Architecture, Building and Planning - Theses

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    Transformation of Jalan Malioboro, Yogyakarta : the morphology and dynamics of a Javanese street
    Wibisono, Bambang Hari ( 2001)
    Streets are an important element of urban form and function. For their future development it is essential to understand the processes of transformation they have undergone in the past. This thesis is specifically concerned with Jalan Malioboro, the principal street of Yogyakarta, Indonesia, which has had many historic roles and has undergone many transformations since its establishment in 1756. The various plans and regulations put forward in the past for the development of this street have proved to be inadequate to manage its invaluable but fragile local character. The aim of this research project is to understand and define the prevailing processes and forces that have brought about the transformation of Jalan Malioboro's streetscape since its establishment up to the present. Two approaches were used: morphological analysis for the physical-spatial characteristics of the streetscape through graphical representations and their qualitative descriptions; and socio-cultural analysis of the functions, meanings and activities taking place on the street, also done descriptively and qualitatively. A retrospective method was applied to reveal the processes that had occurred in the past and a prospective method to analyse the current condition and envisage its prospects. The overall process of transformation shows both continuities and changes of both the morphology and functions and meanings of Jalan Malioboro. The only true continuity is that of the very original axis. Everything else was and is in constant flux depending upon the contemporary forces. Although Jalan Malioboro forms a prominent linear space that provides a vista from Kraton to Tugu as part of a cosmological axis, it has grown spontaneously and incrementally. Socioculturally, the most striking transformation has been from its royal ceremonial function to its current predominant commercial function. The processes of transformation also demonstrate the dialectic between the form and function of the spaces along Jalan Malioboro, which has produced a hybridised and lively street. Its linearity, an orderly form derived from its function as a cosmological axis, has had superimposed on it different forms and activities, thus producing an ambiguous and chaotic streetscape. There are five key forces that have brought about the transformation: (a) the religious syncretism of the Javanese culture; (b) the political subversion, (c) lack of planning control, (d) modernisation, commercialisation and commodification of space; and (e) the 1997 economic downturn. Any development efforts for Jalan Malioboro arising from an examination of its process of transformation should attempt to ensure that its cultural significance, including its complexity and the dynamism of the street environment, is maintained.