Post A: Indonesia’s Social and Political Context

Indonesia recently witnessed dramatic changes in its economic, political and spatial landscape. There is an uneven economic development between religions in urban and rural areas, which thus result in wide gaps in per capita income. This economic context places an understanding on specific mechanisms that may vary from one country or region to the next, depending on the institutional context within which they take place.

The fall of Sutarto in 1998 transformed the political landscape of Indonesia from an authoritarian regime toward a more democratic society. Greater autonomy is being delegated in areas such as public works, health, education, agriculture, industry, trade and environment. Indonesia is now regarded as a middle-income country given its sustained economic growth in the past 15 years. In recent years Indonesia has shown an increase in the Human Development Index (HDI), corresponding to improvements in most social indicators.

Indonesia is a high-context society, meaning that Indonesians are more likely to rely on implicit communication rather than on explicit messages. They place more time in reading into what is said, and what the words actually mean.

In Europe there is mass development of new and exciting innovative user-centred projects. It is not until now that other countries are coming to terms with the fact that design is a priority on their policy agenda. Song Weizu states that is was not until yesterday that design wasn’t exactly a priority on the Chinese policy agenda as other matters were at stake. This can also be said for many other countries. Indonesia is one of the top ten countries that will contribute to most of the world’s population growth over the next 30 years. (Data from the International Institute for Applied Systems Analysis–IIASA).

Due to this reason at a spatial level, metropolitan areas are increasingly facing challenges due to rapid urbanization and motorization, which in combination with insufficient investment in transport infrastructure – are linked to urban poverty and social exclusion. Major investments have been made on a recent design initiative made in Bus Rapid Transit systems in Jakarta and Bandung to elevate the roads where the buses travel.

This system has been designed to provide citizens with a fast public transport system to help reduce rush hour traffic. The buses run in dedicated lanes and the regional government subsidizes ticket prices. As of 2014, the buses carried more than 350,000 passengers per day with more than 500 buses in operation.

Designers all over the world, reflect current trends as well as social and economic situations. Critical questions are asked about how we think and see ourselves. One of the many challenges within the design industry is balancing creativity with the demands of cost-effective and innovative construction. A customer’s satisfaction with a product depends on the context of its use. Everything is interpreted through some context. A very important part of our job as designers is to create a visual context that enhances what our designs are trying to communicate. Context also comes from those who view and interpret the design. A visual impression is constructed as soon as someone sees it.


A Governance Approach, date unknown, ‘Local and Regional Dimensions in Indonesia’, viewed 20th April, 2015,

New Product Development, date unknown, ‘What Is Context’, viewed 20th April 2015,

Encyclopaedia of Business 2nd Ed, 2015 ‘Indonesia Doing Business’,viewed 20th April 2015,

Vanderbeeken. M, 2008, ‘The Best Design Policies’, viewed 20th April 2015,

Empowerment of Women and Girls, date unknown, ‘Social, economic and political context in Indonesia’, viewed 20th April 2015,

Image1:, viewed 20th April 2015

Image2:, viewed 20th April 2015

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