A city can be somewhat defined as a large area that containsmass human settlement, concentrating a leading sector of globalization (Sassen, 2010). To further that statement, a ‘city’could be classified as a polis or dominant arrangement of infrastructure,housing, trade, recreation, businesses, educational and health facilities andemployment opportunities which continue to increase and benefit from the massover-crowding in most city dwellings (Soja, 2000). As Massey, Allen & Pile (1999) arguecities become a focal point for all the interactions between societal populacesand business matters. However, cities are not a newly developed concept, asSoja (2000) highlights the historical progression of human society was alwaysbased around urbanization; the spread of occupants. For that argument, a city isjust the outcome of an increasing populace, a natural social process by whichthe number of inhabitants increases, which surges the demand for additionalinfrastructure and services (Soja, 2000).Critical claim; Sassen 2010 Cityfocus; Denpasar, IndonesiaThis critique is focused on the city of Denpasar, Indonesiaand the rapid increase of this metropolis area, the population nearly doubledin an eight year period from 2002 to 2010 (Prajnawrdhi, Sivam &Karuppannan, 2012). Bali and its capitalcity Denpasar are undoubtedly a favourable tourist destination for manyinternational travellers (Image 1 provides an example of what is beingadvertised as a representation of the city).
From the tourism industry alonethe capital city Denpasar has grown by 4.05% in one year and Bali’s smallerislands have had an unprecedented 2.27% growth (Prajnawrdhi, Sivam , 2012). Denpasar remains Indonesia’s fastest growing city;currently its mass agglomeration sees a density of 6,170 people per sq km (Prajnawrdhi,Sivam & Karuppannan, 2012). As acomparison to a another city, Sydney, Australia, in regards to urban populationresiding in agglomeration Sydney had 21.2%, comparatively Denpasar onlyreceived 0.
8% (United Nations, 2014). Obviously to compare these two citiesequitably, we also need to factor in the significant difference in populationand infrastructure equipment, resources and funding available. Although tojuxtapose against the agglomeration statistic above is the rate of changestatistics released, between 2010-2015 Sydney achieved 0.6%, comparativelyDenpasar achieved 6.6% (United Nations, 2014).
This large increase in rate ofchange for Denpasar has demonstrated the vast surge of employment and businessopportunities which has unfortunately resulted in some social, economic andenvironmental problems for the city and country itself (Prajnawrdhi, Sivam& Karuppannan, 2012).Based on these increasing statistics of human settlement andtourism, I begin to question can the city of Denpasar cope with this increasingdemand for infrastructure and services. Unfortunately for most cities they cansomewhat be benefited and weakened by the mass agglomerated population andchanging environment to meet the demands. As Sassen (2010) critical claimstates:”If we consider that large cities concentrateboth the leading sectors of global capital and a growing share of disadvantagedpopulations… then we can see that cities have become a strategic terrain for awhole series of conflicts and contradictions. We can then think of cities alsoas one of the sites for the contradictions of the globalisation of capital”(Sassen, 2010).
Sassen makes it clear within the first line of the abovequote, that globalising cities will create a growing quantity of disadvantagedpeople in and around the original area of the city. These people would be theeconomically disadvantaged that cannot afford the increase in living expensesin regard to food, housing, health care and education for their children, whichfalls into part of the conflicts and contradictions that Sassen (2010) assertsin the claim. Scott (2001) supports Sassens critical claim, in that there areever increasing severe social problems being created in the neoliberal worldwith more than three hundred cities that have more than one million peopleagglomerated in one area.
The rapid 4.05% population increase in Denpasar highlightsthe need for a better quality of life within the city, for the longevity of inhabitantsand the city itself (Prajnawrdhi, Sivam & Karuppannan, 2012).Image 1 (Booking.
com, 2018) was selected to show the economicreliance of the city and country of Indonesia on tourism to bring in muchneeded money. The image shows a pristine hotel looking very clean, no rubbishor smog, zero people around, which gives the reader an idea of tranquillity andpeacefulness. The viewer then begins to buy into the idea that this city is aplace to relax and be pampered by the gleaming pool and mood lighting, the MarsHotel really turned on the ambiance to gain customers. However, there is definitelya major difference between the public image displayed, compared to the realityof the daily image (see image 4) outside the hotel parameter is more likeParadox Island than Paradise Island (Johnston, 2011). Glossy internet website Booking.comeither focuses on the tropical peacefulness or spiritual wellbeingrepresentations of the country, which there is some truth about, however, thosetype of locations are far away from the reality of the city of Denpasar furtherinland towards Ubud, a very small local town (Johnston, 2011). Image 4 (TripAdvisor, n.d.
) gives the realitycheck to the tourist researching the area by depicting the main street ofDenpasar. This image depicts the street as almost slummy, no proper trafficlines marked with the traffic wildly making its way with no clear rules,buildings above not appealing due to the lack of beautification, mess and smogapparent. Although, the reality is far from the ideal first image thatcustomers crave to visit Denpasar for, the economic benefit of constant tourismdoes provide consistent capital for the city, which could be the strategic aimas Sassen (2010) asserted to. Some of the disadvantaged people mentioned bySassen’s (2010) claim, can profit from the paradox by gaining employment in thegrowing tourism sections in hotels, hospitality and tour guides.
Image 2 (Henry Westheim Photography / Alamy Stock Photo,2018) squashes the idea of the paradox portrayed by image 1. The image onlytaken this year, 2018, supports the previous statistics of the growingpopulation problems. According to the Denpasar Transport Board the rate ofmotor bikes and cars on small roads in the city is increasing by 11% per year currently(Prajnawrdhi, Sivam & Karuppannan, 2012). Predictably the city does not publishto tourists the reality of traffic portrayed by image 2, waiting times unpredictable in no air contransport, hot conditions and mass traffic to get to their destination. Thisimage depicts the reality beyond the borders of hotel rooms portrayed by image1, and argues clearly the conflict and contradictions growing on city roads withinDenpasar due to globalization (Sassen, 2010).
Image 3 (BJORN GROTTING Photography, n.d.) depicts disadvantagedlow income housing pushed to the edge of the city, alongside dirty water andunhygienic circumstances. This creates a major problem for disadvantaged peoplein the city whom are being neglected (Sassen, 2010) with tax revenue being usedto promote tourism such as image 1, instead of improving the health, publicfacilities and education for poor families (Prajnawrdhi, Sivam , 2012). The image shows poor housing structure with materials thatare not withstanding the pressure, built up against a river flowing with dirtygroundwater.
Due to the agglomeration and lack of clean water access there iscurrently 1.7million out of 3.9million that do not have adequate access toclean water every day (Prajnawrdhi, Sivam & Karuppannan, 2012). Aerial viewin image 5 (Denpasar Bali City Tour, 2013) portrays a beautiful culturalheritage location in Denpasar completely juxtaposed next to the growing metropolisagglomeration. This cultural and religious site although sacred, is now beingused as another form of tourism and economic opportunity to allow visitors inthe doors. However, it is up for debate whether the city is losing sight of itsquality and values of this cultural site by allowing tourism to encroach (Prajnawrdhi,Sivam & Karuppannan, 2012).
These two issues are major conflicts thatappear to be on the bottom of the list of problems with the globalisation of thecity, with tourism appearing to be the strategic direction for the country (Sassen,2010).