Cities are the world’s future. More and more people are moving from rural areas to the cities. Today, more than half of the global population are urban dwellers. By 2050, the number is expected to double. While such rapid urban growth has been a trend for a while in Europe and America for a quite some time, urbanization has only started in Asia and Africa. 90% of urban growth will come from these two continents.

In ASEAN, the trend of urbanization is shaping the Southeast Asian societies, with more than 40% of the population in the city. While urbanization comes with economic growth that benefits societies, it also comes with great challenges that may hinder the effort for achieving higher sustainability. Despite the challenges faced, cities like Bandung and Surabaya in Indonesia have been optimizing their efforts towards becoming Sustainable Cities.

Bandung is a capital city of West Java province in Indonesia, which population reaches 2.5 million people. It is often considered to be relatively ‘greener’ than Jakarta, with cool temperature, hot water springs, and mountainous sceneries. Some Jakarta citizens like to visit Bandung in the weekend to get out of the hustles and bustles of the Indonesian capital.

Bandung has been recognized for its efforts towards having a more sustainable city. Under the leadership of its mayor, Ridwan Kamil, an award winning architect and environmentalist, the transformation of Bandung to become sustainable was revived. Realizing the inadequate options for city commuters, Bandung Government has drafted a blueprint containing monorail, cable cars, bike sharings and a “skywalk”. This year, Bandung also requires each neighborhood to provide urban gardening facilities.

Not only that, in order to reach the goal of 30 percent green city space in Bandung, as of this year, all new building proposals are required to purchase additional land for green spaces, as reported by Jakarta Globe. Bandung’s administration also requires all new developments in the city to install rooftop gardens. To accelerate the process, Bandung city also initiated few campaigns and initiatives about environmental concerns and keeping the city clean. This includes a Friday clean-up campaign which is launched by the city’s administration in persuading residents to spend one hour of their time to clean up garbage. Bandung and its mayor also utilize social media contently in spreading awareness and encouraging the citizens to involve in the efforts to make Bandung a more sustainable city and a better place to live in.

Although certain plans have only been implemented not so long ago, the measures have begun to bear its fruits. Citizens are now able to enjoy a number of newly established innovative parks for recreational activities in the city.



By Muhammad Fathi Rayyan, ASEAN Correspondent from Indonesia