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Should Indonesia get a second Jakarta? JAKARTA - President Yudhoyono is the third president that coined the idea of creating a new capital away from Jakarta because that city is choking with people, traffic jams and waste. He said that plans to develop a new capital were welcome, but the government itself does not lay focus to creating a new Jakarta elsewhere, that would be up to others.

In the late days of the reign of Suharto, the idea was coined to move the administration from Jakarta to Jonggol in West Java. During the Asian Financial Crisis in 1997-1998, Suharto was forced to step down and the plans were from the table again to never resurface until now. But is building a new capital on the crowded island of Java nothing more than creating another Jakarta?

Any new center of power would need vast new infrastructure. A new city should be created out of thin air because using an existing city would certainly lead to a lot of problems that Jakarta now has as well. Creating a completely new city is the only solution so it seems, but that would need vast amount of money, something that Indonesia doesn't have and foreign investors don't want to pay for as well at the moment.

Where should this new city be constructed? Best location is not too far away from the current Jakarta indeed, but what is far away? If you build a new city in South Sumatra, connect it by a high-speed railway connection, it is still close. Maybe that is also part of the solution, to upgrade Jakarta from what it is now. Find a foreign company - stop nationalist thinking to save the capital - for the construction of a dozen-or-so monorail lines for example.

North Jakarta should be reclaimed as a natural green belt to protect the city from the sea while the colonial drainage system built by the Dutch should be completely overhauled and reinstated so water actually flows somewhere when it starts raining in the city. Construction of the second toll-road ring around the city should also be completed.

If parts of the city are to be rebuilt they should consist of compact high-rise buildings with lot of green space, water basins and a good way to get rid of trash, because that is clogging up the city and causes floods every time it rains. It's a culture that has to be changed, as long as you don't learn people to clean up after themselves any new capital will turn into another Jakarta very soon.

An unfinished toll-road in the area of Bekasi, on the eastern border with Jakarta.
An unfinished toll-road in the area of Bekasi, on the eastern border with Jakarta. indahnesia.com



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Posted in General @ 12 December 2009 01:20 CET by Jeroen · 'Blog' RSS feed · permalink






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