Thursday, 6 April 2017

My new article published on The Ecologist website highlights a rural community's resistance to eviction for a major aerotropolis in Indonesia: Villagers resist eviction for 50 sq.km airport city on their land. Over a period of twelve years, ten villages and a vast area of farmland have been wiped from the map for construction of Kertajati Airport in West Java. But Sukamulya village remains. Residents have successfully blocked numerous attempts by officials to measure land for the airport. Tensions came to a head on 17th November 2016 as villagers gathered yet again to defend their land, and were met with 2,000 police. Teargas was fired and 12 protesters were injured.

Sukamulya villagers' resistance to eviction from their homes and productive agricultural land is recognized as one of Indonesia's key land rights struggles. The article includes a recent video of construction the airport amidst the farmland, and a video capturing just over a minute's coverage of the teargassing by police. The video below shows villagers gathered in the paddy fields, outnumbered by police, with the sound of teargas being fired and plumes of smoke rising in the background.

Monday, 3 April 2017

Mapping aviation expansion in Indonesia

Having long been interested in the use of digital mapping for innovative communications, integrating spatial information with text, images and other media, I took the plunge and developed the content for the Aviation Expansion in Indonesia: tourism, land struggles, economic zones and aerotropolis projects map. It includes 60 airports, operational and at various stages of construction and planning, plus two projects that have been cancelled. Land rights is a key issue and there are struggles and disputes relating to at least 25 of the airports on the map. There are many instances of state repression against people resisting eviction from their homes and farmland.

Screengrab of digital map:Aviation Expansion in Indonesia
Aviation expansion is closely intertwined with a massive government tourism drive, and several airport projects are linked with economic zones. Aerotropolis style development is planned around a number of airports, including Kulon Progo and Kertajati airports currently under construction in Java. The map was created for Global Anti-Aerotropolis Movement (GAAM) using the Storymap app, which is creating quite a buzz in the geospatial community. The national context to the information in the digital map will be explored in a forthcoming in-depth report about aviation expansion in Indonesia, which will be published by GAAM in partnership with the Third World Network (TWN).
 



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