Jakarta, the Indonesia capital city of 30 million people, is sinking. In the absence of effective remedies—including plans for a great sea wall that have been dismissed as ineffective—Indonesia President Joko Widodo has committed to building from scratch a replacement capital city 800 miles away on the large island of Borneo. Will Indonesia’s mission to devise and construct a new green metropolis serve as a model for other coastal cities in the era of climate change?
Joko hopes by August 2024 to open the new capital, called Nusantara, around a base of government buildings powered largely by renewable energy. “I think it will act as a pilot project,” says Gavin Shatkin, professor of public policy and architecture at Northeastern. “There are efforts afoot across Asia and elsewhere to develop more climate-friendly approaches to urban development.”