Questioning Urban Symbolism in the Old City of Semarang

Yulia Nurliani Lukito, Putri Widya Pratama

Research output: Contribution to journalConference articlepeer-review


The aim of this paper is to analyze urban symbolism in the old city of Semarang, Central Java that is created from the physical and the non-physical elements of the city. Through historical analysis, the paper attempts to relate the physical elements that come from the structure of the city, such as buildings and transportation, with the non-physical elements that come from history and events. When Dutch colonialism came to an end, some colonial buildings in the old city of Semarang started to be neglected. However, urban symbolism created from trading, transportation and culture provides layers to the identity and culture of the city, which includes Chinese, Arab and indigenous culture. Recent effort to revitalize the city focuses primarily on physical aspects, rather than balancing both physical and non-physical aspects of the old city of Semarang. The result of this paper reveals that balancing both physical and non-physical elements of the city means taking a step further in understanding important things for the city. Moreover, understanding urban symbolism is necessary in sustaining the history and identity of the city as well as in giving direction to the development of the old city of Semarang.

Original languageEnglish
Article number012027
JournalIOP Conference Series: Earth and Environmental Science
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 28 Dec 2018
Event2nd International Conference on Sustainability in Architectural Design and Urbanism, ICSADU 2018 - Semarang, Indonesia
Duration: 29 Aug 2018 → …


  • colonial building
  • history of Semarang
  • old city of Semarang
  • urban symbolism


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