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Contesting alun-alun: Power relations, identities and the production of urban space in Bandung, Indonesia

The city is a site where the meaning of buildings, monuments, open spaces and behaviour interweave, and where ideologies and power relations between three agents (the state, civil society and the market) are inscribed in the urban iconography and everyday life, forming interlacing triangles of relationships. This article studies the networks of actors involved in the transformation of the Masjid Raya (Grand Mosque) and alun-alun (the traditional Javanese central urban square) in Bandung, Indonesia. It explores the complexity and the shifting nexus of power relations, and examines the merging and distancing practices between agents, and the blurring of boundaries. Civil society is of central importance in placemaking, yet it is diverse and plural. Thus a particular group’s identity politics can dominate the production of space with ideologies influencing interactions and the social construction of space. Individual actors and their social relations play important roles in producing and appropriating urban spaces, as well as constructing and reconstructing spatial meanings.

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