The Complexity of Contextuality: A Case Study on Vertical Housing Facilities in Surabaya, Indonesia

Joko Adianto, Mohammad Fazrin Rahman, Rossa Turpuk Gabe, Adinda Christina

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

2 Citations (Scopus)


Vertical housing has been considered an effective way to provide low-income housing in many megacities. As part of an effort to implement contextual architectural design, vertical housing projects in Surabaya, East Java, Indonesia, incorporated shared kitchens and bathrooms as observed in Indonesian kampong (slum) settlements. However, the residents eventually converted their shared kitchen spaces to other uses and constructed kitchens in their individual units. This research study investigated the nature of and reasons for such transformations through quantitative and qualitative data collection among residents of three vertical housing projects in Surabaya. We found that disputes over upkeep and rules of use, along with perceived invasions of privacy, precipitated the abandonment of shared kitchens. Residents could not retrofit their shared bathrooms for structural reasons, but they renegotiated a payment system (based on flat fees rather than actual usage) that they considered unfair. Interviews revealed significant differences in implementation between the shared facilities in vertical housing and the voluntary shared arrangements in the kampongs. The facility and management modifications that occurred in vertical housing, which applied bottom-up contextual design by considering users’ needs and sensitivities, indicate the complexity of applying a contextual design process into practice.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)99-112
Number of pages14
JournalEnvironment and Urbanization ASIA
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 17 Apr 2022


  • kampong settlements
  • shared facility
  • spatial code
  • Surabaya
  • Vertical housing


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