Urban Symbols: The Understanding and Reading of Urban Space by Young Adults in Indonesian Kampungs

By Rully Damayanti and Florian Kossak.

Published by Spaces and Flows: An International Journal of Urban and ExtraUrban Studies

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Article: Print $US10.00
Article: Electronic $US5.00

The aim of this article is to reveal urban symbols of young adults in kampungs of Surabaya, Indonesia in order to understand their identity. The symbols are identified through ‘understanding’ and ‘reading’ space following an observational framework that combines concepts by Soja, Robinson and Lynch. It adopts Soja’s concept of the three spatiality levels - perceived, conceived and lived. It thereby broadens the context given through Robinson’s concept of space as a unique assemblage and interaction network. The combination of views from Soja and Robinson focuses on the understanding of cities not through a dualism position (West-East, North-South, order-disorder, and formal-informal) but rather in a neutral position of general analysis that could be applied globally. Lynch’s concept is adopted in terms of the human social role in navigation. This observational framework identifies urban symbols in four types of symbol bearers: material, iconic, behavioral and discursive; which are not attached to specific urban elements alone, but only in relation to meaning and social value of these elements. Consequently, this exploration unveils characteristics of spaces, especially in marginal positions, which are an often-overlooked phenomenon in colonial readings of cities.

Keywords: The Understanding and Reading of Urban Space by Young Adults in Indonesian Kampungs

Spaces and Flows: An International Journal of Urban and ExtraUrban Studies, Volume 6, Issue 2, June 2015, pp.49-61. Article: Print (Spiral Bound). Article: Electronic (PDF File; 4.614MB).

Rully Damayanti

PhD Student, School of Architecture, The University of Sheffield-Sheffield, Petra Christian University-Surabaya, Sheffield, South Yorkshire, UK

Florian Kossak

Senior Lecturer/ PG Supervisor, School of Architecture, The University of Sheffield, Sheffield, South Yorkshire, UK