Rethinking the minimum space standard in Indonesia: tracing the social, culture and political view through public housing policies

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9 Citations (Scopus)


According to the Constitutional Decree (Indonesia, the President of the Republic of Indonesia, Article 27, 1945), living in a healthy and comfortable space is a basic human right. In modern times, proper dwellings for all citizens are continually acknowledged, in most government regulations on public housing. To provide affordable accommodation to all Indonesians, the Dutch colonial government standardised the living space of Indonesian houses. However, the minimum space standard created by the Dutch government attracted many objections, mainly from local Indonesians. Discrimination and inferiority-complex promotion were among the factors triggering its rejection by locals. This paper investigates the sociocultural and political implications of imposing the minimum space standard on public housing in Indonesia. This paper follows the timeframe from the beginning of Woningvraagstuk (Housing Question) in 1901, which started the first recorded standardised housing plan for Indonesians by the Dutch government, to the Kongres Perumahan Rakjat Sehat (Congress on Healthy Public Housing) in 1950, conducted by Indonesian patriots endorsing the ‘from locals to locals, by locals’ spirit. With current research and development on public housing standards focusing on land-use, human anthropometry and health issues, this paper develops a fresh perspective on the discourse of public housing in Indonesia. To this end, it traces the social, political and cultural aspects at significant turning points in Indonesia’s history. The discussion relates to major events in social housing to the housing policies released by Indonesian governments. Finally, it argues that any newly proposed minimum space standards cannot be separated from the current sociocultural conditions.

Original languageEnglish
JournalJournal of Housing and the Built Environment
Publication statusPublished - 12 Aug 2020


  • Historical timeframe
  • Housing policy
  • Indonesia’s sociocultural
  • Minimum space standard
  • Public housing


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