Southeast Asia’s most populous nation is moving its polluted, sinking capital. Home to 30 million people, Jakarta has undergone decades of rapid urbanisation, but its sprawling infrastructure is creaking under the pressure. Water is another big problem. The capital is sinking faster than any other city in the world, despite sea-level rise. Torrential rain for half the year overwhelms drainage systems. Only a third of residents have access to municipal water, forcing the rest to drill wells for potable groundwater.
The capital will move from the island Java to the East Kalimantan Province in Borneo. The idea is that Nusantara, the new capital, will be a green and smart global “super hub” developed in stages until 2045. The futuristic design shows a well-connected city with modern public transport, powered by renewable energy.
Environmentalists are sceptical if developers will be able to meet these ambitious plans. While the city will be built on cleared land, there are concerns that the move will increase pollution in East Kalimantan and contribute to the destruction of rainforests that are home to wildlife.
The move is touted by the government as a means to create new job opportunities and increase Indonesia’s economic activities and growth. President Joko Widodo has set his sights on becoming one of the world’s top five economies by 2045. He has labelled the new capital with a hefty price tag of US$32.5 billion as a “magnet for global talent and a centre of innovation”. How this materialises will be hinged on how well the new city can become the smart hub it promises to be.
This dialogue with public and private Indonesian stakeholders will discuss how Nusantara can create a new narrative for Asia’s cities and what needs to be done to ensure the new capital can balance economic growth with environmental integrity.
For event details and registration, visit here.
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