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Agricultural Land Conversion and Its Impact on the Socio-Economic Pattern of the Indigenous People at the Urban Fringe: A Case Study of Bumi Serpong Damai New Town, Tangerang, Banten, Indonesia

Ratnawati Yuni Suryandari*
Urban Planning Department, Engineering Faculty, Esa Unggul University, Jakarta, Indonesia

*Corresponding author; email: nratnawati@yahoo.com



From 1998, cities in Java have been experiencing the process of internal reconstruction, both socio-economically and physically. Urban areas which had been the centres of industry were changing to centres of service activities. Meanwhile, in the urban fringes, agricultural lands were converted into new townships and industrial centres. The objective of this study is to analyse the socio-economic patterns of the indigenous people resulting from agricultural land conversion to the construction project of Bumi Serpong Damai (BSD) New Town, Tangerang, Banten, Indonesia. The study was conducted in 2004-2005, involving Lengkong Gudang, Rawabuntu and Pagedangan villages as the area samples. Based on purposive sampling procedures, a total of 317 respondents were selected, comprising 256 heads of households who remained in their native villages and 61 heads of households who had migrated from their native villages. The study found that the agricultural land conversion project had both favourable and unfavourable impacts on the communities. The socio-economic indicators such as incomes, expenditures, property ownerships, housing, utilities, transportation and communication of those who remained in their villages increased while those of savings, investments, education, health, commerce, neighbourliness and organizational activities have not improved. Conversely, other indicators that experienced a decline were land ownership, types of occupation, security, air quality and social activities. For those who had migrated, their incomes, expenditures, savings, property ownerships, housing, utilities and communication have improved, while transportation and air quality were still good; land ownerships, types of occupation, neighbourhood, social activities and inter-neighbourly relations had deteriorated; and savings, investments, education, security, neighbourliness, organizational activities, health and commerce remained unchanged. Overall, the scores for improved and still favourable socio-economic aspects were lower than those of the deteriorating and still unfavourable aspects for both villagers who stayed and villagers who have migrated. In general, it can be concluded that the agricultural land conversion project in the study area had not been able to enhance the quality of life and living standards of most of the people who were indigenous to that area. By implication, the biggest benefit of the capitalist city development (metropolis) project was reaped by the capitalist investors and the middle class at the expense of the indigenous people who were the proletariats and small producers (satellite). As such, it may be concluded that BSD New Town is not a very appropriate development model for Indonesia as if is not local-people friendly.

Keywords: agricultural land conversion, socio-economic pattern, indigenous people, urban fringe