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Stilt: Politics of Reclamation and Urban Slum Settlement Marginalization

by on February 4, 2010

Stilt typology is an amphibious and vernacular built form, yet ambivalent. The architecture epitomizes the adaptation of coastal community to local climate and morphology to which they transform physical geography version into a non-permanent and insurgent built form, terrestrial and aquatic at the same time. Along South East Asia, the architecture was reformatted in primary colonial cities which, at the early stage of development, matched with excessive demand of harbor economic activities in a consummate ecology starting from loading area, commercial facility, to cheap housing for coolies. This paper examines the comparison of stilt settlement politics in three neighborhood of postcolonial cities under Malay root, Jakarta, Bandar Seri Begawan, and Manila which was colonized by the Dutch, British Empire, and Spanish-American accordingly. Disequilibrium and disorder appeared when modernity dictates that terrestrial life is more laudable and suitable rather than floating buoyancy of stilt housing. As one of urbanization requirement, artificially and naturally, the water bodies were then reclamated either by the government, private sector, or even by the community themselves who live above it. Therefore, reclamation becomes a political strategy as the vehicle of power and control by which urban actors create residual slum settlement and marginalized slum dwellers.

  1. Are they really marginalized? I sill believe Perlman’s (1976) notion that marginality is a myth…

    • In fact, yes, they are marginalized especially in spesific terms of extreme poverty, drugs, and violence. Recent Perlman’s paper (2004 & 2005) argues more advanced definition of marginality in which he asserts the evolution from “the myth of marginality” to “the reality of marginality.”
      At the field, marginality has been growing to the point that people’s life are worthless when it comes to political propaganda which bifurcates the notion of marginality.

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