Exploring Indonesia's Strategic Development Regions Corridors Programme

How the governance of development corridors is instrumental in moving towards sustainability
Photo of Gitasanti with diploma and Erasmus statue

Meet Gitasanti Djais, IHS' recent alumna who successfully defended her PhD dissertation on Indonesia's Strategic Development Regions Corridors programme in March. Her research dives into how governance of this innovative programme, which aims for sustainability, influences and shapes the behaviours of the involved actors.

More sustainable development corridors 

Woman walking on a street in Indonesia
Febrian Adi on Unsplash

Countries prioritise investments in development corridors to speed up economic growth and development in certain regions, often across administrative borders. Since 2015, Indonesia has pursued established the "Strategic Development Regions" Corridors programme, departing from the traditional sectoral approach to regional development approach that adopts a more holistic perspective.

Conventional corridor planning also often overlooks environmental and socio-cultural concerns, posing challenges for sustainability. Achieving true sustainability requires balancing the environmental, social, and economic dimensions while involving diverse stakeholders with their knowledge and implementation capacities. Nevertheless, the involved actors have different perceptions, objectives, and strategies that influence the program's outcomes, which is why governance became instrumental in achieving aligned strategies and joint actions towards sustainability.

Cityscape of Denpasar, Indonesia
Dendy Darma on Unsplash

Looking at Indonesia

Gitasanti took Gilimanuk-Denpasar-Padangbai and Yogyakarta-Solo-Semarang Corridors as her case studies. To analyse the cases, she developed a conceptual framework that integrated theories of regional development, corridor development, and sustainable development to generate concepts of governance factors and interaction processes of actors that can steer a corridor development towards sustainability outcomes.   

Her findings revealed a shift from an initial economic focus to a broader consideration of sustainability. The early vision for sustainability within the corridors, supported by consistent process management and process design, enabled the involvement and support of sustainability actors who possessed local, tacit, and codified knowledge and different implementation capacities. However, limitations persisted due to the initial top-down focus on economics and the lack of inclusivity throughout the planning rounds, leading to delineations primarily centred on economic factors with predominant hard infrastructure programmes, which hindered local innovation from soft infrastructure programmes and the switch from a government-centric approach to a more collaborative setting.

Overall, her research on the governance of sustainable corridor development has the potential to enrich the theories of corridor development on the need for holistic approaches that prioritise balancing environmental, social, and economic considerations from the outset when aiming for sustainability. It also informs policymakers on corridor projects regarding key governance factors and the complexity of actors' interaction processes that can influence the navigation of the corridor's sustainability.

 A rich tapestry

Gitasanti Djais with PhD peers

When asked about her time at IHS, Gitasanti mentioned that the multicultural environment at IHS provided a rich tapestry of perspectives and experiences that greatly enriched her academic and personal growth during her PhD journey. The flexible structure of the PhD programme allowed her to customize her coursework to align with her research needs. She had flexible deadlines and could schedule supervisory meetings based on availability, accommodating both her and her mentors' agendas. 

According to her, the faculty at IHS was also supportive and understanding, offering tailored guidance and mentorship, particularly during the pandemic. This support allowed her to adjust her research timelines, schedule remote supervision meetings, and access necessary resources and services, contributing to a conducive academic and professional environment where she could thrive. When asked what advice she would give to future candidates, Gitasanti shared:

"My advice would be to choose a topic you're truly passionate about, find a supportive advisor and research environment, and be prepared for a challenging but rewarding journey of intellectual growth and discovery."

You might also like

Compare @count study programme

  • @title

    • Duration: @duration
Compare study programmes