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The role of collaborative spatial learning in improving participatory planning and budgeting practices in Indonesia

Student:Aulia Akbar
Timeline:October 2016 - 9 October 2020

Musrenbang is an annual participatory planning and budgeting meeting in Indonesia to discuss and formulate the prospective projects and programs to be financed in the next year. It is implemented at different scales from village, sub-district, district, province, to the national level and attended by various stakeholders ranging from the government officials, citizens to other stakeholders such as CBOs, NGOs, and the private sector. Despite the fact that the Musrenbang is regulated firmly by the law to ensure a participatory planning and budgeting practice, the implementation often does not meet the goals as stated in the law. Musrenbang meetings are often conducted poorly, held more like a ‘ceremonial’ activity which tends to favor certain groups, in particular the government elites, while limiting citizens’ involvement in the planning processes. The different types of knowledge owned by the various stakeholders are not utilized optimally, affecting the communication and collaboration among them. The participatory process often fails to stimulate the stakeholders to express their knowledge explicitly at the Musrenbang meeting and the integration of knowledge among stakeholders is thus very limited.

Photos: Musrenbang implementation meetings

This limited integration of knowledge is furthermore exacerbated by the fact that only limited data/information available to support the deliberative processes of Musrenbang. There are two common sets of data and information that are often absent in the Musrenbang practice: data and information such as village maps, public services and infrastructure as well as the social issues that are useful to support the needs and priorities; and data and information about planning and budgeting procedures. The utilization of maps is rarely found to support the deliberative processes of Musrenbang implementation.

 An example of a current village map

Regarding this issue, it is important to investigate how and to what extend a collaborative spatial learning methodology can help in facilitating knowledge integration and social learning among stakeholders as well as producing joint data and information to support the Musrenbang implementation. Thus, this study aims to develop and test a collaborative spatial learning methodology that would help the knowledge integration and social learning among stakeholders in a participatory planning and budgeting practice. The proposed methodology includes conducting a thorough investigation towards the Musrenbang implementation, developing a collaborative spatial learning methodology, conducting workshops to implement the methodology, and assessing the impact of the methodology to the Musrenbang implementation. Four major output are expected from this study: (1) a comprehensive understanding about the Musrenbang governance processes; (2) a collaborative spatial learning methodology; (3) testing the methodology to the stakeholders in terms of knowledge integration, produce joint data/information, and social learning; (4) assessment result of the impact of knowledge integration, joint data/information and social learning of the stakeholders towards the Musrenbang participatory planning and budgeting practice. For that purpose, four villages in Deli Serdang district, Indonesia are chosen as the case study.

Meet the team

A. Akbar (Aulia)
Graduate Student M.F.A.M. van Maarseveen (Martin)
dr. J.A. Martinez (Javier)
dr. J. Flacke (Johannes)
Research theme
People, Land and Urban Systems

In PLUS research, people are our focus. Everyone is included, from societal thought-leaders, to government policy makers, to high-level civil society advocates – through to entrepreneurs and citizens, including the disenfranchised. These people are our collaborators, our participants, our beneficiaries, our users. PLUS focuses on understanding the spatial information needs of society and responding to those needs in responsible ways – as tools, as systems, as infrastructure, or as ways of thinking. Our work sits at the nexus of urbanization, land tenure, governance, climate change, and transportation – and the grand challenges of sustainability and social equity in the age of the anthropocene.

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