Space of Representation

The New Attractive City: the rooting of place-making through urban tourism in the era of decentralization. Case study of Palembang, Indonesia.

Ammalia Podlaszewska 

This research focuses on the theme of city attractiveness in the era of inter-urban competition beyond the geographical boundaries. It delivers the concept of global tourism trend and the way in which it intertwines with the locally rooted place-making in the shifting of political climate. In the period after the economic turmoil in the early 2000´s, Indonesian local governments had adopted an active decentralization policy and were constrained in establishing efficient strategy in order to adapt to their new role and responsibilities. This state of affair has settled every city into the stage of active place branding in attempt to gain competitive advantage in attracting foreign and domestic investment.

As a response, urban tourism has become a significant force of growth especially given the industry’s product development opportunities on a global and local scale. The tourism becomes “urbanization”, where cities became the new combination of destination and origin, and thus they are the regional economic centers. Tourism development highlights the twin processes of globalization and localization that define modern urbanization and restructuring process (Wyly Hammel, 1998, p.302). It is the interconnection between global and local which account for the particular ways in which an area of local history and culture is made available and transformed into a resource for local economic and social development within a globally evolving economy and society.

This research embraces the notion of place-making as the result of social construction which emphasis on how places fundamentally constituted by social relations and economically converged into a recourses of capital; it adherents with the intersection of mobility between residents and tourists (Massey, 2005; Murdoch, 2006; Sheller and Urry, 2006) and commodication of space by the industry practitioners. The dynamic is transcribed into the uses of sites among residents and tourists, even if it should not be taken merely to imply a focus of analysis, however, the place-making concept is crucial to pinpoint interrelated situations where locality is introduced, articulated and performed (Hall, 2011). The thesis locates its main arguments in the interrelationship of tourism with place-making as such a myopic phenomenon; to what extent is it place-making relates to community and local identity and to what extent is a social and spatial structure of the city being transformed by the tourism place-making endeavor.


Key words: Urban Tourism, place-making, decentralization, planning strategy, Indonesia