Jabodetabek: birth pains of a megacity

Jabodetabek, the vast conurbation centred on Jakarta in Indonesia, is now home to over 30 million people. It is the second largest in the world after Keihin in Japan and one of the world’s 12 new ‘metacities’. But a new study says its infrastructure is woefully inadequate.

Jabodetabek in Indonesia is the world’s second biggest city. Image: Gunawan Kartapranata
Jabodetabek in Indonesia is the world’s second biggest city. Image: Gunawan Kartapranata

The full story of Jabodetabek's astonishing growth over the past 40 years - and the alarming failure of its infrastructure to keep pace - is told in two papers in the latest issue of the ICE Municipal Engineer journal.

'Essential change'

According to lead author John Younger of PT Nusantara Infrastructure, 'every sector of urban infrastructure in Jabodetabek is critically underdeveloped. The situation will only deteriorate further unless drastic and comprehensive change is effected in each sector in an integrated manner over the next decade. Some of this essential change was started under the previous government but it needs to be both accelerated and expanded under the new government.'

He cites uncontrolled groundwater abstraction as an example. 'Exacerbated by limited and unreliable supply of clean water from the water utilities, this has caused significant ground subsidence over most of north of Jakarta, even causing intrusion of seawater into the aquifers beneath parts of central Jakarta.' Total traffic gridlock is also expected by 2030 unless at least 80% more road capacity is provided.

For further information, please contact ICE Proceedings editor Simon Fullalove, email editor@ice.org.uk, telephone +44 (0)20 7665 2448.

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