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Abidin Kusno

Abidin Kusno


Undergraduate Program Director


PhD Art History, Binghamton University
MA Art History, Binghamton University
BA Architecture, Petra University

Research Keywords

Indonesia; Architecture; Cultural Studies; History; Politics; Urban Studies.

Contact Information

4700 Keele Street
Toronto, ON M3J 1P3

416 736 2100

Research Interests

I joined York as a Professor in the Faculty of Environmental Studies in 2015. Before my arrival at York, I was the Canada Research Chair in Asian Urbanism and Culture at the Institute for Asian Research at the University of British Columbia. I also held previous positions at New York University and Binghamton University, State University of New York. My academic background is in Architectural Design and Engineering (BA from Petra University, Surabaya, Indonesia) and Art History (MA and PhD from SUNY Binghamton).

My academic work draws upon a range of fields including urban studies, history, politics, cultural studies, architecture, design and geography.  My research focuses on Indonesia, especially Jakarta and evolves around the issues of politics, culture and the built environment. I examine the ways in which architecture and urban space shaped politics, environments and political consciousness of different social groups at different moments in the country’s urban history. My teaching encompasses issues around politics, planning and urbanization in the context global and local power.

Research Projects

Inundation and Environmental Politics in Southeast Asia (2016-2020/21), Role: PI: Kusno’s SSHRC-funded research builds on the insights of current scholarship from critical geography and anthropology of infrastructure to make sense of a social formation (such as Jakarta) in which environmental degradation, informality and lack of planning have led to both disaster and opportunities as well as modes of governing society.

Research Output

Jakarta: The City of a Thousand Dimensions. National University of Singapore Press, 2023

Visual Cultures of the Ethnic Chinese in Indonesia. Rowman & Littlefield International, 2016.

After the New Order: Space, Politics and Jakarta. Honolulu: Hawaii University Press, 2013.

Appearances of Memory: Mnemonic Practices of Architecture and Urban Form in Indonesia. Durham: Duke University Press, 2010.

Behind the Postcolonial: Architecture, Urban Space and Political Cultures in Indonesia. London and New York: Routledge, 2000.

“Manhattan in Orange County: Lippo and the Shenzhen of Indonesia,” in After Suburbia: Urbanization in the Twenty-First Century. Roger Keil and Fulong Wu (eds), University of Toronto Press, 2022: chpt. 19.

“A 90th birthday tribute: Anthony D. King: an appreciation,” Planning Perspectives, 37:3, 2022: 641-654, DOI: 10.1080/02665433.2022.2055709

“Islamist Urbanism and Spatial Performances in Indonesia,” in Cities and Urbanisms: On the Politics and Production of the Built Environment, NY: Routledge, 2021: 134-149.

“Middling Urbanism: the Megacity and the Kampung,” Urban Geography, 41, 7, 2020: 954-970.

“Escape from Jakarta?” Current History, Vol. 118, issue 809, September 2019.

“Foreword: Exemplary Centre and Beyond,” Asia Pacific Viewpoint, 60, 1, 2019: 3-6.

“Where Will the Water Go?” Indonesia, 105, April 2018: 19-51.

“Kampung, Buitenwijken and Kota Mandiri: Naming the Urban Fringe on Java, Indonesia” (with Freek  Colombijn) In What’s in a Name? Talking about ‘Suburbs’, edited by Richard Harris and Charlotte Vorms. Toronto: University of Toronto Press, 2017: 152-172.

“Southeast Asia: Colonial Discourses,” and “Postcolonial Southeast Asia,” in Routledge Handbook of Planning History, edited by Carola Hein. London: Routledge, 2017: Chapter 17: 218-239; Chapter 18: 230-243.

Other Key Contributions

Melawan Waktu, Jakarta: Omah Library Press, 2020 (Indonesian).

Reposisi Nusantara, Jakarta: Omah Library Press, 2020 (Indonesian).

(Guest editor), Charles Prosper Wolff Schoemaker & Vincent Van Romondt: Modernism and National Characteristics.(Inaugural Speeches in the Built Environment: Global and Contextualized). Delft: TU Delft Open, 2020.

(Guest editor), Gunawan Tjahjono and Josef Prijotomo: Postcolonial Traditionality. (Inaugural Speeches in the Built Environment: Global and Contextualized).  Delft: TU Delft Open, 2017.

Recognition & Awards

  • Canada Research Chair Tier II
  • Senior Visiting Research Fellow, Asian Research Institute, National University of Singapore
  • Research Fellow, Swedish Collegium for Advanced Studies, Uppsala, Sweden
  • Early Career Senior Scholar, Peter Wall Institute for Advanced Studies, University of British Columbia


Course CodeTitle
GEOG 5700 3.00 The Making of Asian Studies: Critical Perspectives (Winter 2020)
ENVS 3227 3.00Urban Planning and Politics in Global Context (Fall 2020)
ENVS 4223 3.00Global Cities (Fall 2019)