BSD City: a response to Jakarta’s rapid urbanisation

An overview of BSD City. Image: Sinar Mas Land.

Carissa Widjojo works on strategic planning and corporate strategy at Sinar Mas Land, the Indonesian property developer behind the Bumi Serpong Damia garden city.

Indonesia is projected to have 32m people seeking housing in its urban areas by 2030. In parallel, the nation’s demographic profile is in transition, with a growing working-age population, but also a larger, aging group with specific needs and spending power. As the nation’s capital and one of the most rapidly growing cities in the world, Jakarta’s development will be the focal point of Indonesia’s rapid urbanisation.

Consequently, Indonesia urgently needs innovative, creative and sustainable property solutions. We need to prioritise the management of natural resources and preserve equitable standards both for established communities and the ones we create.

The self-contained satellite city of Bumi Serpong Damai (BSD), located in the south west of Jakarta, is the realization of over 20 years of meticulous planning. The city’s development is already in its second phase and will continue up until 2020, with a third and final phase set to be completed by 2035. This cityscape of 6,000 hectares is setting a new standard for modern living and is the hallmark of planned integrated townships in Indonesia.

BSD City’s development plan incorporates five toll roads, two of which are already in place, with feeder links to busways for both local and capital city access. In addition, a double track rail connection has been implemented for regional transport. A dedicated water treatment plant and reliable power infrastructure ensure that the utility requirements of its inhabitants are met. In addition, the city’s purpose-built nursery ensures that the landscape flourishes in tandem with rapid urban development. Furthermore, there are over 65 educational establishments and three hospitals, a variety of markets, entertainment centres, sports and leisure facilities.

BSD City focuses on four key areas: climate, including pedestrian comfort; water; waste; and energy management. Our mission is to preserve the natural beauty of the Cisadane river basin, ensure that BSD is an environmentally conscious city of the future for the benefit of all, embrace the needs of adjacent traditional village communities and new residents, and seek an alternative to city congestion and pollution.

Tackling the Biggest Challenges of our Time

Topics of energy, water, food security and climate change are increasingly important in today’s rapidly urbanising world. Some estimates suggest that Indonesia could cut as much as 15 per cent of its energy demands by 2030 through energy efficient buildings. BSD City itself contains over 400 hectares of green space and parks, contributing to effective water retention and air quality.

The provision of adequate water is often recognised as the next global challenge. While Jakarta relies primarily on the use of wells, BSD City has the potential to attain almost complete water independence, and net zero potable water waste, via the use of water management systems and extensive greening. Filtering and treating wastewater for reuse in sanitation, road cleaning and irrigation has been highly effective.

The design for an office park in BSD City. Image: Sinar Mas Land.

The built environment is a massive consumer of energy. Among other countries in Asia, Indonesia’s reliance on energy from low-cost coal contributes significantly to greenhouse gas emissions and global warming. Over the lifespan of a building, considerable energy can be wasted through inefficient design. On top of this, there is the cost of fuel for the rising numbers of private vehicles on traffic-congested roads.

We address these challenges through the provision of reliable public transport, pedestrian sidewalks and bicycle lanes that offer cost-effective alternatives to the private vehicle. Energy efficient buildings, oriented to avoid east and west elevations with reflective roof surfaces, help minimise solar impact and reduce the urban heat island effect. Such measures also channel local wind effectively for pedestrian comfort during the day, along with shade from tree-lined streets.

Creativity in design can generate natural ventilation in multi-storey buildings. Meanwhile the use of renewable energy – in particular solar – and the use of energy efficient building materials ensure further savings.

Championing Sustainable Master Planning

In developing Asian cities of the future, there is an emerging trend to reduce the dominance of multi-lane streets and private vehicles. Asian cities are also aiming to avoid monolithic land use and limit suburban sprawl.

Central to the development of each phase of BSD City is the establishment of comprehensive supporting facilities for inhabitants. These facilities are selected with lifestyle synergy in mind. They include global university campuses, hospital districts, enterprise zones, residential villages, retail and entertainment recreational areas. All of these facilities are destinations in themselves, and are the antithesis of repetitive single use land developments of the past.

Our planning studies include concepts such as “walkability” – creating easy access on foot or bicycle for short journeys, to local nodes comprising schools, local retail and services, which are connected to other hubs via public transport.

Over the next decade we expect to build 150,000 new homes in BSD City alone, as the garden city grows to over one million residents. At this level of responsibility, it is essential that we remain open, accessible and transparent.

With the rapidly growing urban population in Greater Jakarta, our city needs to be ready to accommodate this. The decisions we make today regarding urban services, infrastructure and environment sustainability will determine our future. Now is the time for us to let go of our short-term tunnel vision, and instead to adopt a future-focused mindset, so that our children and businesses can grow and prosper seamlessly in a healthy living environment.

Carissa Widjojo works in strategic planning and corporate strategy at Sinar Mas Land, an Indonesian real estate consultancy which is a partner on the New Cities Summit, to be held in Jakarta on 9-11 June.

This post was originally published on the New Cities Foundation's blog.

 
 
 
 

What's actually in the UK government’s bailout package for Transport for London?

Wood Green Underground station, north London. Image: Getty.

On 14 May, hours before London’s transport authority ran out of money, the British government agreed to a financial rescue package. Many details of that bailout – its size, the fact it was roughly two-thirds cash and one-third loan, many conditions attached – have been known about for weeks. 

But the information was filtered through spokespeople, because the exact terms of the deal had not been published. This was clearly a source of frustration for London’s mayor Sadiq Khan, who stood to take the political heat for some of the ensuing cuts (to free travel for the old or young, say), but had no way of backing up his contention that the British government made him do it.

That changed Tuesday when Transport for London published this month's board papers, which include a copy of the letter in which transport secretary Grant Shapps sets out the exact terms of the bailout deal. You can read the whole thing here, if you’re so minded, but here are the three big things revealed in the new disclosure.

Firstly, there’s some flexibility in the size of the deal. The bailout was reported to be worth £1.6 billion, significantly less than the £1.9 billion that TfL wanted. In his letter, Shapps spells it out: “To the extent that the actual funding shortfall is greater or lesser than £1.6bn then the amount of Extraordinary Grant and TfL borrowing will increase pro rata, up to a maximum of £1.9bn in aggregate or reduce pro rata accordingly”. 

To put that in English, London’s transport network will not be grinding to a halt because the government didn’t believe TfL about how much money it would need. Up to a point, the money will be available without further negotiations.

The second big takeaway from these board papers is that negotiations will be going on anyway. This bail out is meant to keep TfL rolling until 17 October; but because the agency gets around three-quarters of its revenues from fares, and because the pandemic means fares are likely to be depressed for the foreseeable future, it’s not clear what is meant to happen after that. Social distancing, the board papers note, means that the network will only be able to handle 13 to 20% of normal passenger numbers, even when every service is running.


Shapps’ letter doesn’t answer this question, but it does at least give a sense of when an answer may be forthcoming. It promises “an immediate and broad ranging government-led review of TfL’s future financial position and future financial structure”, which will publish detailed recommendations by the end of August. That will take in fares, operating efficiencies, capital expenditure, “the current fiscal devolution arrangements” – basically, everything. 

The third thing we leaned from that letter is that, to the first approximation, every change to London’s transport policy that is now being rushed through was an explicit condition of this deal. Segregated cycle lanes, pavement extensions and road closures? All in there. So are the suspension of free travel for people under 18, or free peak-hours travel for those over 60. So are increases in the level of the congestion charge.

Many of these changes may be unpopular, but we now know they are not being embraced by London’s mayor entirely on their own merit: They’re being pushed by the Department of Transport as a condition of receiving the bailout. No wonder Khan was miffed that the latter hadn’t been published.

Jonn Elledge was founding editor of CityMetric. He is on Twitter as @jonnelledge and on Facebook as JonnElledgeWrites.