Towards Equity-based Regional Development: Addressing Spatial Inequality in the Blitar Region

By Agung Sugiri and Nurul Nuraini.

Published by The International Journal of Civic, Political, and Community Studies

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Spatial inequality can be defined as disparities among spatial units of a region that can easily be perceived by people, e.g. some spatial units can provide proper and affordable public facilities and infrastructure while some others cannot. This phenomenon has long been there in the Blitar Region, Indonesia, where the north part of it is seen by people as more developed than the south part. Spatial inequality matters because, firstly, it could be caused by equity failures and secondly, this may worsen the imbalance spatial interactions, which can further cause problems like unoptimum economic growth, inequality of welfare, and even unsustainability. It is unfortunate that the inverted U-shape rule of spatial inequality as hypothesised by many seems inapplicable here. This paper is based on research answering the problem of what factors have been there and how they work to result in the spatial inequality of the Blitar Region. A set of propositions was developed from literature discussions and was then confirmed in the case of the Blitar Region, comprising Blitar City and Blitar Regency administratively. The quantitative approach is utilised in this research, due to the need to understand the general characteristics of spatial inequality in the Blitar Region. The main findings confirm that it is inequity, especially in the distribution of development benefits, that matters and that the inverted U-shape rule needs equity to be ensured to work. Essential measures needed to alleviate the inequity are recommended.

Keywords: Equity-based Development, Inverted U-shape Rule, Regional Development, Spatial Inequality

The International Journal of Civic, Political, and Community Studies, Volume 10, Issue 3, 2012, pp.91-109. Article: Print (Spiral Bound). Article: Electronic (PDF File; 589.823KB).

Agung Sugiri

Lecturer, Department of Urban and Regional Planning, Faculty of Engineering, Diponegoro University, Semarang, Central Java, Indonesia

Mr. Sugiri is a lecturer at the Department of Urban and Regional Planning, Diponegoro University, Semarang, Indonesia. He pioneered teaching sustainable development in his university in 2000 as a subject for both Bachelor and Master programs. He received his Bachelor degree from ITB (Institute of Technology, Bandung) and his Master of Planning Studies from University of Queensland (UQ), Australia. He firstly published the concept of equity-based development in a chapter of a book (Environmental Ethics: Sustainability and Education) edited by E. Weber, published by Interdisciplinary Press, Oxford in 2009.

Nurul Nuraini

Staff, Unit of Public Works, Road and Irrigation Development, Local Government of Blitar Regency, Blitar, East Java, Indonesia

Ms. Nuraini is a local government officer of Blitar Regency (Kabupaten Blitar), East Java Province, Indonesia. She received her bachelor degree from Muhammadiyah University of Malang, majoring in Civil Engineering, and has just received her Masters of Urban and Regional Development degree from Diponegoro University, Semarang in January 2012. Her master thesis was supervised by Agung Sugiri.