Congratulations go to Marco Kusumawijaya, who just launched his new book, titled Kota Rumah Kita (The City, Our Home), last night in Aksara Bookstore, Kemang. I'll write a review about the book later, but now I'll just highlight some points from the launch.
It's encouraging to have a book on (Indonesian) cities that has some theoretical dimensions, but is also very clear in its activist stand. A number of (Indonesian) urban planners and architects have also written books on a similar topic, but they tend to be highly theory oriented, and lacking any drive to push for change. Marco is one of the few activist-architects who writes well, and there's a good chance that this book can inspire people to do something.
Ayu Utami, author of Saman, gave a welcome note on this book. I only remember one thing about her speech: that efforts should be taken to build a "middle class consortium." Someone then questioned whether or not that is bourgeoisie instead. Marco then explained that for too long, the middle class has been helped by the lower class, in terms of advocacy for public interests. For example, it's the lower class who first protested the hundreds of million rupiahs allocated yearly for Jakarta governor's clothes and furniture. Any how, Marco views that an organized society (or society composed of organized people-based entities) is the way to go.
To be honest, I'm a bit skeptical of the "middle class consortium." Not many members of the "middle class" are like Marco and Ayu, who is relatively "independent" in terms of income. Most are working for large corporations, and highly dependent on such corporations to continue and enjoy their "good life." I do agree with the second part, though, that an organized society is a stronger society.