President Joko “Jokowi” Widodo (third left), along with other officials, looks at a map as he visits Bukit Soeharto in Kutai Kartanegara regency, East Kalimantan on May 7. Bukit Soeharto, was one of several areas that had been nominated for the site of a new capital city. (Courtesy of Presidential Press Bureau/-)

Wanted: Designs for Indonesia’s new smart, green capital city

Public Works and Housing Ministry has officially opened a design contest for the country’s new capital city in the eastern part of Borneo, offering a total prize worth Rp 5 billion (US$353,490) for five winners who can outline the best concept for a “smart, forest city”.

“I call every Indonesian designer to participate in this contest that will run until December this year,” Public Works and Housing Minister Basuki Hadimuljono said in Balikpapan, East Kalimantan, on Wednesday.

According to information posted on the ministry’s official Twitter account, @KemenPU, registration for the competition is open from Thursday to Oct. 18 at

Basuki said every proposed design would need to comply with three criteria. First, the design for the new capital city must reflect the nation’s identity through, for example, landmarks. He said people looking at the city should know at first glance that they were looking at the Indonesian capital.

Second, the design should also reflect the city’s social, economic and environmental sustainability, such as plenty of trees and public spaces for residents. At the same time, the design should help its residents live happily.

“Moreover, the new capital city should be a smart, modern and international-certified city,” Basuki said.

The three criteria are in line with the ministry’s plan to build the new capital city under the concept of a so-called forest city, also called a biocity. The concept aims to urge authorities to prioritize the environment in the city’s development.

Authorities are also planning to plant many trees in areas designated as green spaces.

Read also: Government to launch design contest for new capital city

The panel of judges for the competition will comprise a number of well-known architects and city planners, including West Java Governor Ridwan Kamil, sculptor I Nyoman Nuarta who created the Garuda Wisnu Kencana statue in Bali, and Masjaya, the rector of Mulawarman University in the provincial capital of Samarinda.

Basuki said three best designs would be combined to produce a better design that would support each other.

President Joko “Jokowi” Widodo has officially announced the government’s plan to relocate the country’s capital to North Penajam Paser and Kutai Kartanegara regencies in East Kalimantan to ensure, among other things, that economic development, which is currently centered in Java, is evenly spread across the archipelago.

The government expects the plan to cost Rp 466 trillion, more than half of which will be sourced from public-private partnership schemes, with construction to begin late next year. (kuk)

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