The Jakarta Post
Jakarta is partying. Besides fireworks at the National Monument (Monas) compound, the Jakarta administration has prepared a number of events for everyone to mark the city’s 491st anniversary on Friday.
For many, there is good reason to celebrate, particularly because the city has helped their dreams come true. Good career, wealth and happy family are the most common things sought when one decides to move to Jakarta.
But even the less fortunate will find the city an attractive place to live, thanks to the province’s pro-poor policies, such as free health care and education and government programs to help small and medium enterprises amid the forays of big businesses.
Thankfully, present and past Jakarta administrations know how to strike a balance between accelerating growth and promoting equity, as shown in the city’s significant contribution to the national economy in a consistent manner and efforts to keep poverty at a low rate. Jakarta’s Human Development Index has steadily increased over the last 10 years and reached a record high 80.06 in 2017, well above the national mark of 70.81.
As a result of its economic might, Jakarta will remain a magnet for people in the rest of the country. To a certain extent it will be reflected in the arrival of newcomers to the capital city following the end of the Idul Fitri holiday.
At 491 years old, Jakarta is home to 10.37 million people, with population growth of 1.06 percent, according to Central Statistics Agency (BPS) data in 2017. The figures mean the city’s density is growing at an alarming level. Today, 15,158 people share 1-square-kilometer of Jakarta’s land compared to the national average of 130 per sq km, and this will increase the city’s burden if no drastic measures are taken by both the Jakarta and central governments.
One solution is to move the administrative capital to another city. At the end of last year, the National Development Planning Board (Bappenas) completed a study on a number of possible locations for a new capital, all located outside of Java. Bappenas chief Bambang Brodjonegoro said whether and when a definite plan materialized was up to the commitment of the President and the House of Representatives.
While policymakers are unlikely to consider the relocation of the capital a priority, particularly because of the general election next April, Jakartans will continue to confront their daily problems, which are traffic gridlock and floods.
Using public transportation, for example, is a cheap solution. Strangely, many Jakartans opt to exacerbate the traffic madness, as evident in the growing number of private cars and motorcycles traveling across the city. Economic losses resulting from wasted fuel and the late delivery of goods as a result of traffic congestion were estimated at Rp 100 trillion last year, according to the Greater Jakarta Transportation Management Body .
There are actually choices for Jakartans to escape from the routine headaches, but they lack the will. While Jakarta is growing older, its people are not mature enough to inhabit this metropolis.