GFCP Surabaya Urban | Neglected Surabaya tomb renovated by community spirit

Religious and cultural sites can prove a valuable source of social cohesion, individual pride and also tourism. In Surabaya’s Putat Jaya, famous until recently as the city’s red-light district, the renovation of a c700-year-old burial place is helping the community to find inspiration from its past.

As part of the Secondary Benefits from GFCP Surabaya Urban Transformation, ITS (Sepuluh Nopember Institute of Technology) and UNTAG Surabaya, together with the local community, have successfully completed the renovation of the Tomb of Mbah Kapiludin, which is located at Jalan Kupang Gunung Timur VII.

The project was fuelled by ‘gotong royong’ (community spirit). Neighbourhood leaders were actively involved in the planning and decision making from early stage and throughout the renovation programme. As a result, there is a growing sense of ownership from the community and the willingness to change. Activities included repairs to the flooring, signage, and information on the religious site, as well as plastering the wall and cleaning up the surrounding area.

Surabaya Renovation

The renovation work of the religious site was led by Andy Mappajaya from ITS through participatory process involving the community, neighbourhood leaders and Surabaya City Government – June 2021

The tomb is the final resting place of Mbah Kapiludin, one of the disciples of Sunan Bungkul, a religious figure who spread Islam towards the end of the Majapahit Kingdom. The renovation of the Tomb of Mbah Kapiludin could now become a catalyst for religious tourism in Putat Jaya, providing physical evidence that Putat Jaya was a religious area before it became a dense and urban settlement – and latterly a red-light district.


The implementation of the renovation work was carried through with ‘gotong royong’ or community spirit.

Surabaya- renovation

Led by Andy Mappajaya from ITS, the roof of the Tomb is designed in the form of canopy or ‘tajug’, which symbolises the relationship between people and God.

The Putat Jaya intervention is not only maximising on the Primary Benefits of urban development, but also delivering Secondary Benefits that are sustainable and inclusive. The programme is encouraging a sense of ownership, creating partnership and building trust between academia, the community and Surabaya City Government.


Mott MacDonald (MM)


Republic of Indonesia




Social Inclusion


Andy Mappajaya

Cultural and Urban Historian for Surabaya Urban Transformation – Global Future Cities Programme

Retno Hastijanti

Deputy Team Lead for Surabaya Urban Transformation – Global Future Cities Programme