Urban Social Forum

Multiple cities

The Urban Social Forum (USF) is an annual, open, free, and inclusive platform, initiated in 2013 by Kota Kita upon a critical reflection on the existing urban civil society movements in Indonesia that tend to be compartmentalized based on sector and geographical location. The forum aims to bring together civil society organizations, activists, academics, students, and citizens working on pressing urban issues to network, debate ideas, and exchange knowledge. Ultimately, the Forum is a truly public and democratic space for people to put forward alternative ideas and imagine ‘Another City is Possible!’.

Year after year, the Urban Social Forum grows and expands the critical conversation about what kind of city we want and need, and how cities can be more inclusive of all kinds of aspirations, communities, people, and futures. The Forum was established, and continues to exist, with the mission to advocate and promote a more socially just, sustainable, and democratic city by creating spaces that encourage active citizen participation.

The first meeting was held in Solo with around 100 participants. This number then doubled during USF 2 in Solo in 2014, with participants from various representatives of civil society organizations from cities across Indonesia. In 2015, USF 3 was held in Surabaya and was attended by more than 1000 participants, and in 2016 and 2017, in Semarang and Bandung, respectively, USF 4 and USF 5 were consistently attended by many participants and had a larger and more diverse number of panels. USF 6 was held in Solo City, for the first time, as a festival or civic celebration, over a 2-day weekend. Responding to the COVID-19 pandemic, USF 7 and 8 were held online, providing an opportunity for more participants to join from outside Java and Indonesia. USF 8 also explored a new format through the Sambang Kota initiative to provide growth support and capacity building for local initiatives in various cities in Indonesia.

After more than two years apart due to the pandemic, Kota Kita resumed the offline format of the Urban Social Forum in Jakarta on a more intimate scale at the end of 2022. The following year, we commemorated the 10th Urban Social Forum with 53 organizing partners, featuring over 25 panels and activities. This event drew over 900 participants to Solo on December 9th and 10th, 2023.

If you are passionate about citizen participation and building a better city — we invite you to join the platform. You will have the opportunity to learn and connect with people from across the world about common issues and promote new perspectives, ideas, and innovations.

Let’s work together to imagine ‘Another City is Possible!’