Government urged to tackle urbanisation challenges

With the country’s number of urban inhabitants tripling over the last four decades, the Indonesian Association of Planners (IAP) has urged the central government and city administrations to anticipate future surges in urbanisation as the country’s economy and productive-age population continue to grow.

IAP chairman Bernardus Djonoputro said the number of people living in urban areas was estimated to continue to grow over the next few years as such areas are deemed as providing better employment and education opportunities, as well as technological innovation.

“More than 30 mid-sized cities in Indonesia will eventually accommodate populations of more than 1 million each. And these cities are now facing the risk of being unable to fulfill the needs of their residents,” Bernardus said during the 24th Eastern Regional Organization for Planning and Housing (EAROPH) World Congress on Monday.

“The government should pay more attention to these mid-sized cities, not only focusing on improving infrastructure, but also improving other aspects to develop the residents’ quality of life, which can be measured from the cities’ livability index,” he said.

The number of people living in urban areas accounted for 49.8 per cent of Indonesia’s 237.6 million population in 2010 and is estimated to grow to 68 per cent by 2025.

During the EAROPH event, the IAP launched the 2014 Most Livable City Index, which named Balikpapan, Surakarta, Malang, Yogyakarta, Palembang, Makassar and Bandung as the country’s most livable cities.

The survey, which was conducted in 17 cities across the archipelago, showed that 63.6 per cent of respondents overall were satisfied with the quality of life in their cities. Balikpapan, the business capital of East Kalimantan, rated the highest, as 71.12 per cent of its residents considered the city comfortable.

Among the indicators to measure the cities’ livability were transportation systems, accessibility, environmental quality and socioeconomic conditions.

The quality of spatial planning, the number of green spaces, the environmental pollution level, and the protection of historical buildings were also among the indicators, according to the IAP.

The mid-sized cities that topped the index still have problems with transportation quality, but have succeeded in meeting the needs of its residents’ in terms of quality of life, unlike big cities such as Jakarta, Medan and Surabaya that rated below the national average, Bernardus said.

The availability of green spaces is one aspect that helps to improve the quality of life of city dwellers, according to Deputy Public Works Minister Hermanto Dardak.

“Cities that topped the list, including Balikpapan and Yogyakarta, have almost reached the minimum green-space proportion of 30 per cent [of the entire city area],” Hermanto said.

“Therefore, the government has aimed to amend the current spatial planning law, which should detail regulations on green space and city zoning systems,” he added.

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