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Designing an ‘Ideal’ Version of Jakarta Using Doughnut Economics Framework

"I have a love-hate relationship with Jakarta," a common sentiment expressed by many who call Indonesia's bustling capital their home. Jakarta, a city of contrasts, has been both a source of inspiration and frustration for its residents.


Jakartans often feel like they don't truly belong to their city. They see Jakarta as a place to explore and exploit rather than a place to live in comfortably. This sentiment underscores a deep-rooted desire among citizens to have a space where they can voice their concerns and contribute ideas to enhance their city.


Ultimately, it also was our main reason in Think Policy to come up with a creative workshop idea at Ideafest 2023. We decided to make this a platform for citizens to brainstorm and collectively design their 'ideal' version of Jakarta, using Doughnut Economics for urban development framework. In this article, I will discuss three key takeaways from the session, highlighting the importance of space for citizens to participate in the policy-making process.


A space where citizens can voice out their concerns is needed for an 'ideal' version of Jakarta


First and foremost, citizens are longing for a space where they can voice out their concerns and chip in on ideas on how to improve their city. This longing for engagement reveals a genuine desire for change and progress.


In the 2-hour session, participants from various backgrounds of ages and sectors are grouped into six fields, which are transportation, public housing, public spaces, education, health, and entertainment & commercial districts. Before the group activity, workshop facilitators introduced the “doughnut” framework and the four matrixes used to design their ideal urban living.


Doughnut Framework
The "Doughnut" Framework
Four Matrixes to design ideal urban living
The Four Matrixes

Local governments can make use of public events to accommodate citizens' participation


While Jakartans are eager to participate in the city's transformation, local governments have faced challenges in harnessing this collective enthusiasm. This concern was mentioned by the Head of the Regional Agency for Planning and Development, Mrs. Atika Nur Rahmania at the beginning of the session.


In the process of engaging with citizens, it becomes apparent that everything in Jakarta is interconnected. Whether it's transportation, public housing, public spaces, education, health, or entertainment & commercial districts, these facets of urban life are not isolated issues. They are all integral components of the city's ecosystem.


Participants at workshop events
Participants presenting their 'ideal' version of Jakarta

Participants at workshop events
Participants presenting their 'ideal' version of Jakarta

Everything is interconnected!

The realization that Jakarta's development is intertwined underscores the need for holistic solutions.

One common thread in these interconnected issues is the acknowledgment that paying attention to ecological ceilings is crucial for sustainable development. The city's rapid growth has come at a cost to its environment, and citizens recognize that balancing growth with environmental stewardship is vital for Jakarta's future.


Jakarta's love-hate relationship with its residents reveals a passionate desire for change and a yearning to be actively involved in shaping the city's future. The challenge lies in creating a platform for citizens to contribute their ideas and concerns effectively.


Local governments, in recognizing the importance of citizen engagement, can play a pivotal role in channeling this collective energy toward positive change. Moreover, understanding the interconnected nature of urban challenges and embracing holistic solutions will be key to ensuring Jakarta's development is sustainable and equitable.


As the city continues to evolve, fostering this relationship between its residents and their environment will be essential to transforming Jakarta into a city that its citizens can truly call home.

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