Indonesia’s New Capital Nusantara: A Utopian City in the Borneo Jungle


by Kivi



JAKARTA, INDONESIA — Indonesia’s parliament passed a bill on Tuesday, January 18 to relocate the country’s capital from the sinking city of Jakarta 2,000 kilometers east to the island of Borneo.

The city will be named “Nusantara,” the Javanese word for “archipelago.” The site was chosen because it reflects Indonesia’s geography and was iconic internationally, the national development planning minister was quoted by the Guardian as saying.

Nusantara will cover about 56,180 hectares in East Kalimantan province. A total of 256,142 hectares — almost all of it currently rainforest — has been set aside for the initial project and future expansion.

Statements from officials and renderings depict Nusantara as a utopian design and an eco-friendly ‘smart’ city, but few details have been confirmed.

Construction was planned to begin in 2020 but was delayed due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Indonesia’s minister of finance said in a press conference on Tuesday there will be five stages of development for the new city, starting in 2022 and running until 2045.

Budget details have not yet been released in a presidential decree, but previous reports have pegged the project’s costs at US$32 billion, CNN reported.

The government hopes relocating the capital will reduce the burden on the Jakarta metropolitan area, an overpopulated urban region of 30 million people.

Jakarta is one of the fastest-sinking cities on Earth, according to the World Economic Forum, and suffers from severe traffic congestion, air pollution and flooding.

Experts expect nearly all of North Jakarta to be submerged by 2050.

The government also hopes the relocation will help redistribute wealth to other regions in Indonesia.

SOURCES: CNN, Deutsche Welle, The ASEAN Post, The Guardian, KompasTV, India Today, Reuters, NPR, BBC, Jakarta Post,is%20also%20prone%20to%20flooding

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