Reflections on the Joint Studio by Diponegoro University Students

Post by Diana Kristina, Master’s Student in Urban Planning and Development, Diponegoro University

We are master’s students from Diponegoro University’s Urban and Regional Development program and we would like to share our perspective on the Joint Studio experience. We have been working with the Unversity of Hawai’i, Mãnoa (UH) students for the past two months. It’s been an incredible experience. When we first began to approach the complex community of Kemijen it was daunting for us. It made us think of the Lao Tzu saying that: “The journey of a thousand miles begins with one step (Lao Tzu)

Our first steps began by using the vulnerability framework to understand ways to develop plans to build resilience in the urban village of Kemijen.


We initially began our partnership in September by meeting on a weekly basis over teleconference. At first it felt awkward and we were quiet, especially because we were not confident in our English speaking abilities. The Hawaii students always encouraged us to be more active however and it helped us to gain confidence. When the UH students arrived they treated us to a wonderful opening ceremony. They shared with us about cultural practices and traditions of Hawai’i. This was a great start and we then began planning for our transect walks in Kemijen.


Many initial aspects of Kemijen affected us. We felt the warmth of the community immediately upon arrival. Children would come up to us and greet us, and the community members there were very open to be interviewed, often times inviting us to enter their homes.

This was just a beginning however. After getting familiar with the community we had to also go through all the documents we have been studying. We also had to make plans about the key questions we would ask of the community.

On the third day engaging with the field site, we began a full day of household surveys. The sun was hot and stung as we walked throughout the different alleyways that connect Kemijen as a community. We split up into teams and each team was about to complete about 7 interviews on average throughout the day. When we had to travel beyond walking distance, here are some of the pictures of the local transportation that we used.

By “Becak”

By “Angkot”
Here are some images of the interviews and interactions that we had with the local community:

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On the fifth and six days we returned to the classroom to begin conducting some preliminary analysis. We went through brainstorming sessions where we got stuck, and had some breakthroughs, and we also had moments where we had to escape the intensive work to seek some fresh air.



After our analysis it was time to prepare for our presentation at the International Conference for Regional Development at the Mayor’s office. On the same eve

ning we also went back to Kemijen to present to the community to get their input about our findings, and suggestions on how our research can help to build resilience.



On behalf of the Diponegoro University students we want to say thanks to UH for this partnership. Thanks for the joint faculty lectures and facilitation from all our counterparts. Most importantly we would like to say thanks to the people of Kemijen. We learned so much from all of you and this experience has so much enriched our understanding of Urban Planning and Development.

Our overall experiences can be encapsulated in the following quote by B.J. Gallagher: “Life’s not about waiting for the storms to pass… it’s about learning to dance in the rain.” (B.J. Gallagher)



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