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Jakarta in the Changing Future: Urban Ecology Perspective

This article is primarily focused on Jakarta, Indonesia. Jakarta’s urban planning and public infrastructure are both lacking. It has a variety of issues, including urban sprawl, major flooding, and land subsidence. The heavy reliance on passenger vehicles for transportation and urban planning failures almost appear to stem from a “disposable” short-term mindset. Therefore, the urban ecological approach is very suitable to cope with Jakarta problems.

Firstly, the occurrence of the urban heat island (UHI) phenomenon. Air temperature in Jakarta exhibited an increase of 2°C – 3°C from 2001 to 2014 (Hamin and Gurran, 2009). The temperature increase is linearly proportional to the increase in constructing land and inversely proportional to an area size of open green space in Jakarta, which decreases area size. Researchers revealed that from 2000 to 2012, 49.7 % of green open space was converted into other land uses, especially build-up areas (Ramdhoni et al., 2016). To address urban environment issues, it is necessary to maintain an urban forest that provides shade for buildings and pavement in urban areas.

Based on the conditions and problems in Jakarta, therefore, local governments are currently doing such strategy: (1) Increase the green area developed evenly throughout areas of Jakarta, including the coastal regions (mangrove areas); (2) Prioritized the development of green open spaces in areas with high surface temperatures; (3) Green open space in Central Jakarta which very limited land, its shape can be a city park, urban forest shaped paths town and roof garden, and (4) Control the increase in built-up land area. The Jakarta administration also claimed that onshore wind could carry a variety of pollutants that can reduce the concentration of pollutants. Additionally, the Jakarta administration allocated IDR 140 billion in 2019 to revitalize five city parks in response to growing public demand for open green spaces, as well as to upgrade some of the city’s water systems (such as water fountains, ponds, or artificial rivers).

Secondly, the Jakarta flooding event. Flooding is not a new problem in Jakarta; the city has been prone to flooding since it was first established. However, recent and projected changes in several physical and socioeconomic factors have meant that both the probability of (major) flooding and the resulting consequences are increasing and will continue to increase in the future. Jakarta flood protection measures are now under-designed (Ward et al., 2013), even if the possible impacts of climate change are not included. Moreover, many of the structural defence measures require improved maintenance. Coupled with climate change, there is a growing recognition that Jakarta could significantly benefit from an integrated approach to flood risk management. This approach takes into account both structural measures designed to reduce the likelihood of flooding (e.g., dikes and sea walls) and non-structural measures designed to mitigate the negative consequences of a flood. Additionally, Jakarta’s annual flooding is caused by certain extreme rainfall events that occur primarily in the upper section of the Ciliwung watershed in the southern part of Jakarta.

The Government of the neighbouring region of Jakarta, currently established join the collaboration to implement the concept of the Ciliwung River Riparian Landscape Management, which is a concept that aims to restore the Ciliwung River in its natural condition (Asdak et al., 2018). Therefore, developed land, such as settlements in the riparian zone, must be released and returned as a buffer zone. Strengthening the river banks must no longer with retaining walls or concrete but by using natural materials. A productive community garden and inland fisheries can be established to fulfil the function of production. The local community can manage this garden, and the harvest can be used for daily purposes or resold to generate income. The function of water resources management (WRM) is also essential, especially in reducing runoff. In the midstream, the WRM function is directed at water retention, with the initiation of a water retention pond on the outer curved edge of the river. The pond can hold excess water during the rainy season and be utilized for specific needs, like inland fisheries or waterfront landscape recreation. Besides, according to Renald et al., (2016) the adaptive behaviour of society to respond to environmental change, particularly in flood-prone areas, are needed as one strategy to reduce the risk of disaster.

Thirdly, the land subsidence problems, Jakarta, a megacity of 30 million people, is sinking. In places along the coastline, the ground has subsided by four meters over the last few decades, meaning that the concrete barricades are the only thing preventing whole communities from being engulfed by the sea. According to Abidin et al., (2015), over the period between 1974 and 2010, Jakarta land subsidence has spatial and temporal variations with typical rates of about 3–10 cm/year. However, The Jakarta government has prioritized flood prevention over subsidence. Following the 2007 disaster (Chaudhuri, 2018) highlighted that the existing 20-mile seawall was raised, and Jakarta’s extensive canal system was dredged and widened. Embankments were strengthened, water retention basins were dug, and rivers were redirected into massive flood canals. In many ways, Jakarta’s experience with subsidence and flooding foreshadows many environmental challenges facing Indonesia and the world. These long-term issues only attract widespread attention after already causing significant, costly damage, and they require expensive transformations of status quo natural resource usage to solve.

Figure 1. Jakarta Urban Blue-Green Oasis (credit: https://www.plataran.com)

In connection with ecology, the wildlife ecosystem in Jakarta city will survive and live harmoniously as the green areas keep maintenance, and some supporting systems exist (such as food sources and water). The blue-green oasis concept can be a good place for birds, insects, small mammals, or even fish to stay there. Jakarta people also need bees and butterflies or other insects for the garden, or ornamental plants have more beautiful sights, to which extent, later, it is such a great win-win solution symbiosis. Primarily, at the weekend, the community in Jakarta can visit such a green open space to feed some birds living in the parks or hear the water fountain’s sounds while seeing the fish in the ponds. Besides, another alternative for society, if they want to see more diverse wildlife animals, they may visit the zoos or nature reserves in neighboring provinces. Eventually, it is about how can we reconnect with nature.


Abidin, H.Z., Andreas, H., Gumilar, I., Wibowo, I.R.R., 2015. On correlation between urban development, land subsidence and flooding phenomena in Jakarta. IAHS-AISH Proc. Reports 370, 15–20. https://doi.org/10.5194/piahs-370-15-2015

Asdak, C., Supian, S., Subiyanto, 2018. Watershed management strategies for flood mitigation: A case study of Jakarta’s flooding. Weather Clim. Extrem. 21, 117–122. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.wace.2018.08.002

Hamin, E.M., Gurran, N., 2009. Urban form and climate change: Balancing adaptation and mitigation in the U.S. and Australia. Habitat Int. 33, 238–245. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.habitatint.2008.10.005

Ramdhoni, S., Rushayati, S.B., Prasetyo, L.B., 2016. Open Green Space Development Priority Based on Distribution of air Temperature Change in Capital City of Indonesia, Jakarta. Procedia Environ. Sci. 33, 204–213. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.proenv.2016.03.071

Renald, A., Tjiptoherijanto, P., Suganda, E., Djakapermana, R.D., 2016. Toward Resilient and Sustainable City Adaptation Model for Flood Disaster Prone City: Case Study of Jakarta Capital Region. Procedia – Soc. Behav. Sci. 227, 334–340. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.sbspro.2016.06.079

Ward, P.J., Marfai, M.A., Poerbandono, Aldrian, E., 2013. Climate adaptation in the city of Jakarta. Clim. Adapt. Flood Risk Coast. Cities 9781849776, 285–304. https://doi.org/10.4324/9781849776899

Chaudhuri E. (2018). Jakarta Sinking: How Subsidence Endangers Indonesia’s Capital. Harvard Political Review. https://harvardpolitics.com/world/jakarta-sinking-how-subsidence-endangers-indonesias-capital/

2 thoughts on “Jakarta in the Changing Future: Urban Ecology Perspective

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