Yogyakarta, 23-25 May 2012

Faculty of Civil Engineering and Planning, Universitas Islam Indonesia


Call for Papers

Livable cities in the fast-growing countries


In recent years, livability is seen as one of the indicators for assessing quality of living in cities around the world. Melbourne was recently selected as the most livable city in the world. The selection was conducted by the Economist Intelligence Unit, who based their selection on a combination of factors related to the environment, health care, culture and infrastructure systems. However, the results of such a survey suggest that none of the top ten most livable cities in the world are the cities of the fast-growing countries in the global south. This leads to the perception that, using the same indicators, cities like Jakarta, Mumbai, and Rio de Janeiro, will never be seen as ‘livable’ cities – a paradox to the facts that these cities own a much higher population than cities in the north, yet significantly contribute to the stability of the global economy, regardless of the fact that a significant number of residents of these cities inhabit informal and squatters’ settlements.


With over one billion people in the world living in slums today[1], urban informality becomes part of everyday life in the urban global south. Therefore, the challenge of making a city livable in such a region is to bridge the gap between formal/informal systems, rich/poor citizens, healthy/unhealthy environment, etc. In the light of Amartya Sen’s notion of development, bridging the above gaps means to minimize or eradicate factors that hinder such development, which Sen calls ‘unfreedom’. For Amartya Sen, development is seen as a way to achieve freedom by ‘removing unfreedom’.

Inspired by the above notion, the conference aims to better understand how livability is perceived in the fast-growing cities of the south. What kinds of ‘unfreedom’ need to be tackled in the planning and design of the built environment in order to achieve such livability? This conference is intended to provide a venue for sharing the knowledge and experiences among actors of development in coping with the issues related to livability in the urban built environment, which include issues such as waste management, transportation, disaster mitigation, informal settlement, food security, and accessibility; and to develop instruments for assessing such livability in the urban global south.


Tentative schedule

Thursday – Saturday, 24 – 26 May 2012



Conference room, Central Library Building, Universitas Islam Indonesia, Yogyakarta, Indonesia


Main subthemes

Urban disaster mitigation and conflict management

Natural hazards (i.e. earthquake, floods) pose a threat to people, their cities’ infrastructure and the environment. Urban areas are particularly vulnerable not only because of the concentration of population but also due to the interplay between people, buildings and technological systems. Disasters and conflicts pose a threat to sustainable development as they have the potential to destroy decades of investment and cause the deviation of resources intended for primary tasks such as education, health and infrastructure. Therefore, an effort has to be made to reduce the negative impacs of disaster and conflict especially in urban areas. Topics for this theme include (but are not limited to) the following areas of study:

    Cost-effective construction technology

    Construction management in disaster-prone areas

    Urban flood management

    Reducing the impact of earthquakes in cities

    Managing social conflict in urban areas

    Preventing fire hazard in the high density urban areas


Integrating formal/informal urban systems

Almost a decade ago UN-Habitat estimates that nearly one billion people in the world live in slums, and most of these slums are located in Asia, Africa, and Latin America. Slums, informal and squatter’s settlements are words often freely interchanged. They describe settlements created and managed outside the state planning control. Kampung in urban Indonesia exemplifies such types of settlement. They are typically formed and maintained through self-generated systems, which are partly or wholly separated from the formal or state engineered systems. While efforts to improve kampung and to eradicate slums are countless, these settlements continue to grow and evolve over time. This theme looks at how such informality links to the formal urban systems and how informal systems play their role as both an asset and a liability in the development of the built environment. Topics within this theme may include the following areas of study:

      Sustainable urban transportation system

      Innovative waste management

      Access to public spaces for the disabled

      Land tenure in urban housing development

      Desakota development

Urban food security and agriculture

The rapid pace of urbanization has led cities in developing countries to face the disappearance of its agricultural landscape, often caused by leapfrog development. Scholars use the term ‘leapfrog development’ to describe the built environment created by developers, which occurs at some distance from the existing urban areas. In many cases, the gap between the new built environment and the existing urban areas typically occur as vacant land instead of productive agricultural land. Lack of attention to such phenomena by actors of development has caused the ongoing destruction of the existing agricultural land in the urban fringe, which may disturb urban food security. This theme looks at the relationship between urbanization and food security through the balanced interplay between the built environment and spaces for productive agriculture. Topics within this theme include (but are not limited to) the following areas of study:

    Securing urban land for agriculture

    Water management for urban agriculture

    Integrating urban housing and agriculture

    Infrastructure for urban agriculture

    Policies in urban food security


Engineering the public attitude towards development

The development of the urban built environment is not only a domain for planners, architects, engineers, and the authorities. In fact, urban built environments in the global south are mostly self-created by the community without authority’s intervention. The problem occurs when it comes to the integration of such built environments (parts) to become an assemblage (whole) of the urban environment. These parts may be difficult to integrate with each other because each part is self-created by the community through their own consensus, which may not be compatible with that of the other parts. To this extent, policies of intervention may be introduced to engineer the public’s attitude towards development. This theme focuses on how public attitudes could be engineered to match the expected outcomes of development. Suggested topics include the following areas of study:

     Public participation in urban development

     Knowledge transfer in development

     Policies in infrastructure planning

     Strategies for improving public awareness in development

     Public attitudes in neighborhood development


Important dates

    First announcement: 24 August 2011

    Deadline for abstract submission: 1 December 2011

    Notification of abstract acceptance: 15 December 2011

    Deadline for full paper submission: 1 March 2012

    Conference: 24-26 May 2012


Guidelines for abstract submission

Abstract must be written in English, maximum 350 words, using 12pt Times New Roman font type. Include author’s full name, affiliated organization (if available), and email address. The document may be formatted in doc, docx, or pages (for Mac), with a pdf conversion.

Please send the abstract electronically to [email protected] or [email protected] with carbon-copy (cc) to [email protected] and [email protected] by the above due date.



The international Conference in Sustainable Built Environment (ICSBE) is a forum initiated by the Faculty of Civil Engineering and Planning, Universitas Islam Indonesia (UII), through collaborations with worldwide universities and research institutions. The conference is aimed at nurturing the study, comprehension, and appreciation of the built environment.


The conference is intended to provide a forum for exchanging of ideas, sharing of knowledge, and dissemination of information about the study of the built environment in different parts of the world. It seeks to further develop regional and international network of academics, professionals, and policy makers on the management of the built environment.

The first ICSBE was held in May 2010 in Yogyakarta, with the theme ‘Enhancing  Disaster Prevention and Mitigation’, which attracted participants from 8 countries, who presented 74 selected papers. In response to the interests of the participants, ICSBE is intended to be set as an annual conference.


Universitas Islam Indonesia

Established in 1945, Universitas Islam Indonesia (UII) is the oldest private university in Indonesia. The university hosts approximately 20,000 students from almost all of the major provinces of Indonesia and a few from abroad. UII has five campuses, four of which are located within the city of Yogyakarta, and the main campus where the conference will be held is situated in the northern fringe of the city, halfway between the magnificent Mount Merapi and the CBD. Yogyakarta has recently been regarded as the most livable city in Indonesia, based on a survey conducted by the Indonesian Association of Planners (Ikatan Ahli Perencanaan Indonesia) in 2011.


Further information

Further information regarding the registration fee, paper submission guidelines, and a detailed program schedule will be sent along with the notification of the accepted abstract.


Proposed collaborating institutions:

     University of Melbourne, Australia

     Curtin University, Australia

     Deakin University, Australia

     De La Salle University, Philippines

     Eastern Mediterranean University, TRNC

     Hokkaido University, Japan

     ITC – University of Twente, Netherlands

     Karlsruhe Institute of Technology, Germany

     Near East University, TRNC

     Universiti Kebangsaan Malaysia

     University of Sistan and Baluchestan, Iran

      Xavier University, Philippines

[1] Based on the UN estimation in 2007.

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