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Indonesia’s upcoming capital, Nusantara, set to outsize land area of Jakarta and Singapore, says project chief

Nusantara’s New Capital City (IKN) in Indonesia is set to exceed the land area of Jakarta and Singapore.

The project’s Chief Bambang Susantono emphasized the city’s vastness, underscoring its uniqueness as a forested, sustainable city.

IKN allocates 65% of land for tropical rainforest restoration and 10% for green spaces, symbolizing Nusantara’s ambition to be a pioneering sustainable model.

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INDONESIA: Bambang Susantono, the Chief of Nusantara’s New Capital City (IKN), revealed that the IKN project’s land area surpasses that of both Jakarta and Singapore.

However, only a quarter of this vast expanse will be developed. The primary objective is to establish a green and smart city, showcasing Nusantara’s commitment to sustainable urban planning.

Speaking at the Diaspora Congress event held at The Hall, Senayan City, Jakarta on Saturday (12 Aug), Bambang Susantono explained, “Indeed, when we observe the IKN’s area of 256 thousand hectares, it is four times larger than Jakarta and 3.5 times larger than Singapore.

However, the uniqueness of Nusantara as a sustainable forest city lies in only developing 25 percent of that area. Moreover, it must become a green and smart city.”

The IKN initiative aims to allocate 65 percent of its land to be dedicated to the restoration of tropical rainforests in Kalimantan. An additional 10 percent will be designated for green spaces, including agricultural zones.

This distinctive approach underscores Nusantara’s aspiration to become a model sustainable city for Indonesia and beyond.

In an appeal to the diaspora community, Susantono urged them to help dispel any misinformation surrounding the IKN project, particularly among the global audience. He addressed misconceptions that the project might harm the forests, saying,

“We hope that our diaspora friends can assist in clarifying certain aspects that might still be unclear on a global scale. For instance, there is an erroneous notion that Nusantara’s development will contribute to deforestation.”

Illustration of the design of the Presidential Palace to be built in IKN East Kalimantan.

The IKN project not only signifies a groundbreaking transformation in Indonesia’s urban landscape but also offers a chance to rejuvenate the grandeur of Kalimantan’s rainforests. By prioritizing reforestation over the past practice of deforestation, Nusantara aims to restore the natural balance.

“As part of Nusantara’s development, reforestation will play a pivotal role. With 65 percent of the total IKN area dedicated to urban rainforests, these insights can be shared and communicated effectively by our diaspora,” emphasized Susantono.

“They can become Nusantara ambassadors, illuminating the global audience about Indonesia’s transformative journey as it approaches a century of independence.”

What is IKN? IKN stands for the New National Capital City, Nusantara. The term IKN is used for brevity and ease of reference.

President Joko Widodo officially announced the relocation of Indonesia’s capital to the new IKN in Kalimantan during a press conference at the Presidential Palace on Monday, 26 August 2019.

Jokowi stated that the decision to move the capital to IKN was made after an in-depth three-year study by the government.

Mega National Capital City project estimated to take 15-20 years

The term IKN has been widely used in discussions about the new national capital, ranging from planning and construction execution to the Capital City Bill (RUU IKN) serving as the legal framework for IKN development.

Meanwhile, the construction of the mega National Capital City project, or IKN is estimated to take 15-20 years.

However, the President, TNI (Indonesian National Armed Forces), Polri (Indonesian National Police), and several ministries are targeted to begin moving to the IKN area by 2024.

President Joko Widodo inspects the new capital city project, IKN.

President Joko Widodo himself announced the designation of East Kalimantan Province as the location for IKN.

Specifically, in parts of North Penajam Paser Regency and parts of Kutai Kartanegara Regency. “The most ideal location for the new capital is in parts of North Penajam Paser Regency and parts of Kutai Kartanegara Regency, East Kalimantan Province,” said Jokowi, as quoted by Kompas.com on 26 August 2022.

The reasons for choosing these two areas, based on the IKN Relocation Handbook, are as follows:

First, the minimal risk of disasters such as floods, earthquakes, tsunamis, forest fires, volcanoes, and landslides.

Second, its strategic location is in the center of Indonesia. Geographically, the average distance from East Kalimantan to all provinces in Indonesia is 893 km.

Third, the IKN location is close to developed urban areas, namely Balikpapan and Samarinda.

Fourth, the infrastructure in Balikpapan and Samarinda is relatively complete, including the Balikpapan – Samarinda toll road, trans-Kalimantan highway, airports in Balikpapan and Samarinda, as well as the Kariangau Container Terminal Port (Balikpapan) and Semayang Port (Samarinda).

Fifth, the government and state-owned enterprises (BUMN) have a land area of 180,000 hectares to reduce costs.

Jokowi officially designated the new capital’s name in East Kalimantan as “Nusantara“.

According to the Minister of National Development Planning/Bappenas, Suharso Monoarfa, the name Nusantara was chosen from around 80 other proposed names, such as Negara Jaya, Nusantara Jaya, Nusa Karya, Nusa Jaya, Pertiwipura, Cakrawalapura, and Kertanegara. This selection reflects the nation’s commitment to preserving its rich cultural and environmental heritage.

Through the IKN project, Indonesia is poised to not only establish a cutting-edge capital city but also to champion forest conservation and responsible urban development on a global scale.

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But is it going to be a smart and green city? Or just a quick and cheap same old same old city alternative to crowded, sinking and water stressed old Jakarta?

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