Political and Social Inclusion in Asian Cities – Indonesia Case Study

This study examines the relationships between local democracy and the barriers to political and social inclusion of marginalized communities in two cities, Bandung as an example of metropolitan city, and Surakarta to give the perspective of a middle-sized city.

The research questions are:

  • what are the barriers to political and social inclusion of the marginalized groups in cities
  • to what extent and how are the marginalized groups engaged in mechanisms and processes of local democracy
  • what are the policy options, innovations and good practices to meet the needs and aspirations of marginalized groups and contribute to the achievement of SDG 11?

Since Indonesia has implemented decentralization reforms, basic service delivery is carried out by local governments. The central government primarily facilitates local government with funding and policies such as slum improvements and financial support for the poor. A central theme in both central government policies and local government programs is the empowerment of marginalized communities of both their mindset and skills to earn their own money.

The respondents in both cities actively participate in local democracy. They often – actively and voluntarily – vote in community-level leadership elections. In both cities, female participation in public affairs is high and women have an equal role to men. Newcomers are also generally considered to fully participate in public affairs. The high level of participation seems limited to local government levels. On the city level, only half of the respondents know about development plans and hardly anyone is aware of city budget discussions.