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working homes and painted pavements: The Meaning and Use of Space in Home Based Enterprises in Surabaya, Indonesia

Part 1 Dissertation 2000
Wendy Bishop
Newcastle University Newcastle-Upon-Tyne UK
Wendy Bishop

A dissertation submitted as part of the examination for the degree of BArch
University of Newcastle Upon Tyne
January 2000

ABSTRACT (352 words)

Throughout the world, many people use their homes for income-generation as well as for residential needs. These Home Based Enterprises (HBE's) play an important economic role in developing countries in particular. Although the domestic environment has been extensively analysed, the social and spatial implications of working in the home has often been overlooked.

This dissertation provides a complementary study to a research project currently being conducted by the Centre for Architectural Research and Development Overseas (CARDO) at the University of Newcastle Upon Tyne, comparing the effects of HBE's on the residential environment in the cities of four developing countries. To augment this more quantitative study this dissertation looks at the qualitative aspects of the home and HBE in one of these sites, a kampung (urban neighbourhood) in Surabaya, Indonesia. A two month period of participant observation was conducted, living with a local family, and using my fluency in Bahasa Indonesia (the national language) to directly engage with HBE owners and the general community. Through the use of recorded conversations and first-hand experiences, as well as sketches, plans and photographs, this dissertation records the vitality and complexity of the kampung's physical and social environment and explores how this is intertwined with economic concerns. The flowers painted on the pavements in Banyu Urip, Surabaya, Indonesia, are part of a rich layering of meanings and uses that both separate and integrate the working realm with that of the household, and the individual home with the community.

When dealing with architecture at this micro level of low-income households, preconceived notions of domestic space, as distinct from working space, are called into question and we are forced to rethink the analysis of these spaces in terms of the fundamental links between behaviour and the built environment. Social and spatial relationshgips within the kampung are examined, using the concept of boundary, as manifested in space, time and activity, to see how such relationships are manipulated. The multi-layered meanings associated with the overlapping uses are, it is argued, integral to a greater understanding of housing in this context and to a more holistic approach to architectural design in general.

Wendy Bishop


This is a fascinating anthropological study of home and neighbourhood. It is a thoughtful piece, full of fresh insights and diligently set in a broader context. The student has done a considerable amount of personal primary research, but despite her focus on the importance of everyday living in a foreign context, and evident empathy with the subject, has not allowed her objective judgement to be clouded. Her research methodology is sound and the material is given a sound theoretical grounding. It is a delight to read and beautifully presented.

2000
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