Press Release

Technological Innovation and The Future of Cities
Jakarta- The Center for Public Policy Transformation (Transformasi), as a networked think tank focusing on urban development in Indonesia, cooperating with New Cities Foundation, and Lee Kuan Yew School of Public Policy,   has conducted a Transformasi Cities Forum on 8th June 2015. The objective of this event was to emphasize the importance of collaboration between the city government, scholars, community, and private sector, in continuously coming up with technological innovations to shape a better future for cities. The Forum, which was held at Ritz Carlton Hotel, Mega Kuningan, was supported by  Rajawali Foundation.

The discussion began with an elaboration by an Urban Development Expert, Wicaksono Sarosa PhD, on the role of technology in city governance. After that, the Mayor of Banda Aceh, Mayor of Pekalongan, Mayor of Makassar, and Mayor of Gorontalo in turn presented a case study of the success of using technology in a governance. From private sector, Twitter and Cisco presented the importance of data management and use of social media in supporting applications implemented by the city government. The Minister of Communication and Informatics Rudiantara and US Ambassador Robert Blake presented their views as keynote speakers.

The discussion on the role of technological innovation itself was initiated by World Summit in Bilbao in 2005. Since then, city governments around the world continued to conduct studies to address various city governance issues. Inefficient city governance is claimed to be the main cause of the decreasing quality of living in cities. Therefore, improving city governance has become an urgent matter. In addition, technological development has created a large opportunity to use such technologies within city governance to make it more efficient, effective, participative, transparent, and accountable, and also help to overcome various existing issues.

The world’s large cities continue to deliver technological innovation for a more efficient and effective public service to increase economic competitiveness, especially in transportation sector, and improve integration between regions. One example of technological innovation in transportation is the use of Oyster Card in Londong, England. Oyster Card enables passenger to no longer pay for transportation with cash. Heathrow Airport also has an advanced technology connecting this airport with all train lines in London.

Nugroho Wienarto, Executive Director of Transformasi, conveyed that the use of technology to create a smart city will improve the sense of comfort for its community, newcomers, and investors who will invest their capital in the city. In the future, competition will not only happen between countries, but also between cities.

When developed countries continue to improve the comfort of cities in providing public services, developing countries face their own challenges in overcoming issues in cities. Basic city problems still present a challenge, such as flooding, traffic congestion, waste management, and complicated bureaucracy.

Indonesia has realized the importance of technological innovation in resolving city issues. Cities such as Banda Aceh, Makassar, and Pekalongan continue to improve and create applications tailored to their respective needs. In this case, university researchers, scholars, private sectors, and the community are getting more engaged.

To create a smart city, Banda Aceh introduced six city characters, namely smart government, smart economy, smart education, smart health, smart environment, and smart information. Even the e-performance application of Banda Aceh’s smart government is adopted by the Ministry of Home Affairs, Banyuwangi District, Pangkal Pinang City, and Enterpreneur Agency of Sabang Region. This application functions as a performance evaluation tool for Civil Servants and Local Working Units.

Different from Banda Aceh, to achieve one of the missions of the City of Makassar, namely to become a world class livable city, the Mayor of Makassar Danny Pomanto has launched a smart card as his first breakthrough. This card, which was launched on 17 August 2014, is being used as database and a transactional tool. Cooperating with Bank BRI, this card is also being used to distribute unconditional cash transfer to poor people. With this, the full amount of the cash transfer can be received by the people.

Meanwhile, in addition to optimizing the use of technology, the City of Pekalongan has conducted research and urban development to create a smart city. During the first period of his leadership, the Mayor of Pekalongan, Muhammad Basyir Ahmad Syawie, faced various challenges such as limited budget, inefficient human resource management, and the status of Pekalongan as a transit city. To answer these challenges, he created several innovations, like using ICT (Information and Communication Technology) to improve the performance of local working unit and to make the budget more efficient.  

The development of information and communication technology was conducted by the City Government of Pekalongan by expanding its network to the level of Community Association (RW), using electronic email to replace paper, and conducting training to improve skills related to technology. Other premium ICT Programs included the use of Free Open Source System (FOSS) throughout the local government office of Pekalongan. The City of Pekalongan was also not ashamed to learn from other cities, such as Sragen, Jembrana, and Cimahi, in building the capacity of public services.

It is getting clearer that the impact of technological innovation towards the future of cities is very large. A smart city must be oriented towards efficiency and effectiveness of services, thus reducing city issues such as global warming and natural resources crisis.

Technological innovation is also expected to improve the social life of citizens in a city. The construction of buildings will no longer be based only on business strategy, but it will also consider social impact such as environmentally friendly, and open space as a mean for citizens to engage in social interaction.

“There is no specific formula to create a great future city. Technological innovation must involve all parties, including the government, public, and private sector, and has to be tailored to the characteristics and needs of respective cities. After that, all we need is consistency and tight supervision,” said Wicaksono Sarosa, Transformasi’s Urban Development Expert.

About the Center for Public Policy Transformation (Transformasi)

Transformasi is a networked think tank that engages policy makers, scholars, and the public in the investigation of public problems. Transformasi is established and organized as a network of domestic and international institutions committed to the development and implementation of evidence based policy making by finding and implementing solutions, and monitoring and evaluation such solution results.

Transformasi underlies the policy innovation steps in Indonesia to find pragmatic and tested solutions in order to address economic and social issues. A new paradigm in public policy innovation can provide a new paradigm for real changes in Indonesia.

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