A (Soja, 2000). As Massey, Allen & Pile (1999)

A city can be somewhat defined as a large area that contains
mass 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 and
employment opportunities which continue to increase and benefit from the mass
over-crowding in most city dwellings (Soja, 2000).  As Massey, Allen & Pile (1999) argue
cities become a focal point for all the interactions between societal populaces
and business matters. However, cities are not a newly developed concept, as
Soja (2000) highlights the historical progression of human society was always
based around urbanization; the spread of occupants. For that argument, a city is
just the outcome of an increasing populace, a natural social process by which
the number of inhabitants increases, which surges the demand for additional
infrastructure and services (Soja, 2000).

Critical claim; Sassen 2010           City
focus; Denpasar, Indonesia

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This critique is focused on the city of Denpasar, Indonesia
and the rapid increase of this metropolis area, the population nearly doubled
in an eight year period from 2002 to 2010 (Prajnawrdhi, Sivam &
Karuppannan, 2012).  Bali and its capital
city Denpasar are undoubtedly a favourable tourist destination for many
international travellers (Image 1 provides an example of what is being
advertised as a representation of the city). From the tourism industry alone
the capital city Denpasar has grown by 4.05% in one year and Bali’s smaller
islands have had an unprecedented 2.27% growth (Prajnawrdhi, Sivam &
Karuppannan, 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 a
comparison to a another city, Sydney, Australia, in regards to urban population
residing in agglomeration Sydney had 21.2%, comparatively Denpasar only
received 0.8% (United Nations, 2014). Obviously to compare these two cities
equitably, we also need to factor in the significant difference in population
and infrastructure equipment, resources and funding available. Although to
juxtapose against the agglomeration statistic above is the rate of change
statistics released, between 2010-2015 Sydney achieved 0.6%, comparatively
Denpasar achieved 6.6% (United Nations, 2014). This large increase in rate of
change for Denpasar has demonstrated the vast surge of employment and business
opportunities which has unfortunately resulted in some social, economic and
environmental problems for the city and country itself (Prajnawrdhi, Sivam
& Karuppannan, 2012).

Based on these increasing statistics of human settlement and
tourism, I begin to question can the city of Denpasar cope with this increasing
demand for infrastructure and services. Unfortunately for most cities they can
somewhat be benefited and weakened by the mass agglomerated population and
changing environment to meet the demands. As Sassen (2010) critical claim
states:

“If we consider that large cities concentrate
both the leading sectors of global capital and a growing share of disadvantaged
populations… then we can see that cities have become a strategic terrain for a
whole series of conflicts and contradictions. We can then think of cities also
as one of the sites for the contradictions of the globalisation of capital”
(Sassen, 2010).

Sassen makes it clear within the first line of the above
quote, that globalising cities will create a growing quantity of disadvantaged
people in and around the original area of the city. These people would be the
economically disadvantaged that cannot afford the increase in living expenses
in regard to food, housing, health care and education for their children, which
falls into part of the conflicts and contradictions that Sassen (2010) asserts
in the claim. Scott (2001) supports Sassens critical claim, in that there are
ever increasing severe social problems being created in the neoliberal world
with more than three hundred cities that have more than one million people
agglomerated in one area. The rapid 4.05% population increase in Denpasar highlights
the need for a better quality of life within the city, for the longevity of inhabitants
and the city itself (Prajnawrdhi, Sivam & Karuppannan, 2012).

Image 1 (Booking.com, 2018) was selected to show the economic
reliance of the city and country of Indonesia on tourism to bring in much
needed money. The image shows a pristine hotel looking very clean, no rubbish
or smog, zero people around, which gives the reader an idea of tranquillity and
peacefulness. The viewer then begins to buy into the idea that this city is a
place to relax and be pampered by the gleaming pool and mood lighting, the Mars
Hotel really turned on the ambiance to gain customers. However, there is definitely
a major difference between the public image displayed, compared to the reality
of the daily image (see image 4) outside the hotel parameter is more like
Paradox Island than Paradise Island (Johnston, 2011). Glossy internet website Booking.com
either focuses on the tropical peacefulness or spiritual wellbeing
representations of the country, which there is some truth about, however, those
type of locations are far away from the reality of the city of Denpasar further
inland towards Ubud, a very small local town (Johnston, 2011).  Image 4 (TripAdvisor, n.d.) gives the reality
check to the tourist researching the area by depicting the main street of
Denpasar. This image depicts the street as almost slummy, no proper traffic
lines marked with the traffic wildly making its way with no clear rules,
buildings above not appealing due to the lack of beautification, mess and smog
apparent. Although, the reality is far from the ideal first image that
customers crave to visit Denpasar for, the economic benefit of constant tourism
does provide consistent capital for the city, which could be the strategic aim
as Sassen (2010) asserted to. Some of the disadvantaged people mentioned by
Sassen’s (2010) claim, can profit from the paradox by gaining employment in the
growing 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 only
taken this year, 2018, supports the previous statistics of the growing
population problems. According to the Denpasar Transport Board the rate of
motor 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 publish
to tourists the reality of traffic portrayed by image 2,  waiting times unpredictable in no air con
transport, hot conditions and mass traffic to get to their destination. This
image depicts the reality beyond the borders of hotel rooms portrayed by image
1, and argues clearly the conflict and contradictions growing on city roads within
Denpasar due to globalization (Sassen, 2010).

 

 

Image 3 (BJORN GROTTING Photography, n.d.) depicts disadvantaged
low income housing pushed to the edge of the city, alongside dirty water and
unhygienic circumstances. This creates a major problem for disadvantaged people
in the city whom are being neglected (Sassen, 2010) with tax revenue being used
to promote tourism such as image 1, instead of improving the health, public
facilities and education for poor families (Prajnawrdhi, Sivam &
Karuppannan, 2012). The image shows poor housing structure with materials that
are not withstanding the pressure, built up against a river flowing with dirty
groundwater. Due to the agglomeration and lack of clean water access there is
currently 1.7million out of 3.9million that do not have adequate access to
clean water every day (Prajnawrdhi, Sivam & Karuppannan, 2012). Aerial view
in image 5 (Denpasar Bali City Tour, 2013) portrays a beautiful cultural
heritage location in Denpasar completely juxtaposed next to the growing metropolis
agglomeration. This cultural and religious site although sacred, is now being
used as another form of tourism and economic opportunity to allow visitors in
the doors. However, it is up for debate whether the city is losing sight of its
quality and values of this cultural site by allowing tourism to encroach (Prajnawrdhi,
Sivam & Karuppannan, 2012). These two issues are major conflicts that
appear to be on the bottom of the list of problems with the globalisation of the
city, with tourism appearing to be the strategic direction for the country (Sassen,
2010).