer and greeneries will help this condition.  By new walk able street people in Haenggung dong village are encourage to leave their cars behind and start to ecomobile and enjoying the live and feel of their own village.

Suwon Mayor is working hard in this project, much demonstration happened during the construction stage. People objection are so high, some restaurant and cafe owner are protested and old people feel uncomfortable with noise and dust from the construction. A grandfather died because asthma while the construction held, in fact the families blamed construction dust as the main problem. Demonstration happened saying that “ecomobility had killed someone” it must be stopped!

Now in Haenggung dong many people started to believe and feel comfortable with the less cars condition. But the mayor has to step back a bit to fulfill the people ultimatum to let the car move in again a week after the opening day.  Although some challenge still remains unsolved the mayor has doing the best he can do to give an example and impulse to the ecomobility development.  The commitment towards ecomobilty encourages Suwon City to give bigger incentives to the people so that the ecomobility message could be heard. Did it already hear? No not yet, a bigger effort is still needed to reach sustainability. And for almost 30 years ecomobility being develop Indonesia, Philippines, and some others developing countries are still wondering when? How? And who? Would do the first step towards ecomobility. We have leave those question behind and started to planned and change it immediately if we would like to secure the future generation condition.





Mayor’s highlight: Participation is a must


Participation is a familiar world to say today in urban planning study and program. Why is it popular? Because many experts believe that participation is the main key of success especially in Planning. Planning is aiming for public domain like Friedman said and done for a better condition in the future. So when those words combined it mean planning is for people, everything to do in planning basically has to be able to occupied people needs.

Participation word can also be found in ecomobility perspective which related to social behavior and willingness. Just like what Lagos Moreno mayors Mr Hugo Ruiz said in the Suwon Ecomobility Congress 2013 that ecomobility related with city planning have to be “people proposal” not “government proposal”. Here people contribution is essential because acceptance is the important word in implementation stage (Haag, 2013) and also to reach sustainability. Kyoto’s Mayor Mr Daisaku Kadokawa also stated that government and the people have to hand in hand to meet a better future condition by ecomobility. Why ecomobility need people? Because ecomobility is everyone rights, its human rights.


Here in Suwon, the host of ecomobility festival, the mayor Mr Tae-Young Yeom encourages haenggung dong people to take big part in this ecomobility program. They working together to move private motorize vehicle aside and started to use non-motorized transportation, which is a great example of partnership. Suwon has try to improve their cities step by step, in fact before Suwon there is some others cities in the world working in the same goals, ecomobility for a better living. Kyoto in Japan, Freiburg in Germany, Kaohsiung in China, and some others cities in Asia, Europe and America are in stated of improvement and development, and hopefully many others cities in the world could follow their effort on encourage people to participate on the planning, so that they could understand and implement ecomobility.

Participation always need trust, people trust have to be gained by the government to be able to reach their goals and objectives. In fact if we see in developing countries corruption still remains to be the first challenge in gaining trust. Indonesia is one of bad cases of trust issues, because it was one of the most corrupted countries in Asia. People trust are low, they don’t believe to the government program and planning. How come? Because many planning in Indonesia are lack of implementation, besides sometimes it pushes aside the people aspiration. They have failed to reach the people heart, failed to gain people trust and rebuilt governance system and condition are the answer of increasing people trust.

Amsterdam: Bike Lover City


Amsterdam is one of the busiest cities in the world especially with its tourism activity. Millions tourists come to Amsterdam every year and as one of the best tourist destination in the world Amsterdam not only famous with its life and beauty but also with their much love towards bicycle. This city probably one of the friendliest city in the world in term of the non-motorize transportation use.

Young people, old people, rich people, poor people, stylist or odd loved to bikes. Each person in Amsterdam at least has one bike to accommodate their activity. The only use public transport like train and tram when it does not possible to take their bike. They working, shopping, studying, and playing with their bike as their companion.  Besides its citizen love towards bicycle, integrated bicycle track is the strongest part on bringing bicycle as a popular transportation mode here supported by another factors such as economic and health reasons.


Bicycle track probably one of the image of Amsterdam in the eyes of many peoples who already come and see Amsterdam. Every street in this city not only facilitated by bicycle track but also another facilities for bicycle such as parking area and bike traffic light. Its citizen culture towards bike users also become one of the best thing in Amsterdam, bicycle is always become the first priority in the street so the other transportation users like motorcycle and car have to yield. Its citizen also tries to transmit their love to bike by creating some bicycle rent shop as one of tourist attraction.

People space

In this earth everyone need spaces, working space, eating space, sleeping space, and other need. More space means freedom, freedom to express and feels. There are two kinds of spaces in this world, individual space and public space. Individual space is a private space for people to express themselves with their own rules and limitation, and public space is a place where everyone could come and use it for any kind of activities but still have to considering rules and social limitation. Our own room and houses are the example of individual spaces. City plaza, garden, pedestrian ways and streets are the example of public spaces that built for everyone.

Gil Penelosa once said that one of the biggest public spaces is streets which mean everyone has the same right in the street. Rich, poor, farmer, president, and student, all of them have the same right and opportunity to use it and shares it. In the past street was made to occupied people mobility to move from one place to another by walking, cycling, and horsing, but today basically street is the home of millions cars and motorcycles. Bigger the street made, bigger the number of cars found. People with cars and motorcycle occupied all street spaces only for them. Street vendors occupied pedestrian ways for trading activities. There are not enough spaces for people to walk and cycling just like what our grandfather did. So when the street is too much filled with cars and motorcycle, the poor access to the road become less especially when they could not access cheap transportation.  This condition also harming our environment and earth so much, but many people did not realize or maybe tend to ignore it.

Here in every city in the world we can see that we need something to change for the future generation. Because cars and motorcycle are not only affected our environment but also people mindset and behavior which become the biggest challenge for every party that working hard on introducing sustainable transportation now. Including Mayor of Suwon City, Mr Yeom Tae-Young, he as the mayor where ecomobilty congress takes place have to work harder to convince the citizen to participate as the first ecomobility village in the world. People did not want to change! They were too comfortable lived with their cars.


Not only Suwon City that located in the develop country South Korea facing social behavior as the main challenge, Indonesia and other developing country found it as a bigger challenge. Why? Because people behavior in this country cannot be solved easily, this problem emerges as the result of trust problem. Trust towards the government, trust towards the planning decision, trust toward everything especially related with government performance and finance. But whether this issue emerges or not most cities in the world have to change! People have to start sharing, sharing street and pedestrian ways for walking and cycling because street is not an individual spaces, it is a public spaces. People need to change their point of view that cars and motorcycles are not as healthy as walking and cycling. People need to understand that our earth is old enough to take care of us. It is the time for us to take a good care of our mother earth and giving back its strength to once again give us a healthy and livable environment.

Amsterdam had already started it long time ago in the 70’s, Suwon, Kyoto, Changwon, Paris, Freiburg, Lagos Moreno, and Kaohsiung city had started to change today. What about Jakarta? Manila? Nairobi? We can start it now! What we need are commitment and willingness of people and government as the main actor of urban planning.

Reviving Bicycle Track in Semarang City, Good or Bad Choices?

In recent years many concepts of planning appear as solution of environmental degradation. Peoples in the world start to think again about the sustainability of mother earth. One of the popular concepts is sustainable transportation. Many countries including Indonesia are in the state of transportation planning and readjustment. Here, transportation sector seen as one big sector that responsible towards pollution and global warming, because peoples activities now seems to have high dependency on transportation sector especially in developing countries where most people still prefer to have their own private car than taking public transportation or even biking or walking. Here in this essay the main discussion would be around the importance of reviving bicycle use in Semarang City Indonesia.

In Indonesia many people becomes dependable towards transportation especially private vehicle. It creates many problems inside some big cities, for instance in Jakarta congestion is daily routine activities for its citizen which further create pollution as the long term impact of uncontrollable private car use. Some issues like less efficient and effective, less integrated public transportation and infrastructures, uncomfortable and inflexible public transport condition is the reason behind low number of public transport use in Indonesia. More over the low price of petroleum and taxes becomes the next reason on people mode choices preference toward private vehicle.

Semarang seems to learn from the condition of Jakarta. This city now tries to introduce the concept of sustainable development towards its citizen. At first, BRT project appear as one of potential public transport facilities created to attract people leaves the use of private vehicle. Then the government introduces car free day program in the city center, and the latest one is the development of bicycle track in some main streets in Semarang. The development of bicycle track is basically the implementation of sustainable development using non-motorize transportation. It always become a good idea to use non-motorize transportation to reduce the environmental impact, but it tend to be useless when it created and developed when the citizen are not ready yet. Semarang citizen in Central Java Province, Indonesia, still has low willingness on using bicycle as their mode choices to support their activities. Low willingness of its citizen usually related with some common reasons such as hot weather issue, geographical reason, less integrated bicycle track and lack of supporting facilities such as bike park zone. Based on those reasons, for now bicycle track development in Semarang could be seen as imprecise choice in managing private vehicle use. So the question is how to develop it into good choices? Create and learning new innovation is the answer.

Learn from some cities in develop countries like Paris and Amsterdam, greeneries are important especially alongside the pedestrian ways and bicycle track. Greeneries definitely can reduce tropical weather condition of Indonesia. Regarding with the geographical issue, bicycle lift (trampe) innovation in Trondheim, Norway is a good choices to be try. Basically it uses is to help biker and his bike to reach higher place easily. And at last integration of non-motorize transportation and public transportation will help biker reach far places that are difficult to reach only by bike. It would be great if biker could bring their bike inside the public transportation just like in La Rochelle or providing bike parking facilities in every train station or bus stop like in Japan and Netherland cities.  If Semarang or other Indonesian cities could learn from those cases above, development of bicycle track would not only stay as a dream.