Post A: Design of the built environment as a reflection of culture

The design of the built environment undeniably reflects the culture of the area it is situated in as society’s attitudes and behaviours impact the function and appearance of the structures they interact with on a day to day basis. This idea that ‘society produces its buildings, and the buildings, although not producing society, help to maintain many of its social forms’ (Ghinita 2016) can be reinforced with the understanding obtained whilst staying in the city of Banjarmasin and comparing it to the environment in Sydney.

One of the unique aspects of Banjarmasin that distinctly stood out to me while I was there was the expressive nature of building exteriors, particularly the vibrant colourful paintwork. This evoked a contrast in my mind with the desired minimalistic appearance of buildings back in Sydney which provides a uniform and modern essence to the area. When considering that ‘architecture itself is a cultural subject, so it has become a significant cultural expression’ (Vasilski 2015), it becomes apparent that the vivid presence mirrors the city’s spirited society. This is also evident in the ‘rainbow bridge’ which runs across the river, the heart of the city, along with many structures made using a variety of materials or decorated with intricate patterns.

IMG_8240[532]Rainbow bridge (Song 2018)

Upon discussion with several locals, I found that they all favoured rich colourful designs which paralleled their lively and carefree characters, all which is reflected in their surroundings. Again, this sparks a comparison with Sydney, where things are more routine and bound within limitations and this is further explored in the statement: ‘Architecture is a manifestation of the cultural context in which it resides. The form and relationships of buildings and spaces act as a kind of “cultural marker” that can be read…to describe the way of life and social status of its inhabitants’ (Stephen 1994).

IMG_8237[530]Brightly coloured houses along the river (Song 2018)

Often, restaurants were designed with open dining spaces and unlike Sydney, many shopping malls weren’t enclosed within doors, providing it with an inviting quality and acting as communal areas. This mirrors the city’s close and welcoming community and demonstrates how ‘the reciprocal relationship between people and their environments are part of a system of agreements and interactions that constitute the culture of a society’ (Sevtsuk 2012).

Conclusively, the observations made while staying in Banjarmasin along with the knowledge gained from experiencing the culture within the city established the significant impact that social principles have on the design of built environment.

Reference list

Sevtsuk, A. 2012, ‘How we shape our cities, and then they shape us’, MAJA: the Estonian Architectural Review, vol. 72, no. 2, pp. 10-15.

Stephen, K. 1994, ‘Cultural influences on Architecture’, M Architecture. thesis, Texas Tech University, Texas.

Ghinita, A. 2016, ‘How buildings influence society and how society is influenced by buildings – an introduction’, PhD thesis, University of Trento, Italy.

Vasilski, D. 2015, ‘Minimalism in Architecture as a Cultural Symbol of the Times’, PhD thesis, University Union.

Post C: A young female’s perspective on the role of gender in Indonesia’s growing smoking epidemic

An Indonesian man smokes a cigarette during a protest near South Jakarta court in Jakarta(Beawiharta 2018)

The widespread use of tobacco in Indonesia was clearly evident when walking the streets of Banjarmasin and one observation that could be made immediately was the abundance of men smoking and the lack of women. This posed the question of why that was the case thus I conducted an interview with female university student, Kiki (22), who provided insightful answers on her personal thoughts regarding the role of gender in the smoking culture of Indonesia.

Kiki stated that the main reason as to why men start to smoke is for the style and to appear ‘cool’ which outweighs the negative impact of cigarettes on their health and to those around them. She mentioned that only the male members of her family have had experience smoking; her dad, a regular smoker who started from the young age of 15, and her brother, who started to smoke at 12 years due to the influence of his friends but stopped after she had convinced him to quit. This social pressure to smoke is also addressed in a study where participants viewed smoking as a reflection of being in a group and being a smoker among their smoking peers being a sign of solidarity (Ng et al. 2007). Kiki also mentioned that men smoke due to stress from physical labour which ties in with the idea that smoking cigarettes presumably symbolizes masculinity; thus, many people associate it with the ‘male sphere’. In contrast, many consider smoking among women and girls impolite and ill-mannered (Leutge & Tandilittin 2013).

WOMAN(Farahdiba 2009)

She mentioned that women who smoke are deemed irresponsible by society as most women will bear children in the future and thus have a responsibility to take care of their health. A majority of males believe in this idea as a 14-year-old states, “I wouldn’t want my girlfriend to ever smoke. Women have babies and if they smoke then that’s bad for the baby,” as well as many men citing it as “too unhealthy, dangerous and bad” (Hodal 2012). Being a well-recognised custom in Indonesia for women to be non-smokers, Kiki also touched on how women who choose to smoke are considered rebellious and daring. The acts of Indonesian women who choose to smoke parallel the established idea that the newfound freedom and higher status of women promote the undesirable behavior of smoking (Pampel 2001).

Conducting this interview with Kiki and following it up with secondary research reinforced the theory that gender plays a significant role in the growing smoking epidemic in Indonesia. The masculine qualities associated with smoking and the social stigma against female smokers greatly contribute to the stark difference in the number of smokers of each gender. However an increasing number of women who decide to rebel against social norms may result in the closing of the gap.


Beawiharta. 2017, An Indonesian man smokes a cigarette during a protest near South Jakarta court in Jakarta, Reuters, viewed 24 January 2018, <>.

Farahdiba. 2009, Mom and baby in urban slum area Jakarta, Flickr, viewed 24 January 2018, <>.

Ng, N., Weinehall, L. & Öhman, A. 2007, ‘If I don’t smoke, I’m not a real man’ – Indonesian teenage boys’ views about smoking’, Health Education Research, vol. 22, no. 6,  pp. 794-804.

Hodal, K. 2012, ‘Indonesia’s smoking epidemic – an old problem getting younger’, The Guardian, 22 March, viewed 24 January 2018, <>.

Pampel, F. 2001, ‘Cigarette Diffusion and Sex Differences in Smoking’, Journal of Health and Social Behaviour, vol. 42, no. 4, pp. 388-404.

Luetge, C. & Tandilittin, H. 2013, ‘Civil Society and Tobacco Control in Indonesia: The Last Resort’, The Open Ethics Journal, vol. 7, pp. 11-18.

Post B: Effective measures to fight against tobacco consumption

(Reuters 2012)

The smoking epidemic in Indonesia is one of the world’s most serious cases, with 70% of men aged over 20 being smokers and the average starting age of smoking being a mere 7 years (Hodal 2012). The leading cause of this problem is the lack of restrictive laws regarding access to cigarettes in the country, as anyone of any age is legally able to purchase and smoke tobacco. A country that completely juxtaposes this in regards to their strict anti-tobacco laws is Uruguay, who have seen a clear decrease in the number of smokers between 2005 and 2011 with the main reason being their tobacco control campaign which included the ban of cigarettes in indoor public spaces, the ban of tobacco advertisements and increasing the tax on the product (Azevedo e Silva 2012).

A design measure that accompanied these legal actions is an anti-tobacco installation set up by Uruguay’s Resources National Fund in the city of Montevideo. The installation consists of large scale sculptures of cigarettes labelled with the toxic ingredients that are used to make them and are located in a busy area where people are bound to walk past and notice them. The size of the cigarettes being close to the height of a human provides an intimidating quality and combined with the excessive number of them scattered in a highly concentrated area, makes them impossible to miss and provokes viewers, particularly those who are smokers, into considering the message behind them.

1337256000000.cached_1(Campodonico 2012)

This installation focuses on the psychological aspect of tobacco addiction and serves its purpose to make smokers aware of harmful toxins they intake which are concealed within cigarettes. It tackles the main issue of smokers become desensitised to the consequences of smoking the more they do it as the ‘brain processes enhance the reward value of substances over to the point that automatic addictive behaviours occur without thinking’ (Gifford 2007). The large scale sculptural installation being situated in a population dense area effectively is able to explicitly deliver its message to people who pass by and make them accustomed to a negative perception towards tobacco.

The legal measures taken by the Uruguayan government to campaign against cigarette use has undeniably led to results as studies show that the level of restrictions placed on tobacco within an area will result in a decrease in cigarette consumption of similar magnitude (Brown 1995). However, for society to function harmoniously after government action, it requires their understanding and consent for the change and this installation is an example of a measure taken to influence people’s mindsets regarding tobacco usage by exposing its harmful nature.


Hodal, K. 2012, Indonesia’s smoking epidemic – and old problem getting younger, The Guardian, viewed 13 December 2017, <>.

Margolis, M. 2012, Uruguay Battles Big Tobacco over Cigarette Restrictions, News Week, viewed 13 December 2017, <>.

N/A. Uruguay’s tobacco control strategy delivers results, Framework Convention Alliance, viewed 14 December 2017, <>.

Gifford, E & Humphreys, K. 2007, ‘The psychological science of addiction’, Stanford University Medical Centre, vol. 102, no. 3, pp. 352-361.

Azevedo e Silva, G & Goncalvez Valente, J. 2012, ‘Tobacco control: learning from Uruguay’, University of Rio de Janeiro State, vol. 380, pp. 1538-1540.

Brown, B. 1995, ‘Cigarette Taxes and Smoking Restrictions: Impacts and Policy Implications’, Oxford University Press, vol. 77, no. 4, pp. 946-951.

Reuters. 2012, Indonesian Men are World’s Top Smokers, Thai Visa, viewed 13 December 2017, <>.

Campodonico, M. 2012, Two people walk through an anti-tobacco installation set up by Uruguay’s Resources National Fund, depicting cigarettes’ harmful components, in Montevideo, Uruguay, News Week, viewed 13 December 2017, <>.

Post D: The rise in popularity of culinary tourism and its impact on Indonesia

5926774-3x2-940x627(Gacad 2014)

Culinary tourism has been on the rise over recent years due to several factors including increasing public interest in food and the high density of food photography on social media platforms. The Ontario Culinary Tourism Alliance published a report where they state, “culinary tourists share millions of food and beverage themed photos daily across social platforms” and that “this increases travel consumers awareness of different cuisines and cultures and it fuels their desire to experience them.” (Parmar 2015). The consumption of authentic local food when travelling is a form of first-hand cultural experience (Hasselbeck 2017) and has grown to become one of the core reasons as to why people visit certain countries. For countries with economies that rely heavily on the tourism industry this may lead to issues regarding the exploitation of their cuisine and loss of tradition. Indonesia is a country well-known for their diverse array of regional cuisine and is one of the governments taking action to accommodate the large influx of tourists visiting the country.

Gudeg Jogja from Yogyakarta                Soto Betawi from Jakarta
(Photo: Traveller Tourism 2016)             (Photo: Weins 2015)

img110Map of Indonesia indicating popular regional foods

The tourism ministry of Indonesia has announced plans to turn Bali, an already popular tourist hotspot, into a food destination, where they will input more focus into their restaurants, holding food-tasting events and set up markets for travellers to taste food from all around the country. They have stated that their goal is to boost the number of tourists visiting Indonesia from 12 million in 2016 to 20 million by 2019 (Butler 2016). While it provides the convenience of tasting different regional dishes in one area, the process lacks the authenticity of consuming the food in its respective environment and immersing yourself in the culture.

There are other negative effects of mass tourism on Indonesian culture and traditional cuisine with one being the obstruction of visitors from an honest understanding as tourism “produces a form of mass seduction that alienates and disempowers consumers” (Gotham 2010). While tourists claim they would like to experience the authentic cuisine of different cultures, a study shows that they still look for a familiarity in the taste and ingredients (Wijaya et al. 2016). This is reinforced by the statement that a willingness to try new foods and explore different cultures, referred to as neophobia, is hindered by the natural scepticism in tasting something foreign, referred to as neophilia (Sengel et al. 2015). This can lead to a modification in traditional recipes to cater for foreigners to leave a positive impression of the country on them and promote visitation, inevitably resulting in a loss of culture.

Overall, whilst the tourism sector contributes greatly to the Indonesian economy with one of the country’s main appeals being their unique and diverse cuisine, it is important to note that the commoditisation of its local products brings consequences destructive to its culture.


Hasselbeck, A. 2017, The Rise of Food Tourism: How food tourism can boost the hospitality & tourism industry, Millionmetrics, viewed 7 December 2017, <>

Butler, A. 2016, Indonesia hopes to promote Bali as a gastronomic tourism destination, Lonely Planet, viewed 7 December 2017, <>

Parmar, P. 2015, How Culinary Tourism Is Becoming a Growing Trend in Travel, Huffington Post, viewed 7 December 2017, <>

Wijaya, S., Morrison, A., Nguyen, T., King, B. 2016, ‘Exploration of Culinary Tourism in Indonesia: What Do the International Visitors Expect?’, Asia Tourism Forum, pp. 375-379.

Sengel, T., Karagoz, A., Cetin, G., Dincer, F., Ertugral, S., Balik, M. 2015, ‘Tourists’ Approach to Local Food’, World Conference on Technology, Innovation and Entrepreneurship, pp. 429-437.

Gotham, K. 2010, Handbook of Cultural Sociology, Routledge, New York.

Derek, F. 2014, The Ultimate Indonesian Food Guide: Regional Dishes, weblog, The Holidaze, viewed 7 December 2017, <>

N/A. 2012, Kalimantan Favourite Dishes, weblog, Blogspot, viewed 7 December 2017, <>

N/A. 2012, Delicious taste of Indonesian foods: Sulawesi, weblog, Blogspot, viewed 7 December 2017, <>

Gacad, R. 2014, Indonesian street food, ABC, viewed 7 December 2017, <>

Traveller Tourism. 2016, Gudeg Tugu, Indonesia Tourism, viewed 7 December 2017, <>

Weins, M. 2015, Soto Betawi: An Indonesian Dish You Have to Eat in Jakarta, Migrationology, viewed 7 December 2017, <>