Scholarly article on topic 'Ritual and Space Structure: Pilgrimage and Space Use in Historical Urban Kampung Context of Luar Batang (Jakarta, Indonesia)'

Ritual and Space Structure: Pilgrimage and Space Use in Historical Urban Kampung Context of Luar Batang (Jakarta, Indonesia) Academic research paper on "Social and economic geography"

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{Pilgrimage / "use of space" / "historical urban kampung"}

Abstract of research paper on Social and economic geography, author of scientific article — Popi Puspitasari, Sudaryono Achmad Djunaedi, Heddy Shri Ahimsa Putra

Abstract This article is a result of a phenomenological study of Kampung Luar Batang, a historical urban kampung located at Ciliwung river estuary in Jakarta, Indonesia. Islam missionary, Al-Habib Husein bin Abubakar Allaydrus, has forged image of the kampung as a pilgrimage place because of his sacred maqom. Outsiders who visit to this sacred maqom increase the intensity of public space uses and the occupants’ economic activities. Religious, traditional and economic activities have simultaneously created unique overlapping layers. This paper's intention is to generate a model that might be able to decode the elements and the layers of this interesting phenomenon.

Academic research paper on topic "Ritual and Space Structure: Pilgrimage and Space Use in Historical Urban Kampung Context of Luar Batang (Jakarta, Indonesia)"

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Procedia - Social and Behavioral Sciences 36 (2012) 350 - 360

AcE-Bs 2011 Bandung

ASEAN Conference on Environment-Behaviour Studies, Savoy Homann Bidakara Bandung Hotel, Bandung, Indonesia, 15-17 June 2011

Ritual and Space Structure: Pilgrimage and Space Use in Historical Urban Kampung Context of Luar Batang (Jakarta, Indonesia)

Popi Puspitasari*, Sudaryono Achmad Djunaedi & Heddy Shri Ahimsa Putra

Faculty of Engineering, Post-Graduate Program in Architectural Engineering and Planning, Jalan Grafika 2, Gadjah Mada University, Yogyakarta, 55281, Indonesia.


This article is a result of a phenomenological study of Kampung Luar Batang, a historical urban kampung located at Ciliwung river estuary in Jakarta, Indonesia. Islam missionary, Al-Habib Husein bin Abubakar Allaydrus, has forged image of the kampung as a pilgrimage place because of his sacred maqom. Outsiders who visit to this sacred maqom increase the intensity of public space uses and the occupants' economic activities. Religious, traditional and economic activities have simultaneously created unique overlapping layers. This paper's intention is to generate a model that might be able to decode the elements and the layers of this interesting phenomenon.

© 2012 Published by El sevier B.V. Sel ection and/or peer-review under responsibility of Centre for IEnvironment-Behaviour Studies(cE-Bs), Faculty of Architecture , Planning & Surveying,Universiti Teknologi MARA, Malaysia

Keywords : Pilgrimage; use of space; historical urban kampung

1. Introduction

The topic "Ritual and Space Structure" is developed from the author's research experience on architectural phenomenon, where space structure is directly related to the pilgrimage ritual tradition, such

* Corresponding author. Tel.: +62-812-908-9719; +62- 815-115-07171. E-mail address:

1877-0428 © 2012 Published by Elsevier B.V. Selection and/or peer-review under responsibility of Centre for Environment-Behaviour Studies(cE-Bs),

Faculty of Architecture, Planning & Surveying, Universiti Teknologi MARA, Malaysia


as in Kampung Luar Batang Jakarta, Indonesia. This tradition is related to the existence of a Muslim missionary from Hadramaut (Yemen) called Al Habib Husein bin Alaydrus, and has been practiced since during the Dutch colonial period in Batavia (the present Jakarta). The local community believes that the Habib has special spiritual power for many to learn Islam from him. After his demise, his tomb (or maqom) become a pilgrimage destination. Similar phenomenon can be found in various cities in Southeast Asia, such as Habib Noh's maqom in Singapore, Habib's maqom in Siak (Jambi), Pulau Penyengat (Tanjung Pinang, Bintan), Demak, Cirebon, Madura, Gresik, and Surabaya; and in Malaysia such as Melaka and Penang. Those places are locations which were historically part of the Arab's trading route in British and Dutch colonies in Southeast Asia.

Historically the Southern Arab traders had developed trading relations with communities around the Gulf of Persian and Nusantara (Indonesian archipelago). The Arabs navigators and trader came to Nusantara for the first time to Aceh, then Palembang, at around 18th century, to Java in 1820, and to east Indonesia in 1870. The migration of people from Hadramaut to Nusantara was intensified after the steamship serviced East- and East-Asia with Arabia since 1870. During this era there were six large Arab colonies in Indonesian cities: Batavia, Cirebon, Tegal, Pekalongan, Semarang and Surabaya (van den Berg, 2010; Unit Dakwah Masjid Al'Firdaus, 2010).

Since the occupation of Sunda Kelapa (port of Batavia) in early 17th century, VOC (Vereenigde Oost-Indische Compagnie or the Dutch East India Company which established its capital at the port city of Batavia) began to build a fortress (Fort Jacatra) and other facilities on the north shore, such as the custom (1620), shipyard and wood repair workshop (1632), Westzijdsche Pakhuizen warehouse (now Maritime Museum, 1652), warehouses behind Pakhuizen (1672),and many more. Then the VOC established business facilities and residential areas in the southern Fort Jacatra during the mid-18th century until the late 19th century.

VOC play a major role in the formation of Kampung Luar Batang. Around the year 1730, the VOC reclaimed the northern coast of the city of Batavia, or rather west of Sunda Kelapa Harbor. The reclaimed land was used for residential to place the Javanese laborers employed by the VOC to lift a pile of mud from the estuary of the river Ciliwung which was increasingly becoming shallow. Marrillees (2000) and Shahab (2004) explained that the ships were inspected before entering the harbor and the sailors had to pay taxes at the custom, and only then the officials would allow them entering into the Ciliwung River estuary and to go to the town inside the city walls. Reclaimed land at the north would then to be called 'Kampung Luar Batang' because the kampung is located outside the Boom or the harbor (Buiten de Boom). To control the native population movements, VOC subdivided settlements outside the city walls into a number of kampongs based on ethnicity (for example: Chinatown, Makassar's kampong, Balinese kampong). Kampung Luar Batang on C.A von Luepken's map in year of 1780 is identified as Java Quartier. (Heuken, 1997 : Hakim,1989:51)

Another version of the origin of Kampung Luar Batang name came from the local myth about Al Habib Husein bin Abubakar Al-Aydrus who came to Batavia in 1736.The Dutch Governor granted land to Al-Habib Husein to be used as a residence and worship. According to record, Al-Habib Husein died on June 27, 1756 at the age of approximately 40 years old and was buried in Luar Batang. According to the myth, Al-Habib's body was carried in a Kurung Batang (coffin) to a graveyard at Tanah Abang (an area outside the city wall further south) as planned, but on reaching the location, Al-Habib's body was no longer there and it had returned to his home. The locals call it Luar Batang or out of the coffin. The two tombs which received many visitors are the tomb of Al-Habib Husein bin Abubakar Al-Aydrus and the tomb of his follower, a Chinese called Nek Bok Seng who died earlier than him. (Azyumardi in Heuken 2003:52-53; Sayid Abdullah bin Abubakar Alaydrus, 1998: Heuken, 2003 : 53-54).

Fig.1. (a) The functions around Kampung Luar Batang; (b) Location of Kampung Luar Batang and its surrounding. Source: Reconstruction, Google Earth, 2008.

2. Literature Review

Social space is a social product, constructed through space, constrained by space and mediated by space (Dear & Wolch in Carmona, 2003:106; Lefebvre, 1984). Spatial study of port cities in Southeast Asia should consider that the cities are socially multicultural, hybrid in ethnic and syncretic in belief systems and rituals, which needs to be examined by layering over its historical timeline (Widodo,2000; Vermeulen,1985). Mausse (1961) and Belshaw (1981), based on the sociological and anthropological perspective, describes that the traditional rituals (including pilgrimage rituals in Islam) can be categorized into primitive exchange system, termed as the Potlatch (Total Performance). Primitive exchange system is magical exchange conducted by the giver and the receiver through a certain ritual with the objective of getting all the goodness (such as wealth, power, good life, peace, fellowship, safety, convenience). It has the power to control everyday life, and became the basic consideration in determining social relations, economic and political activities, religious rituals and beliefs, and other factors. Eliade (1961:39) and Norberg-Schulz, (1980) explain that the ritual has a center and spirit. The center mentioned is a sacred thing up there. The word sacred, refers to a psychological concept that responded and described in accordance with the spirit of religion by a community (Durkheim in Jacobs, 1964:280). Community in this case is something that symbolically constructed as a system of values, moral norms and ethics that shape the identity of its members (Cohen, 1985:9). In traditional societies, the status of the land and claims to the land emerged as the authority granted by kinship, customary law, caste, etc (Pamuk, 1996 quoting Mabogunje, 1990). But in modern society, claims to land come under contract and through contract, the land can be used as an investment tool that guarantees a future life (Mausse, 1961).

In the modern dimension, Nas said that culture and lifestyle of a society manifested through symbols that can be analyzed through its constituent elements (Nas, 1993). In terms of physical, colonialism (modernism) in Southeast Asia has used modern style to influence the local tradition for political purposes (Widodo, 2004). Industrialization, as a product of modernism, has an impact on the mobility of the population and diverse populations in crowded circumstances (Bounds, 2004:5). In the big cities in Southeast Asia, migration occurs not only between cities but also intra-city migration. Jakarta is termed as

a gigantic urban kampung, areas of low-income neighborhoods (kampung) supports many urban tertiary centers for economic and political needs (Somantri, 2007:23).

3. Methodology

This paper is attempted to describe one of the phenomena which were recorded by phenomenological research method in Kampung Luar Batang. In this research the rules of Constitutive Phenomenology of Edmund Husserl is employed to uncover the intangible aspects behind the tangible objects. The term Phenomenology is originated from phenomenon (Late Latin), derived from phanein (to show, to appear), and -logy/-logia (science). The data and information are collected through observations and interviews with a number of informants purposively without involving the researcher's subjective views. Moreover, similar information units, which spread over a number of notes, are classified into several categories of phenomena. The model of explained phenomena below, as presented in the final result, was conceptualized as a form of abstraction of the concepts that emerge from the constellation of each category. Logically the accuracy of knowledge acquired through phenomenological research method depends on the meaning given to match what is seen, thought, and experienced by the informants. Therefore descriptive explanation and reflective action are essential in revealing the truth. (Embree, 1997:9-11,205; Partridge, 2009:416; Kuswarno, 2009: 29-32, 47-48; Haryadi, 2010: 22-23; Norberg-Schulz, 1963)

4. Results and Discussions

4.1. 'Sacred Maqom' as the Magnet of Kampung Luar Batang

Sacred maqom can be regarded as the magnet for several reasons: 1) it is located in the most strategic location physically and functionally; 2) according to the genealogy, Al-Habib Husein bin Abubakar Alaydrus (the Saint) is the earliest propagator of Islam in that region; 3) the sacred maqom area is a center for resident's activities. Maqom has different meaning with the term of makam. Maqom refers to the level degree of somebody's knowledge about Islam faith or someone who is considered as a close relative of the Prophet Muhammad, while makam is a tomb (source: Mr. Hamid, the native people of RW-3, 2008)

Geographically, Kampung Luar Batang has access from both land and sea, and relatively at close distance to the centers of urban economic activities (such as shopping malls in Mangga Dua, Glodok, Grogol, Muara Baru; warehouses in Tanjung Priok Port and along the northern coast of Jakarta; the fish market; and the wholesale centers in Pasar Senin and Tanah Abang). During the period of the VOC, Kampung Luar Batang was the frontage of the city of Batavia, where various ethnic from different islands and countries met, stopped over and settled down. Kampung Luar Batang is now a strategic for workers' rental housing.

Pilgrimage activity to the sacred maqom is very significantly contributing to the intensity of public open space usage around the mosque. Pilgrimage to the sacred maqom is considered as a mandatory precedence over other shrines in greater Jakarta region because, according to genealogy, Al Habib Husein is the oldest trustee and is considered as a close relative of the Prophet Muhammad. The pilgrimage is the central activity in the Kampung Luar Batang which has significant role in the increase of local economic activities and commuter's flow. The strategic location of the Kampung to the centers of urban economic activities, in addition to the high intensity of pilgrimage, would in turn determine the population status and the types of local businesses in relation to a lease-contract-selling of buildings and lands system.

Fig.2. Composition and status of the inhabitants of Kampung Luar Batang, Source : Diagrammatic Interpretation by Researcher, 2009.

4.2. Impact of Pilgrimage Activities and Space Use

4.2.1. Pilgrimage Ritual at the Sacred 'Maqom'

Pilgrimage ritual occurs almost every day, but this activity culminated in the Islamic celebration days such as: the birthday of the Prophet, the days before fasting month, and the Haul (day of death) Al Habib Husein bin Abubakar Al-Aydrus. During the rituals, the first thing the pilgrims to do is to sodaqoh (donation) into a charity box which is kept by the Yemenis person, called Habib (known as a close relative of Al-Aydrus) in one corner of the mosque area. After that they will do several things: kissing the Habib's hands to ask for permission, taking water for ablution, entering the mosque, leading to sacred maqom or performing prayer first.


1. Prayer Room for male, 2.Prayer Room for female, 3. Maqom (sacred tomb),,4. Private ritual space, 5. Graveyard, 6. Corridor, 7. Habib's place (for asking permission), 8. Administration Office, 9. Gift Kiosks, 10 'Wudlu' (ablution) space, 11. Common kitchen, 12. Habib's Houses, 13. Old Tower, 14. New Tower, 15. Extension Room for male, 16. Extension Room for female, 17. Corridor for extended

Fig.3. Organization of space and circulation of ritual pilgrimage, Source : Diagrammatic illustration by researcher, 2009.

When the pilgrimage maqom is performed, the pilgrims read prayer with or without a bottle of water. Readings of dhikr and solawat prayers (prayers for the Prophet Muhammad or for Al-Habib Husein) on Friday night is performed by standing around the maqom accompanied with the sound of rebana (tambourine). The water, over which the prayer (blessed water), is believed to have sacred power that may be taken as a medicine, to calm the mind, to increase prosperity, to smooth all matters, and so on.

Water is bought and sold in some kiosks or on the sidewalk toward the mosque. On the Islamic celebration days, the pilgrims often do saweran (throwing coins as thanksgiving for deeds they did) or to distribute money arranged by mosque officials at the open space, in front of the mosque. That is the reason for, a number of child coins scavengers, vendors and incense traders that can always be found every day in the neighborhood around the mosque, especially on celebration days.

At the time of Haul and the Islamic celebration days, some pilgrims in groups come from various regions. Each group wears a certain uniform. In the eastern zone of the Mosque, on the yard of some Habib's houses (Mutawali members), stood a group of the Arabs pilgrim with physical features like the Yemenis came from outside the kampung. The dominant numbers are pilgrims with Indonesian faces. The entire space within the mosque walls was filled with the pilgrims who stand while praying, facing the prayer leaders inside the mosque (or inside the sacred maqom accompanied by the sound of musical instrument rebana. At noon, a number of gidir contains kebuli rice from the general kitchen were offered, and then divided again into smaller containers. Kebuli rice is Arabic rice seasoned with spices and mixed with goat meat which prayed by the pilgrims in the hope of God's blessing. Local people said that when they eat these rice all of their expextations will be granted by Allah. Gidir is a container with barrel-shaped form, made of clay, which is used to store kebuli rice. Trays of kebuli rice were distributed to the pilgrims free of charge. The rice on one tray was eaten by 5-6 people together. Kebuli rice was cooked in the common kitchen by a number of local mothers following instructions given by mothers of the descendants of the Yemenis.

4.2.2. 'Malam Jumat' Market and 'Pekan' Market

The pilgrimage to the sacred maqom of Al-Habib Husein bin Abubakar Al-Aydrus, affected the change house function into shops, stalls, laundry, phone kiosk, beauty salon, public lavatories, garages, tailors, entertainment, rental house or other services. The peak of noisy trading activity occurs on every Friday night or Tawassul night (Malam Jumat market took place from 4:00 pm to 5.00 am in the morning) and during all major Islamic celebration days (known as the 'Week' Market or Pasar Pekan held from 9.00 am until the completion of event). Birthday of the Prophet's day is celebrated by the men and women on different days. The merchants who come there every day is the native of Luar Batang, immigrants, migrant traders or commuters who deliberately go abroad to earn a living.

To trade alongside the road to the mosque, migrant traders are required to pay maintenance costs and the cost of electricity by the environmental control officers from RW-3 (RW is an administrative area consists of several neighborhood units) since the mosque is located within the RW-3 area. The cost depends on the size of the area used; the greater the area the more expensive cleaning costs. Those who occupy a plot of space on the porch of someone's house (along the road), pay appropriate compensation to the owner of the house for cleansing based on mutual agreement. The kiosks or shops that occupy one's porch, they pay rent or lease for building or land. Paying land rent means that the traders have to rent the land and then build their own buildings on it.

For the native traders who use the public road in front of her house, they were not obliged to pay any compensation. Similarly, for the commuter who trades kembang payung (a packet of flower and a small umbrella) and kemenyan (frankincense), they consider themselves as natives who moved to the area outside the kampong. RW administrator assumes that the local natives understood ethics and responsibilities for not causing any problems or creating disputes. If someone violates the rules out of the

ordinary, RW administrator will negotiate with the offender and finding ways to reprimand or to seek voluntary compensation to each other while maintaining harmony. Harmony is considered as important because they feel that as migrants they must respect the local customs which has been handed down from generation to generation. Mutual help is the basis for reasoning in negotiating the use of space in order not to interfere with each other.

Gambar 6 : Fenomena malam rcfivassLifon (Puspitasari. 2011:111/41}

Fig.4. Phenomena of Tawassul ritual and Malam Jum 'at market. Source: mapping illustration by researcher, 2010.

Building elements, such as : fences, stairs and roofs located alongside the public roads, have additional functions. They are the place to display merchandise; drains covered with plywood are used to put the merchandise table; balconies between homes are used for mooring ropes to hung tents, so that the road can be covered. The covered road is used for buying and selling activities. On the birthday celebration of the Prophet Muhammad which is celebrated by the women, the area that used as a street market becomes more extensive, because women like to shop. Therefore, the rules become more stringent. On both sides of the road, boundary lines of the lots are marked clearly and given numbers. The merchants can occupy more than one lot and the numbers of lots can be adjusted to the demands according to the numbers of traders. Plot is obtained by calling or sending SMS to the RW administrator. The usage of plot is also regulated by time slots. The time and the use of space are governed and determined by negotiation among traders themselves, so that a space in the morning and afternoon may be used by different traders and for different types of merchandise. This management of space and time is based on non-verbal negotiations, set by them on the basis of habit tradition, which in turn promotes closer and more intimate relationship.

However, some traders occupy more strategic spaces in more strategic locations because they have connections or they think that the native deserves a better chance than the newcomers.

4.2.3. Maqom's Land Status Dispute

According to local residents, Al-Habib Husein bin Abubakar Al Aydrus was known for not having offspring or relatives. At this time, the people who maintain the sacred maqom is belong to a group who considers themselves as close to Al Habib Husein clan because of the same offspring (called 'wan-wan' descendants of people from Hadramaut). They control the management of the charity box without involving the indigenous people of Kampung Luar Batang, because they consider themselves as the most rightful right holder of maqom's land. The ownership right of maqom's land, -in the past-; has been disputed. Indigenous peoples feel that they are more entitled to the ownership, because they are living in these homes for much longer than them. On the other hand, the groups of people who consider themselves as close to the Yemenis clan were also claiming the right to maintain the heritage. To resolve the conflict, the indigenous group takes a role in the maintenance of the mosque building, while the other party plays the Mutawali role in the management of the sacred maqom. Considering its historical value the government took over the right and declared maqom and mosque as protected heritage.

Fig.5. Land management history of the sacred maqom and the mosque. Source : diagrammatic illustration by researcher, 2010)

4.3. Spatial Structure Model

The level of accessibility to the maqom location and strategic location to the centers of urban economic activity, are the determinants of the economic value of space in Kampung Luar Batang. The economic value of the surrounding space of Maqom is influenced by the religious values, norms of social relations and historical value. Historically the meaning of maqom has three status levels in relation to the degrees of man's place according to the religious beliefs, which are: the ordinary man -- the guardian -- God. Socially the maqom's spiritual value raises the perception of social status which creates the position of the Yemenis clan relatively higher than the others, because of the assumptions on the proximity to the Al Habib Alaydrus: Al Habib Alydrus --- Mutawali (group of Yemenis people) ---- pilgrims of other ethnics. Spatially, the Yemenis clan does not dominate the occupation of space in the kampong and they are not classified as indigenous.

On the other hand, horizontally, the natives are perceived to have higher rate of ownership than the others according to the following ranks: the natives who are until now living in the village --- the original inhabitants who are living out of the village (commuters) — the settlers who are hiring building or land --- and the immigrant merchants. Perceptions of historical values and status are affecting the population's opportunities in using spaces for economic activities. Moreover, a model of hierarchical layers can also be used to describe the ethical use of spaces that following the space usage without distinguishing the ethnic and residence status. These layers are referring to the usage of central area (maqom location), they

are: the use of space on the basis of lease and contract (homes or land) - the use of space on the basis of compensation on a voluntary basis - and the use of space on the basis of compensation according to the requirements of religious rituals.

5. Conclusion

The intensity of the use of space in Kampung Luar Batang is mainly influenced by the strategic location of the Kampung to the centers of urban economic activities around it. The strength of the maqom spiritual value is a reflection of the synergy between the belief in the sanctity of the maqom according to Islamic rules, and of the high economic value of space around the mosque. Because these two factors, Kampung Luar Batang has a special character as a traditional settlement that contains traditional values (through pilgrimage ritual), blended with the elements of modernity in the form of contractual commercial activities, and primarily related to buildings and land investments.

The models below illustrate the horizontal and vertical structure of space related to the pilgrimage activities. In their position against other theories, these models are detailed exploration of Lefebvre's theory (1984) about Production of Space in settlement scale. The models also reinforce Mausse's (1961), Belshaw's (1981), and Pamuk's (1996) explanation that the traditional settlement is inseparable and tends to mix. Related to Widodo's mezzo-dimension layers model (2004), these models are micro-dimension layers which depict the relationship between spatial, social and economy.

Symbiosis of primordial and modern traditions in the use of space occurs within the spectrum of religious value to economic value. A center, from the perspective of spiritual values, is not always identical with the central space, but it is the imagination of the existence of centralized power over a sacred thing, like the opinion of Eliade (1961). Kampung Luar Batang case is able to illustrate that a pilgrimage place in urban context not only has a potential to stimulate activities related to urbanization, but it does also lead to intra-city migration as generated in Somantri's research (2007).

Fig.6. Location of roads and economic value of space in relation to the distance to the mosque. Source : diagrammatic illustration by researcher, 2010.

Fig.7. (a) Vertical structure of the spirit value and economic value in the use of horizontal space; (b) The ethical use of space layer. Source : Diagrammatic illustration by researcher, 2010.

What is presented in this paper is part of the overall research results which is obtained by the researcher. Thus the presented models above are part of a complete model of a number of phenomena that occur in the Kampung Luar Batang. It should be recognized that the complexity of the model will be changed if there is a number of significant changes to the existing condition. The model has a local character that needs to be compared against other similar cases and ultimately obtain a general model. However, originality of data and information can be trusted even if its nature subjective. Cross check information to a number of local people is a way to strengthen the validity of research results. As a reflection towards Tourism study, this case is able to shed light into one form of Religious Tourisms. From methodological perspective, it has demonstrated the ability of Phenomenology in revealing the intangible aspects of the tangible objects in the context of religious tourism in historic settlement.


On this occasion, I would like to thanks to the mentors who have provided guidance for preparing the paper substance. I proudly want to give the highest appreciation also to the local informants, the members of mutawali and mosque office staffs, the street hawkers, the merchants of kembang payung, kiosks and frankincense who have received me openly when the research was conducted.


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