Spotlight on... Dr Ofita Purwani

SEAC Visiting Senior Fellow Dr Ofita Purwani

"While Yogyakarta was considered as a royal traditional city, with 'high' traditional value represented in spatial layout and built environment, what happen after the 2012 Law of Specialness of Yogyakarta shows that 'the traditional' can be compromised to fit contemporary needs."

Introducing Dr Ofita Purwani, SEAC Visiting Senior Fellow and Associate Professor at the School of Architecture, Universitas Sebelas Maret, Indonesia. 

1.What will you be working on during your time as SEAC Visiting Fellow?

I will be working on a project about urban development in Yogyakarta after decentralisation. Yogyakarta is one royal city (and extended to the level of province), which has a special status in decentralised Indonesia. The Law of Specialness of Yogyakarta which was passed in 2012 has brought significant changes to urban and spatial development. Some of the changes respond to the national strategic development project that spread along the south coast of Java, while others focus on mass tourism, which lead to displacement on a large scale. The royal court seems to abandon its traditional role of keeping people safe by preferring private corporations rather than the people. While Yogyakarta was always considered as a royal city which is traditional, with ‘high’ traditional value which is represented in spatial layout and built environment, what happens after 2012 shows that ‘the traditional’ can be compromised to fit contemporary needs. 

I will write a book proposal on this topic during my stay at LSE SEAC. 

2.What led you to your field of study/what inspired your interest in these topics?

I used to live in Yogyakarta and Surakarta. Both cities are royal cities, with related historical backgrounds. I cannot help but compare both as I feel that there are significant differences between them. I found out later in my PhD research that they were mainly because of the different levels of authority of the royal courts in each city. I also found in my PhD that some royal institutions still have a significant influence even today, which is not covered by the literature that I know. My time as a visiting fellow at Yale-NUS in 2020 reconnected me with Prof Jane M. Jacobs whom I know several years back in Edinburgh. During contact with her,  I realise that what I found during my PhD can be developed into further research. 

3. How do you like to relax and unwind?

There are several activities that I like to do to unwind. Sleeping is definitely one of them.  All the heavy burden always feels lighter for me after sleep. I also like to have a walk in the park. Being in nature always makes me happy. Cats is another special hobby for me. I have been living with cats since I was little.  I also love jogging and working out. I always feel strong after finishing my workout, and I love that feeling. I also love singing in my spare time, usually while doing some work. But I sing for myself, not for public . 

 Ofita casual2