Metro Java 2045 departs from the observation that the progressive planning models which urban theory prescribes (i.e. integrated, compact, collaborative, scenario-driven), are hard to implement in populous agrarian societies undergoing rapid transition towards globalised urban economies. Indonesia—notably Java Island—is a case in point. Java accommodates more than 60% of the nation’s population and the bulk of its urban infrastructure. As supply chains expand to reach global markets and prosperity rises, infrastructure, production facilities, and urban amenities, prove wholly insuﬃcient. Global capital, including its generic urbanism, invariably swoops in to deliver housing, highways, industrial zones, sea and airports, etc.
This reﬂects a common global urbanization process. Java, however, is altogether not common. Its densities are ﬁnely dispersed across the hinterland in vast ﬁelds of desakota—see map below. Home to more than half of Java’s population, the island’s transformation is not conﬁned to its urban centres, or even its ‘Extended Metropolitan Regions’, but is drawn out across this unique productive landscape. The unbridled fusion of both spatial systems threatens to undermine the integrity and sustainability of the cities and the desakotas alike.
Although, extensively documented since the 1990s, the ubiquitous desakota typology has since morphed and mutated well beyond its initial deﬁnition, spawning a landscape that “resist being taken-up into a more formal urban system of interconnected, functionally specialised zones” Cairns (2002). Once self-contained and local, the vast strands of villages are forced to operate at the scale of global hubs and their supply chains. The ﬂuid ﬁeld of relationships that emerge defy the ossifying templates of commercial ‘best practices’.
The urban-rural codependence renounces any model solely based on either planning metro-regions, or preserving village settlements. The hybridisation introduces a ‘post-desakota’ condition that in turn demands solutions that aim for a ‘post-metropolitan’ denouement: planning Java as a single rural-urban continuum. With an average density exceeding most cities (940 p/km2), Java’s hybrid space should be conceived as one, true megalopolis. However, if the city is deﬁned by the colocation of people and infrastructure (or Red), planning Metro Java 2045 must be conceived as the collocation of culture, agriculture, and nature (or R,G,B). As we anticipate a post-COVID world of dispersed centres and mounting functional amalgamation, Metro Java 2045 will explore two spatial objectives critical to sustainable growth in emerging markets: cross-scalar land use planning and the integration of global and local urban systems.