Academic Visit to Surakarta and Yogjakarta in Collaboration with Universitas Muhammadiyah Surakarta (UMS), 17th to 22nd August 2007


A bird-eye view of the landscape of Central Java is composed of Mount Merapi surrounded by undulating farmlands and village as well as three cities, Semarang, Surakarta and Yogjakarta. Undoubtedly, Mount Merapi, an active volcano, is the natural landmark of the Central Java landscape. Inasmuch, the cities are concentration of Javanese dwellings where products from the villages are gathered and traded. The grain of the cities is fine since the landscape is comprised of compact dwellings and low-rise shops. To understand the composition of the urban space, we have to traverse into the cities along their streets and alleys. Landscape urban design is the study of how land uses are planned and distributed on the landform that fit or misfit to inhabitant needs.

It examines why houses and their gardens are integrated to become homes that provide shelter and protection to urban dwellers and visitors. The homes are then known as place which meaning is only understood by its dwellers. As such adults perceived it as rest and work space while children viewed it as play space. A cluster of houses and shops formed a neighbourhood or district that served by streets and alleys. Streets, railways and walkways are lines that link people to their houses, shops and markets, open spaces and playgrounds, temples and mosques. Laweyan in Surakarta and Kota Gede in Yogjakarta are excellent examples of old neighbourhoods that signify harmonious integration of people with buildings and walls. Both are characterized by walls, confining people within and affording distinctive lifestyle that differs from those living outside the walled neighbourhoods.

In fact, Kota Gede is a small town within the city of Yogjakarta. Even though the layout of buildings and streets are haphazard, the residents have developed clear mental maps of these neighbourhoods. As such, to reach a residence, one has to traverse to two to three house compounds through doors and alleys. In short, the landscape planning is far contrast from the grid-iron pattern of terrace housing communities in Malaysia. Lifestyle of the urban people is signified by their daily routine and social behaviours. For example, the trading and buying in numerous wet markets in Surakarta and Yogjakarta denote the culture of Javanese of Central Java. In contrast, night market in towns in Malaysia, the people of Surakarta and Yogjakarta displayed their merchandises in the road shoulders and sidewalks and the trading begins at dawn.

Trishaws, horse-carriage, taxis, motorcycles criss-crossed in seemingly chaotic patterns, but yet politely negotiating through the crowd. The smell of fish, aroma of jasmines and cacophony of sounds from farm animals add to the diversity of the place of these Javanese cities. To understand the landscape properties and social attributes of people of the Surakarta and Yogjakarta, one has to be with the locals. Informal interviews and conversion with them enable us to know the meanings of the place from the perception and behavioural responses of the locals. Therefore, experiencing the place is essential.


The Department of Landscape Architecture, Universiti Teknologi Malaysia collaborated with the Department of Architecture, Universitas Muhammadiyah Surakarta in organizing a joint workshop and field visit in Surakarta, Bantul and Yogjakarta. Thirty students from UTM participated in the academic visit lead by a lecturer, Dr Ismail Said. On the other hand, UMS students were lead by the head the department, Wisnu Setiawan and assisted by dosen Alpha Febela Priyatmono. The visit was a prelude for UTM to collaborate with UMS in academic endeavour, both undergraduate and graduate levels.


After the visit the students acquired the following values:

  • Experience and understand the spatial pattern and building typology of Javanese cities.
  • Conduct a one-day urban design workshop with the architectural student of Universitas Muhammadiyah Surakarta.
  • Know the social attributes of people in Surakarta and Yogjakarta in relation to the urban landscape features.
  • Create generic skills including communication, critical thinking, adaptability of landscape planning skills and ethic of professionalism.


Date & Time





Thursday,         16 August 2007 11:00pm

Depart from UTM to LCCT Kuala Lumpur by bus   Friday,               17 August 2007 8.35am

Arrive in Solo ( Surakarta ) and depart to Yogyakarta   9.00am – 5.00pm-Directly go to Yogyakarta , stop  at Prambanan Temple Complex (on the way of Solo – Yogya

-Check in budget hotel go to Borobudur (50 kms in northern Yogya, approximately 1 hour from Yogya)Prambanan, or
Hotel University Gajah Mada-Rent bus from Yogyakarta

-Pay to enter Prambanan Temple Complex-Some of the participants need to do Friday Prayer on 12.00

-Program will be start at 13.00.

  • Understanding Temple Architecture and cultural heritage.
  • Understanding Temple Borobudur and their cultural heritage.

6:00pm -8:00pmDinner at Malioboro Street and nightscape of Yogjakarta

  • Nasi gudeg
  • Nasi bebek
  • Nasi ayam dara

8:00pm -9:00pmDiscussion on workshopHotel University Gajah Mada  Saturday, 18 August 2007 6:00am – 7:00am  7.00am – 8.00am

Pasar pagi

   8.00am – 2.00pmVisit Kota GedeKota Gede  2.00pm – 5.00pmVisit Kraton Yogyakarta or Tamansari (Royal Garden)Kraton Yogyakarta

  • Understanding about landscape and architecture,and also water garden at Tamansari that gives different view of royal garden.
  • Understanding about palace architecture & cultural landscape.

5.00pm – 9.00pmTown trail at Malioboro Street and DinnerMalioboro-Shopping Sunday,
19 August 2007
7.00am – 4.00pmField study on earthquake rehabilitation project in BantulImogiri, Bantul -On Sunday, artist and royal cemetery at Imogiri is open, possibly further visit to the cemetery on the hilltop.

-Following the celebration of the Independence Day, people usually use the nearest Sunday for festival, presenting games, art performance, etc. It will be perfect time to enjoy community festival so that participants can even participate on the events.

4.00pm – 6.00pmBack to Surakarta   6.00pm – 7.00pmCheck in Laweyan homestay   7.00pm – 9.00pmDinner and informal discussion [see program]Laweyan  Monday,
20 August 2007
9.00am – 8.00pmOn site Urban design project in Kampung Batik Laweyan [see program]Laweyan  Tuesday,
21 August 2007

Depart to UMS

   8.30am – 12.00pmPresentation of urban design scheme [plenary workshop & discussion]UMS  12.00pm – 6.00pmVisit pasar, masjid, alun-alun and Sultan’s FortKraton Surakarta  7.00pm – 9.00pmDinner & Closing ceremonyLaweyan  Wednesday,
22 August 2007
6:30 am

Depart to airport

   12.35pmArrive at LCCT and back to UTM by bus   


  • Purpose

The purpose of this project is to let UTM’s students (landscape architecture) to collaborate with UMS’s students (architecture) in design a small outdoor space in Laweyan. The collaboration will afford students from both universities to exchange landscape design and planning ideas. In addition, students can gain some generic skills such as communication in Bahasa Indonesia and English and critical thinking on design and planning spaces for people. The space can be a compound of a mosque or house, a playground, or an alley. The outcome of the project is a conceptual design of the space sensible to the needs of the residents of the place.

  • Schedule and Scope of Work
Time Scope of Work
20 August  
7:30 to 9:00am Kampung trail: Listen to people and listen to the landscape Lead by Pak Alpha
9:00 to 10:30am -Site visit and inventory of space such as an alun-alun, a cluster of space of several house compounds, a street, and a laman of a mosque.-Divide UTM and UMS students to 3 groups: (1) UTM only, (2) UMS only, and a mix of UTM and UMS
10:30 to 12:00am -Lecture by Pak Alpha: History of Laweyan
-Site analysis and conceptual design
-Theme: Cultural landscape and green infrastructure
12:00 noon to 1:00pm Solat and lunch break
1:00 pm to 8:00pm -Refinement of Conceptual plan in A3 size paper and free-hand drawing
-Preliminary Master Plan on A1 butter paper
21 August  
8:00 am Depart to UMS
8:30 to 11:00am Presentation of Conceptual plan and Preliminary Master Plan by the 3 groups
11:10am to 12:00noon Lecture by Ismail Said: Children’s Environment: Listen to Children’s Voices