The Jakarta Post
Is Jakarta, a city with 9.6 million people, a smart city?
For six Jakarta administration officials and 80 expert staff members tasked with running the Jakarta Smart City (JSC) program, launched four years ago by former governor Basuki “Ahok” Tjahaja Purnama, the answer is a resounding yes.
Ahok, who is slated to complete his prison sentence for blasphemy by the end of this month, initiated the program, knowing that the capital must use technology to better serve its residents.
The program, JSC officials claimed, was doing well. “We just celebrated our fourth anniversary last Dec. 14,” JSC unit head Setiaji told The Jakarta Post at City Hall recently.
A city, according to smartcity.jakarta.go.id, is only smart if it has smart governance, smart people, smart mobility, a smart economy, smart living and a smart environment. Technology is key to achieving those goals.
“With the help of technology, we have successfully cut down on the time spent resolving people’s reports from 300 hours to 28 hours on average. We receive roughly 500 reports in a day or 15,000 a month,” he added.
There are eight channels to which people can file their complaints or reports on any problems they face as Jakarta residents.
“Most of the reports come from Qlue,” Setiaji said.
Qlue is a crowd-sourcing smartphone app where the users can report various incidents such as flooding, crime, fires or waste-related issues.
A system called Citizen Relation Management, Setiaji explained, conveyed the people’s reports to city officials and working units in the city. The reports, retrieved from Qlue and other channels, should be addressed immediately once they are received by officials in charge of the issues.
The three districts with the highest number of reports are Halim in East Jakarta, Bangka in South Jakarta and Kalisari in East Jakarta. The three working units with the most contributions are the Public Order Agency, the transportation Agency and the forestry Agency. Among the problems reported the most are those related to waste, illegal parking and access to public areas.
“We also use technology to provide various information through apps or websites provided in cooperation with some techonology companies,” Setiaji said.
Public transportation app Trafi and navigation app Waze are among the more popular apps used by residents. But they are by no means the only ones. The capital has i-Jakarta, a public digital library, and Info Pangan Kita, an app through which residents can check the prices of staple goods.
In May last year, the JSC launched another crowd-sourcing app named BERiDE. While Qlue is aimed at accommodating reports to help the city address certain existing problem, BERiDE is where people can share their ideas to develop the city in any way.
In addition to crowd-sourcing online platforms, Setiaji said the city had also installed 7,300 CCTV cameras throughout the capital to monitor, for example, crime, traffic congestion, flood and waste problems. The footage can be publicly accessed through smartcity.jakarta.go.id.
System information expert and academic at Perbanas Institute Lely Priska, through her research in 2016, said the utilization of information technology in Jakarta had improved the provincial government’s performance.
She described the effectiveness of the smart city concept through the Communications and Information Ministry’s e-Government Indonesia Rank (PeGI), which focuses on infrastructure and applications.
“Smart city implementation by the Jakarta administration has been good but still needs improvement. The city has been able to address many urban problems quickly.”
Despite the claims, Jakarta is far from being the smartest city in the world.
A recent study by Singapore-based strategy consulting firm Eden Strategy Institute ranked Jakarta 47th out of 50 cities for smart city implementation.
The study defined a smart city as an urban ecosystem that integrates digital technology, knowledge and assets to better engage citizens, improve services and increase quality of life. It looked into a city’s vision, leadership, budget, programs, talent-readiness, people-centricity, smart policies and ecosystem innovation.
The five cities with the top smart city concepts are London, Singapore, Seoul, New York and Helsinki.
JSC was not discouraged by the study’s results. “We strive to always improve our technology and services. In the meantime, we enjoy being one of the first cities in the country with such advancements,” Setiaji said.
Channels for complaints
This article was originally published in The Jakarta Post's print edition on Jan. 14, 2019, with the title "Four years on, Ahok’s ‘Smart City’ legacy lives on".