Forty percent of the Indonesian capital now lies below sea level; Jakarta is sinking. But the president, Joko Widodo, has expressed his plans to move it. Presently, the Indonesian government is actively engaged in the endeavor of relocating the nation’s capital from its current location to the captivating island of Borneo.
Apart from the sinking, which is an immensely great deal in itself, Jakarta struggles with pollution, and traffic gridlock.
“The idea to move the capital city appeared long ago. But it has never been decided or discussed in a planned and mature manner,” said the President. However, after a Cabinet meeting late last month, minister Bambang Brodjonegoro officially announced that President Joko Widodo has decided to move the capital out of Indonesia’s main island, Java.
But there is a humungous obstacle in his way, it’s the fastest-sinking city in the world, and moving a population is nothing if not time consuming.
Heri Andreas, an expert in Jakarta’s land subsidence at the Bandung Institute of Technology said that “if we look at our models, by 2050 about 95% of North Jakarta will be submerged”.
But moving the city also comes with its cons, as expressed by a high school student: “I hope the city will develop and the education will become as good as in Jakarta, but all the land and forest that’s empty space now will be used. Kalimantan [the Indonesian portion of Borneo] is the lungs of the world, and I am worried we will lose the forest we have left.”
According to Indonesian authorities, the upcoming urban center is envisioned as a forest city committed to sustainability andprioritizing environmental considerations throughout its development. The ambitious goal is to achieve carbon neutrality by the year 2045. But considering the words of the high school student it is a version of Jakarta difficult to envision.
Joko Widodo’s vision extends beyond the mere protection of Jakarta’s inhabitants from rising sea levels. The president envisions Nusantara, the future capital, as more than just a typical planned city. It will be a sustainable metropolis powered by renewable energy, free from suffocating traffic congestion, and offering lush pathways for leisurely strolls and cycling. Additionally, Joko envisions a technologically advanced city, appealing to digital nomads and millennials who will have the option to acquire trendy cryptocurrency-based apartments.
“We want to build a new Indonesia,” said the President. “This is not physically moving the buildings. We want a new work ethic, new mindset, new green economy.”
However, environmentalists keep warning that the establishment of the new capital may result in extensive deforestation, posing a significant risk to the habitats of endangered creatures like orangutans and endangering the ancestral lands of Indigenous communities.