Join Us for a Seminar by Professors Helga Leitner and Eric Sheppard (UCLA)

Registration for From Kampungs to Condos by Professors Helga Leitner & Eric Sheppard is now open! 

When? 18 September 2015 (Wednesday), 3:30pm to 5pm

Where? Earth Lab (AS2 02-03), NUS Kent Ridge Campus

How? Open to all. RSVP with the title “JAKARTA” to by 11 September 2015.

From Kampungs to Condos


Drawing on geographical political economy and current debates about southern urban theory, we interrogate land transformation in Jakarta as authorized kampungs are converted into real estate assets, taking into account Jakarta’s positionality as a post-colonial city dominated by informal settlement and economy and complex land tenure rights. We depart from pre-existing urban research, particularly in South Asia, which stresses state-led eviction and accumulation by dispossession. In Jakarta, developers frequently are compelled to utilize market mechanisms to assemble (purchase) land. Accumulation is central, for developers but also for kampung households possessing land rights. As marketization occurs in the kampung, such households become willing to relocate for a price. In contrast, residents lacking such rights (renters, squatters) find themselves dispossessed. We propose accumulation by displacement as a conceptual framework that better captures the variegations of urban land transformation in cities of the post-colony.

Yet this process of transformation – the replacement of complex land tenure rights by a capitalist land market, and of informal settlements by planned Western style housing developments – remains incomplete. On the one hand, there are ongoing grassroots contestations – a thriving informal land market persists and displaced residents (particularly women) work to reproduce and maintain the kampung as a way of living on the urban periphery. On the other hand, the expansion of a formal capitalist land market is undermining both the viability of urban living for the urban majority – erasing affordable housing, sources of livelihood, and sociality – and urban ecological sustainability.



Professor Helga Leitner (Ph.D. University of Vienna, Austria) is a professor with research interests in international migration, politics of immigration and citizenship, urban development & sustainability, global urbanism, urban social movements, and socio-spatial theory. She teaches courses in political and urban geography, and migration issues. For more on Professor Leitner, visit her UCLA webpage.

Professor Eric Sheppard (PhD, University of Toronto, 1976) (Vice Chair) is Humboldt Chair and Professor of Geography, with research interests in geographical political economy, uneven geographies of globalization, neoliberalism, urbanization in the global South, urban sustainability and environmental justice, and critical GIS. He teaches courses in globalization, economic geography, development and urban change. He is co-editor of Environment and Planning A. For more on Professor Sheppard, visit his UCLA webpage.