Jakarta is overflowing with both people and traffic and this has a severe impact on public health and economic development, according to this Jakarta Globe editorial. The central city has nowhere left to grow and simply cannot accommodate more traffic with current infrastructure, but the population is expanding rapidly and may reach 11 million by 2020. Population density currently stands at 14,400 per sq km, according to the Central Statistics Agency (BPS).

The cost to the economy is huge, says the Presidential Working Unit for Development, Supervision and Oversight (UKP4), reporting the damage at Rp12.8 trillion (US$1.4 billion) a year in lost productivity, health problems and vehicle running costs. With nowhere left to build downtown, two solutions gaining attention are (a) moving the capital to somewhere outside Java, and (b) expanding Jakarta’s city limits to Purwakarta and Sukabumi.

The editorial favors the latter option but calls for sensible planning in whatever measures are made. Progress on elevated road construction has been slow, and access to newly established satellite towns around the city is inadequate. Even the island of Java itself, where Jakarta is located, is disproportionately dense with over half of Indonesia’s 230 million population crammed into 7% of its landmass.

Indonesia requires urgent action to rectify the situation as it becomes a major world economic player. Its capital should be a world-class showpiece of development and livability, standing alongside other regional centers Kuala Lumpur and Singapore.

source & article: The Jakarta Globe