Professor Johan Woltjer, Professor of Urban Infrastructures from the University’s Centre for Urban Infrastructures, and David Mathewson, Lecturer on the International Planning and Sustainable Development MA course, recently returned from a field research and knowledge exchange program about urban water in Indonesia.
The collaborative research, funded by the Global Challenges Research Fund, involved knowledge exchange with public stakeholders at the Ministry of Works and workshops with research staff at Bandung Institute of Technology and Sebelas Maret University.
The project took place as a result of the provision of water resources becoming an increasingly pressing issue across the globe. Water resource issues were found to be particularly prevalent in urban areas of less developed countries, and so it was important for these areas to have preparations for flood protection and access to fresh water.
Professor Woltjer and David Mathewson’s research in Indonesia discovered the growing need for transformative thinking around urban growth and water-related vulnerabilities of less developed areas.
Their research also identifies the requirement for new urban patterns and adaptive urban management against floods. The academics concluded that there is a need for increased awareness of the inequalities implied by differences in flood exposure and a greater understanding of the political control issues around controlled access to water resources.
Speaking about the project, David Mathewson said: “The research trip went very well and we were able to meet with a number of contacts who could provide us with a variety of evidence, answered many questions and clarified a number of points that had remained unclear.
“As part of our visit to Jakarta we were taken on a tour of new flood works and associated infrastructure and In Bandung we facilitated a workshop on our research with colleagues from ITB who are undertaking similar research with some crossover areas and potential for new research in future. Overall the trip was highly successful and answered our questions as well as providing us with new areas of data.”