In August 2019, the idea to build a new Indonesian capital city, Nusantara, was announced by Indonesia’s President, Joko Widodo. The city will be located at the East Kalimantan Province, covering an area of 2561 km2 . The Nusantara Act, a legal document authorizing the construction of Nusantara, was finalized within a period of 43 days. Since then, the Indonesian Government has been working on the project. The project is currently in its first phase. It is expected to go through 2024.

Why Build A New City ?

The reason as to why President Joko Widodo decided to move Indonesia’s capital to the East of Kalimantan is due to a lot of problems and complications with Jakarta. Jakarta, Indonesia’s current capital, has been sinking at an alarming rate. Due to the rapid growth in population, over-extraction of groundwater occurred and the demand for clean water increases consistently. Furthermore, Jakarta is incredibly overcrowded and is also notorious for its traffic congestion, flood, and highly polluted air.

The construction of Nusantara is also related to the spread of Indonesia’s population. As of 2022, the population of Indonesia is approximately 275 million, with over 50% living on Java island alone. The president attempts to shift Indonesia’s population away from Java to Nusantara in order to ensure evenly distribute development across the country, leading to a huge economic development and an increase in overall quality of life in Indonesia.

Nusantara is originally designed to be a futuristic sustainable city, aiming to rely heavily on the use of sustainable energy and to be carbon neutral in a few decades. The city is envisioned to be a low-carbon, walkable city, by having infrastructures that are not car-centric to ensure more than 80% of its mobility is supported by public transportation, cycling, and/or walking. Furthermore, the city is also designed as a green city, surrounded by nature, where Nusantara will prioritize green spaces and reserve 75% of the city for the forest. This is incomparable to Jakarta, in which urbanization causes less than 10% of existing green spaces. Moreover, this would not only reduce pollution and be environmentally friendly, but it would also tackle Jakarta’s issue of frequent flooding. Hence, this is where the “Sponge City” concept comes in, by creating larger green spaces and water-catchment reservoirs, the city will be able to absorb water more efficiently, which could then avoid floods.

The idea of Nusantara originated from the pressing issues of Jakarta such as Jakarta’s sinking land, overpopulation, flood, and heavy traffic. In addition, Nusantara represents Indonesia’s sustainable vision of the future. It focuses on creating an environmentally friendly city through the use of renewable energy, thus creating more green spaces, and technologies that connect the city as a whole. Therefore, the completion and success of Nusantara could boost Indonesia’s economic growth and increase the quality of life of its people.

References : 

  • Beech, H. (2023, May 20). Indonesia Plans on Building Nusantara, a New Capital City. The New York Times.
  • Souisa, H., & Salim, N. (2022, January 29). Nusantara is set to be the new capital of Indonesia, but what will happen to Jakarta? ABC News.
  • Kabir, R. (2022, January 20). EXPLAINED: Why Indonesia Is Relocating Its Capital From Jakarta To Nusantara.
Hilkia Hans Nugraha