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Jokowi to mayors: Prioritize green spaces over concrete in city development

Jakarta Globe - June 4, 2024

Ichsan Ali, Balikpapan – President Joko "Jokowi" Widodo urged mayors across Indonesia to avoid excessive concrete development in urban areas and instead promote the establishment of green city spaces that are welcoming to pedestrians, individuals with disabilities, cyclists, children, and women.

"Successful cities are those that accommodate pedestrians, individuals with disabilities, cyclists, children, and women. The fundamental idea revolves around environmental friendliness. Cities should prioritize being green, intelligent, and welcoming. We should refrain from building cities dominated by concrete, where the sidewalks are constructed with paving blocks," Jokowi said during the 17th National Meeting of the Association of Indonesian Municipal Governments (Apeksi) in Balikpapan on Tuesday,

He emphasized the necessity of integrating greenery, proposing the utilization of grass pavers to enhance green spaces. Jokowi also emphasized the importance of trees along pedestrian pathways, particularly in tropical nations like Indonesia, where shade plays a vital role in promoting walking.

Furthermore, Jokowi addressed misconceptions regarding the vision of future cities, cautioning against the notion that modern cities are characterized by skyscrapers. He advocated for a new paradigm that prioritizes environmental sustainability.

Highlighting cities that have embraced green initiatives, Jokowi referenced Balikpapan and Surabaya. Additionally, he announced that the forthcoming Indonesian Capital, Nusantara (IKN), would adopt similar principles.

"Nusantara aims to become the most environmentally friendly capital globally, adopting the concept of a forest city. If we adhere to the initial development concept of Nusantara, which is currently underway, it will be shaded, pedestrian-friendly, cyclist-friendly, with ample city parks, squares, and expansive gardens. This should be the future blueprint. If a city has already succumbed to excessive buildings and concrete, redesigning becomes imperative. Perhaps some structures need to be reduced or repurposed into urban parks. There's no alternative once it's too late," Jokowi concluded.

Last week, Transportation Minister Budi Karya Sumadi announced Nusantara's intention to lead in smart transportation, particularly emphasizing electric vehicles (EVs). The objective is to transition all vehicles within and around the city to electric. Trials for the electric-powered Autonomous Rail Transit (ART) project and flying taxis are scheduled for July and August.

Indonesia is racing against time to develop Nusantara, with President Joko "Jokowi" Widodo planning to commence work from the new capital this July. Jokowi also aims to celebrate Indonesia's Independence Day on August 17 in the yet-to-be-completed capital.

Source: https://jakartaglobe.id/news/jokowi-to-mayors-prioritize-green-spaces-over-concrete-in-city-developmen