Accepted paper:

Going up: vertical living, middle classes and urban futures in a Jakarta Mega Complex


Suzanne Naafs (University of South Australia)

Paper short abstract:

This paper discusses how middle class residents in a mega housing complex in Jakarta understand and experiment with new forms of vertical living as they work towards their futures.

Paper long abstract:

Vertical living has become increasingly part of middle class life in Jakarta, mostly in the form of upscale condominiums and, more recently, high-rise units in vast residential housing complexes. While the trend towards vertical living mirrors similar developments in other cities in East and Southeast Asia, relatively little is known about social life inside Jakarta's mega housing complexes. Drawing on six months of ethnographic research conducted in 2015, this paper discusses middle class residents' understandings and experiences of vertical living in Kalibata City, a high-rise mega complex consisting of 19 towers and approximately 14,000 residents. On the one hand, vertical living offers Kalibata residents privacy and anonymity, ample speculation and investment opportunities, and a claim to modern city life with all its moral ambiguities. At the same time, many residents anticipate that they will temporarily live in Kalibata, as they own other property elsewhere or hope to use Kalibata as a platform to launch their professional careers and branch out into the wider city. This paper considers residents' views and experiences with vertical living, as well as their various attachments, detachment and circulations within Kalibata and its surroundings as they try to establish themselves in the wider city.

panel Dwe03
Material moralities of homes and housing