This chapter includes the following articles.
Stretching 5120 km from the shores of Aceh to the mountains of Papua, Indonesia encompasses 17,000 islands – around 6000 of which are permanently inhabited – and comprises 34 different provinces, each with its own capital city. Within these islands, 300 distinct ethnic groups exist, speaking more than 700 languages between them. Until the turn of the new millennium, centralisation was seen as the best way forward, and economic development policies were strongly skewed towards Indonesia’s main island of Java, where the country’s capital Jakarta is located. After the resignation of former President Suharto in 1998, however, successive administrations have implemented decentralisation policies, aiming to more evenly distribute authority and investment throughout the country’s many diverse regions. This chapter also contains an interview with Tri Rismaharini, Mayor of Surabaya.