As the Covid-19 pandemic enters its sixth month in Indonesia, the central and local governments have begun to loosen restrictions to avoid further deterioration of the economy, despite the fact that daily case numbers continue to rise. For the tens of millions of Indonesians living in the country’s densely populated cities, this will prove to be a particularly difficult test. The pandemic has highlighted tensions between the informality that characterises these large cities, and the bureaucracies struggling to deal with this major public health crisis.

What did ‘large scale social distancing’ (PSBB) look like in Indonesia’s cities? How is public space being organised under PSBB to accommodate the large informal sector? And as markets, malls, mosques and cinemas open up again, how will Indonesia’s urban dwellers respond?

In Talking Indonesia this week, Dr Jemma Purdey explores these questions with Dr Amanda Achmadi, a senior lecturer in architectural design, Asian architecture and urbanism at the Melbourne School of Design, The University of Melbourne.

In 2020, the Talking Indonesia podcast is co-hosted by Dr Jemma Purdey from Monash University and the Australia-Indonesia Centre, Dr Dave McRae from the University of Melbourne’s Asia Institute, Dr Charlotte Setijadi from Singapore Management University and Dr Dirk Tomsa from La Trobe University.

Look out for a new Talking Indonesia podcast every fortnight. Catch up on previous episodes here, subscribe via iTunes or listen via your favourite podcasting app.


Photo by Nova Wahyudi for Antara.


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