Environment, People and Design Research Group
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Adopting an R-Urban Model: Empowering Local Communities to Develop Sustainable Built Environment

Wednesday 30th November (09:00) - Sunday 4th December 2016 (14:00)

Contact persons:

Application Form for Adopting an R-Urban Model


Call for participants in international workshop

Adopting an R-Urban Model 1 Empowering Local Communities to Develop Sustainable Built Environment

Dates: from 30th November to 4th December 2016

Venue: Main Campus of Universitas Islam Indonesia, Yogyakarta, Indonesia

Application deadline: 16th September 2016

Announcement of participant’s acceptance: 30th September 2016

Under the Researcher Links scheme offered within the Newton Fund, the British Council and Researcher Links scheme, The University of Nottingham and Universitas Islam Indonesia will run a workshop on ‘Adopting an R- Adopting an R-Urban Model: Empowering Local Communities to Develop a Sustainable Built Environment’.

Early Career Researchers from the UK or Indonesia are welcome to apply and attend this workshop. All travel and accommodation expenses will be covered by the Newton Researcher Links programme.

 About the Workshop

Urban development and planning practice in general has transformed from physical development into urban policy delivery, including in Indonesia. This has opened opportunities to more ‘non-government’ stakeholders, namely the community, individuals, private developers, and so on. In response to this, the current Urban Planning Document in Indonesia encourages planning procedures to follow a bottom-up approach.

The approaches to these phenomena coincide with two key features. Firstly, current development acknowledges the significance of rural-urban development in promoting long-term sustainable development. Indeed, “R-Urban initiates locally closed ecological cycles that will support the emergence of alternative models of living, producing and consuming between the urban and the rural.”2 Secondly, current development presents a lack of joined up thinking and engagement between the two key stakeholders: the urban planning authorities and the communities. The urban planning authority and the policy makers need to establish how to translate urban planning policy into more practical and operational plans that embrace environmental challenges by addressing the social needs of the community. On the other hand, the communities as significant stakeholders need to learn how to ensure longer-term benefits from ‘comprehensive sustainable’ development, not only from an economic point of view but also in terms of long-term environmental harmony and social relationships. This promotes neighbourhood-level development to improve quality of life at every level through a number of strategies, which include community empowerment, funding distribution, development and maintenance of local wisdom, public service delivery, etc.

  1. “R-Urban is a bottom-up strategy that explores the possibilities of enhancing the capacity of urban resilience by introducing a network of resident-run facilities to create complementarities between key fields of activity (economy, housing, urban agriculture, culture, etc.)”.3 Indeed, the active involvement of citizens is crucial to the establishment of alternative models of production and consumption based on closed local cycles and sustainability. To stimulate this, a commitment to more ecological lifestyles, tools, knowledge and places is necessary. This enables testing of new practices and bottom-up initiatives whilst showcasing the results and benefits of a resilient transformation of a city.The term R-Urban or Rurban is increasingly being used to represent the challenges and conflicts between urbansiation and its impact upon smaller often traditionally rural communities in both developed and developing countires. As long ago as 2007, the term Rurban was used for a design studio at the AA School of Architecture in London. More recently from 2011-2015, the term R-URBAN was used by an EU Life 10 Programme supported project: R-URBAN – participative strategy of development, practices and networks of local resilience for European cities (http://ec.europa.eu/environment/life/project/Projects/index.cfm?fuseaction=search.dspPage&n_proj_id=3965#PD). The Indian Government’s Ministry of Rural Development also articulate these challenges in their Natiional Rurban Mission (http://www.narendramodi.in/pm-modi-at-the-launch-of-national-rurban-mission-in-rajnandagaon-chhattisgarh--414880). The term has also been adopted for projects across the world, including Brazil, Canada, Finland, etc. and in Indonesia specifically, the term derives from the commonly used phrase ‘desa-kota’ roughly translated as ‘rural-urban’.
  2. http://r-urban.net/en/sample-page/
  3. http://r-urban.net/en/sample-page/

Eligibility Criteria:

  • Applicants must send the application using the Researcher Links application form.
  • Application must be submitted before the deadline.
  • Applicants must be early-career researchers based in either the UK or Indonesia, and must be affiliated with a research institution in either of these countries. Early-career researchers are defined as Ph.D. students, potential PhD applicants with relevant practical expertise and a strong interest in the topic, or researchers who received their PhD not more than 10 years prior to the workshop.
  • Participants may come from any field but must be able to demonstrate their motivation, relevant research or practical experience, and potential to contribute to the workshop and workshop outputs.
  • As a part of the workshop objectives, the participants will have to submit an abstract related to the workshop’s topic (e.g. rural and urban development, built environment, community and participatory approach, and resilient environment, and so on). Participants will develop this abstract into a paper during or after the workshop.

Focus area of the workshop

The rapid growth of the population and a higher demand on natural resources could lead to rapid environmental degradation. In some part of Indonesia, the threat of this ‘environmental scarcity’ has become a trigger for social segmentation, increased competition, and a reduction in social relationships. Such frictions related to economic resources, and in particular environmental resources, particularly in developing countries, have the potential to become worse in the future due to an increasingly inequitable distribution of power and wealth. Economic activities are critical in ensuring the development of a resilient and sustainable urban environment. The workshop will focus on:

  • how development in ‘R-Urban’ (small and medium size urban) environments can improve the capability of researchers in urban development and planning to mediate between the two key stakeholders (planning authority and community); the translation of urban planning policy into practical and operational plans;
  • the empowerment of the community and neighbourhood as significant key players in the environment and development process (in terms of power and knowledge);
  • the empowerment of urban development practitioners and urban development authorities (skills and knowledge);
  • ‘small urban design level’ development: neighbourhood, community, and urban environment; and
  • ‘implementation guidance’ development (directly connecting urban planning, development and the community).

Features of the workshop include:

  • Keynote presentations by leading person on the topic
  • A collection of abstracts published as the workshop proceedings
  • Early career researcher presentations on current and emerging research
  • A field work focusing on r-urban environments
  • Group work and activities aimed at developing a development strategy for the field objects.
  • Development of ‘implementation guidance’ and structure for the potential publication (short term), research working area development (long term, for the next five years)
  • Group work and activities for sharing knowledge and promoting international and multi-disciplinary working
  • A research road map based on the working group discussions, inter-disciplinary work required and major challenges and opportunities.
  • All materials delivered during the workshop will be made available as open education resources; they are released under an open license (creative commons) that permits no-cost access, use, adaptation and redistribution by others. A wider constituency of early career researchers from Indonesia and the UK, as well as interested parties from other backgrounds and countries, can benefit from the materials presented.
  • Participants of the workshop will be invited to submit a full paper for publication in an edited book related to the topic. The book will be published by an internationally recognized publisher.

The workshop is being coordinated by Professor Timothy Heath (Department of Architecture and Built Environment, University of Nottingham, UK) and Dr. Yulianto Purwono Prihatmaji (Department of Architecture, Universitas Islam Indonesia, Indonesia) and will have contributions from other leading researchers, including Dr. Peter Rutherford (Head of Environment, People and Design Research Group, University of Nottingham, UK), Dr. Dr. Ing, Ilya Fadjar Maharika, IAI (Universitas Islam Indonesia, Indonesia), Dr. Wisnu Setiawan (Department of Architecture, Universitas Muhammadiyah Surakarta, Indonesia), Ir. Wiryono Raharjo, M.Arch., Ph.D. and Ir. Arif Wismadi, M.Sc., Ph.D. (Department of Architecture, Universitas Islam Indonesia, Indonesia).


The British Council will cover the costs related to the participation to the workshop, including travel (both international and local, economic class), accommodation and meals. Costs for the visa will also be covered, however, participants will be responsible for making all the necessary arrangements. Although this cost will not be covered by the British Council, participants are encouraged to purchase adequate travel and medical insurance. The British Council accepts no responsibility for any problems which may occur when the participants are in-country.

Application Process

Quality Assessment

  • Experience and relevance of the applicant’s research area to the workshop
  • Motivation and contribution to the aims of the workshop
  • Description of the long-term impact expected through the participation in the workshop
  • Ability to disseminate workshop’s outcomes

Selection Procedure:

  • Eligibility check
  • Quality assessment

Notification of results:

  • Applicants will be notified by email approximately 2 months prior to the workshop (in late September 2016).

Equal Opportunities

The British Council is committed to equal opportunities and diversity in all its activities and this includes the avoidance of any bias in the assessment of applications due to gender, disability, racial or ethnic origin, sexual orientation, or religious belief. Participants’ selection undertaken by workshop organisers must not contravene this policy. Extra support to enable participation of early career researchers with special needs will be given.

Application Form for Adopting an R-Urban Model

Environment, People and Design Research Group

Faculty of Engineering
The University of Nottingham
University Park
Nottingham, NG7 2RD

telephone: +44 (0)115 82 32502