Post C: Gotong royong could be seen as the original collaborative consumption model

An estimated 52% of Indonesia’s 175million population live in urban areas, of which an estimated 60-80% live in makeshift kampungs that provide affordable shelter in urban areas (The World Bank Group, 2015). Originally the term kampung meant village, yet with rapid urbanisation it has now come to mean a neighbourhood contained within a city (McCarthy, P. 2003). Design of kampungs are often haphazard and the lack of private space and infrastructure see things such as bathing, washing, cleaning and cooking facilities being shared by multiple families in public spaces (Rahmi, D. H. et al 2001). While stemmed from necessity and lack of alternatives it is arguably due to traditional principles held by Indonesians such as ‘gotong royong’ that these shared spaces and facilities can effectively be shared between so many people. The principle gotong royong, which is loosely translated to ‘mutual and reciprocal assistance’, is the philosophy that collective social activities and collective life are of high importance (Bowen, J. 1986) A study of the Ratmakan kampung in Yogyakarta found that flexible private and public spaces for multi-purpose uses, which were constructed using local materials and techniques and voluntarily maintained by all the residents, enabled the effective use of minimal spaces and resources in the kampung.

While the design of these spaces may work in Indonesia in the context of Kampungs, collective ideals are less evident in western societies, including Australia, where a more individualistic approach to living is the norm. There are however some that are exploring the idea of collective living. A shift in perspective and movements such as ‘collaborative living’ and ‘co-housing’ are seeing this adoption of shared resources exhibited in kampungs become increasingly popular. In Australia cohousing initiatives such as ‘Honeyeaters Community’ in Gloucester NSW, sees eight families share communal facilities such as workshops, gardens, social areas and guest housing (Co-housing Australia n.d.). While collaborative housing option are limited to rural areas of Australian, ‘Copper Lane’ in the Hackney London, claims to be the first urban co-housing scheme, where six families share resources from spaces including the laundry and workshop ,to appliances such as vacuum cleaners (Waite, R. 2014) The rise of what Rachel Botsman has termed ‘collaborative consumption’ sees a growth of sharing resources enabled through the use technology. Successful collaborative consumption organisations include Air bnb, go-get and airtasker, where accommodation, transport and skills are shared (Botsman, R. 2010)

With increasing strain on resource and lack of affordable housing options in urban areas designers may be inspired to create urban spaces, housing options and products with the gotong royong values and the ability to share in mind in the future.


Botsman, R. 2010, The Case for Collaborative Consumption, video recording, TED, viewed 17/5/15,   

Bowen, J. 1986, On the Political Construction of Tradition: Gotong Royong in Indonesia , The Journal of Asian Studies, vol 45. No. 3 pages 546-561,             viewed online 17/5/15 <>

Co-Housing Australia n.d. viewed online 17/5/15

McCarthy, P. 2003, Understanding Slums: The Case of Jakarta Indonesia, viewed online 17/5/15,

Rahmi, D.H. Wibisono, B.H. Setiawan, B. 2001. Rukun and Gotong Royong: Managing Public Places in an Indonesian Kampung, Public Places in Asia Pacific Cities, vol. 60, pp. 119-134.

The World Bank Group 2015, Indonesia, viewed online 17/5/15,

Waite, R. 2014, London’s First Co-Housing Scheme Completes, viewed online      17/5/15

Image 1: viewed online 17/5/15

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