Surabaya is not only enjoying rapid economic development, but the country’s second largest city after Jakarta is also beautifying itself with the construction of wide sidewalks and parks.
Hari Baskoro (43), one of the cleaning service workers in Surabaya is seen busy scrubbing a tiled sidewalk in front of a business center on Jl. Basuki Rahmad, Surabaya. His work starts every morning at 7 a.m.
“In terms of salary it is not much, but I feel proud that I can contribute to the development of Surabaya,” said the father of four children who was born in Nganjuk, East Java.
Hari is of course not alone in his work as dozens of other workers are seen cleaning up other sidewalks in Surabaya.
Due to the hard work of Hari and his colleagues Surabaya’s sidewalks are ranked number one among 20 cities in Indonesia.
Surabaya received the Adipura Kencana award in June this year which was also a mark of appreciation for Tri Rismaharini, the city’s first female mayor who succeeded in winning the award for the metropolitan city after the award eluded the city for the past five years.
Since holding the post of Cleaning and Park Layout for Surabaya (2005-2008) and Surabaya City Planning (2008-2010), Risma, as she is called, has revitalized a lot of the city’s parks.
Risma has been said to have park mania. She earned comments such as this because in a relatively short time she has managed to transform Surabaya from a dirty and dry city into a city full of beautiful parks.
One such park is Taman Bungkul. Previously many wild trees with few leaves grew here. It is not surprising that few residents visited the park because it was not well maintained.
But, today Taman Bungkul has changed into a beautiful recreation place complete with skateboard and BMX facilities. Every evening the park is full of people. There is also a special lane for disabled or handicapped people as well as free Wi-Fi.
Yehezkiel (35), a Surabayan who has lived in Jakarta for three years commented that Surabaya today is quite different from how it was four years ago.
“Surabaya is indeed the second most crowded city after Jakarta. Although there are often traffic jams here Surabaya is still a pleasing to the eye, “ he said.
Yehezkiel was surprised to see the city’s cleaning service personnel brushing and scrubbing the ceramic tiles on a sidewalk, which he says is a rare sight in other cities in Indonesia.
Risma said that the city’s parks not only function as parks but are meant to be used by the public as a ‘social space’ and for recreation as well.
“The parks also at the same time make the Surabayans more aware about the importance of cleanliness, a green environment and beauty of the city, “ she said.
Apart from beautiful parks, hotels and apartments are now adding color to Surabaya’s life.
Harun Hajadi, Managing Director of Ciputra group said that Surabaya is still sought after by many investors. Although many apartment buildings and supermarkets as well as malls have been built in Surabaya the city’s rapid economic growth has boosted the construction of more apartments to meet the current and future requirements.
“Not only Surabayans, but people from Kalimantan and other islands outside Java as well are now racing to purchase apartments here for their business needs and for the education of their children,” he said after inaugurating Mall Ciputra World Surabaya on Friday, July 22, 2011.
Mall Ciputra World is located on Jl. Mayjen Sungkono and has utilizes the green building concept.
The unique plus point of Ciputra World Surabaya is its express escalator, which is 34 meters long and 16 meters high. It is said to be the longest escalator in Southeast Asia, while it also saves energy. The Express escalator connects the ground floor with the third floor and the travelling time is one minute and eight seconds.
Harun said that Surabaya also has certain areas that look like Singapore and Australia.
“Just come to Citraland Surabaya and you will find highways like those in Australia and there is a Lion statue while the culinary atmosphere is just like Singapore’s, “ he said.
Being clean and green, Lynn, one reporter from Singapore, said that Surabaya could be called a miniature of Singapore.