Indonesia City Planning Labs

The City Form Lab supported the integration of data driven analytics with city planning and urban design with Indonesian city governments during the phase one implementation of the World Bank Indonesian City Planning Lab initiative. 

The aim of City Planning Lab Initiative is to build capacity for integrated, evidence-based spatial planning and investment decision-making, and helping cities achieve sustainable and inclusive economic growth, and to embed this in a dedicated facility called the City Planning Lab to sustainably internalize the capacity. The City Planning Lab Initiative was started by the World Bank as part of the National Urban Development Program (P3N) through which the Bank is engaging directly with large cities through investments in transformative infrastructure. In addition to investment support, a key component in P3N is building technical and institutional capacity in cities and metropolitan authorities, which will take the form of City Planning Labs. The Bank has initiated direct engagements with local governments, targeting large and medium cities and metropolitan areas with populations over 500,000.

Background and Rationale

East Asia is changing quickly and has become known for its rapid urbanization. Indonesia is urbanizing even faster than its Asian counterparts, with an average annual urbanization rate estimated at 4.2% between 1993 and 2007, versus China (3.8%), India (3.1%) and Thailand (2.8%). This has made Indonesia one of the most urbanized countries in Asia, with an urban population share of 54% in 2010. Projections of urbanization suggest that this figure will increase to 68 % by 2025. 

However, Indonesia has yet to achieve the economic returns to urbanization that other countries have achieved. For every additional 1% that the country urbanizes, it achieves just 2% of additional GDP growth, whereas other countries in the region achieve 6-10% GDP growth per 1% of urbanization. Without strategically planned investments, policy interventions, and institutional capacity, mismanaged urbanization could become an obstacle to sustainable growth.

Indonesia’s history has been turbulent as it’s emerged from centuries of colonial rule under the Dutch, invasion by the Japanese during WWII, widespread corruption, a democratization process which supported the first democratically elected president in 2004, 59 years after declaring independence as a nation, and a massive redistribution of power away from the national government in 1999.  Many roles, procedures, access rights, and responsibilities from the huge shift in power after decentralization of governance in 1999 are still being figured out as of 2014. 

Cities can provide many opportunities for community and economic development. Since decentralization of governance and partial devolution of regulatory authority cities have gained the power to considerably influence the business environment and improve the regulatory environment.  With effectively planned infrastructure, policies, and enforcement urbanization can lead to increased efficiency, opportunity, access to services, and good quality of life for the masses.

The size and diversity of Indonesia calls for customized strategies for sustainable and inclusive economic growth. Examples of notable success (and failure) of international cities can provide guidance as to what can be done to enhance city competitiveness and make best use of comparative advantages. Locally appropriate policies are needed to provide the simple, transparent, and supportive operating environment that businesses need to succeed and grow. The City Planning Lab initiative puts the power, and technical capacity for each city to analyze and determine its own best strategies.

Technical assistance to Indonesian cities for data creation and analysis has typically taken the form of isolated studies which, while they may be helpful in the short term, often do not systematically increase cities’ technical capacity, or improve urban management on an ongoing, city-wide basis. Municipalities are required to create large-scaled geospatial information, which is more detailed than the 1:25,000 scale base map series, to develop their detailed spatial plan, and encouraged to do this in coordination with the national agency BIG. A huge opportunity exists for introducing GIS systems, good geospatial data standards and technical knowledge for creating reliable data to use in spatial analysis to guide strategic urban planning decision-making in Indonesia. The availability and use of such data and analyses is presently very limited. The most notable use of GIS has been seen in disaster risk management projects that have been implemented with foreign aid in the recent years following the tsunami.

By acting as a single ‘nerve center’ or focal point for analytical work across a range of sectors such as spatial growth, land use, land markets, slums, and economic competitiveness, the City Planning Lab Initiative aims to help to habituate city leaders to thinking about urban management in an integrated, holistic way, allowing them to meet a range of needs through select but strategic interventions.

Each city is responsible for resources and arrangements necessary for establishment and the ongoing work of its City Planning Lab. 

What was done? 

The first year of the CPL initiative raised awareness about the benefits of spatial data and analytics in the context of urban planning issues, began demonstrating how the CPL initiative could benefit the cities through customized strategies for each participating city, and identified common challenges across cities which could be addressed by multi-city / national level coalitions

The CPL core module was introduced in four cities, with implementation in Surabaya and Denpasar, including two successful participatory planning workshops with 50-60 inter-disciplinary city government members in each case. Engagement discussions also took place in the cities of Balikpapan and Palembang, where major investments in high-resolution aerial photography and creation of detailed base maps are already underway.

The City Form Lab worked with the World Bank and city staff to provide technical guidance, addressing each city’s individual needs and desires for CPL implementation, including, facilities, staff hiring, inventorying and assembling geospatial data from existing repositories, development of an online data sharing platform (WebGIS), and spatial analysis and tasks to illustrate the cities’ spatial growth trends. 

Denpasar has built a dedicated CPL space at the Bappeda (spatial planning) office of the city government, hired CPL staff, and shaped preliminary plans for data collection and analyses conducted by CPL at both site and city scales. The Surabaya Engagement, Corridor Report and associated CPL work helped to mobilize a USD $300M Surabaya Urban Corridor Development Program loan with the City. The accomplishments of the first year of CPL have shown great promise for continuation of the CPL initiative.

Find out more about the Participatory Planning Workshops, Denpasar CPL, and Surabaya CPL