A Cooperation Indonesia-The Netherlands Programme

Research into creative industries and creative city strategies has often focused on Global North context, and has been dominated by the analysis of the characteristics of (formal) industries and sectors, as well as how policy making can help to support the promotion of such industries and city strategies. There has been less attention on creative industries development in Global South context, and even fewer studies have touched upon the link between creative industries and informal economies.

In Indonesia, several cities have been embracing creative industries and creative cities strategies and therefore offer an interesting opportunity to study such relatioinship. Moreover, Indonesian cities have specific types of neighbourhoods – kampung – where informal economies proliferate and where often craft based and creative based industries are found.

Existing research on the relationship between informal economies and the formal economy and formal governance structures has already highlighted the need to re-evaluate how informality is perceived by formal state institutions and actors. For example, in the city of Bandung there are over 24 kampungs that work on home-based industries, creative industries (craft, culture and arts), and tourism industries. Despite the informality of the kampungs in Bandung, they show prominent economic potential, and the recent trend towards the support of creative industries by the local governmnent can serve as an opportunity for exploring how the kampungs can potentially serve to embed urban development strategies that aim to capitalize on creative industry development in the city. These kampungs can thus be ween as opportunities for economic growth and commodification of existing economic activities in the city. Furthre research can help to understand how these could also influence spatial patterns of urban development, the relationship of the kampungs with formal authorities and governance structures within the city, and with the formal urban economy.


Our research aims to analyse the relationship between the informal economies of the kampungs and formal creative industries strategies, and how these impact the spatial, socio and economic development of the kampungs. This aim will be pursued through the following research questions:

  1. How has the development of creative industries strategies in the city of BAndung taken into account the existence and potential role of the informal economic activities occuring in the kampungs, has integrated them or acknowledged them?
  2. what is the spatial and socio-economic relationship of the kampung with therest of the city and how has it changed since the development of the creative industriesstrategy?
  3. What changes have occured in the craracteristics of the informal (creative) economies in the kampung, since the delveopment of the creative industries strategy? what processes are taking place (i.e. displacement, commodification)?

The research questions and project aim will be dealth with by a mixed-methods approach, which will include a survey with the companies operating in the chosen kampungs, expert interviews with policy makers and NGOs involved with the kampung community and/or with the development of the creative city/industries strategy, as well as field observation in the kampungs. With regards to secondary data, we will collect and analyse government policies on kampungs, informal economy, financial resources, and development opportunity for SMEs within a creative industries strategy; landuse, land cover, and 3D building mass from the urban kampung and the surrounding areas; and social, economic and demograpic statistical data from official census data.

The project links to the theme Governance and the Rule of Law, by discussing the interaction between informal economies and formal government strategies for creative industry promotion, with a focus on the formal and informal processes that guide the formulation and implementation of such strategies. the project will also consider the wider debates of how such government strategies can strengtthen existing loal (informal) economies and support citizen participation in the formal economy, and ultimately how informal communities and economies can be integrated into the formal city. The project will devleop in consultation with the appropriate stakeholders involved in these communities and strategies.

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