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Nusantara (I/II): Indonesia's sustainable vision for a thriving future

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By Alex Hong

· 22 min read

This is part one of a two-part series on Nusantara, Indonesia's new capital. You can find part two here.

Introduction: historical background and vision of Nusantara

Nusantara, Indonesia's new capital, exemplifies the country's commitment to sustainable development, smart city initiatives, and technological innovation. Nusantara has enormous relevance not only for Indonesia, but also for the ASEAN region. We may understand this endeavour’s revolutionary potential by looking at its historical context, overarching vision, and diverse impact on numerous sectors. When completed by 2045, the Nusantara project will be crown jewel of the region, and a landmark for Indonesia’s ambition in terms of economic development, the will and shared vision of its diverse citizens and the realised ambition towards a future state of sustainability and net zero. 

The realisation of the Nusantara dream requires  dedication to sustainable development to sectors such as the construction of energy grids, waste management, water security, cultural preservation, and political governance. Furthermore, Nusantara's mission goes beyond national lines, portraying itself as a global model smart city for sustainability. We will learn about the tremendous potential and challenges that lie ahead, as well as the call to action for sustainable investment and collaboration within the ASEAN community, as we delve deeper into the framework. Indonesia is positioned to not only determine its own destiny through Nusantara, but also to make a significant contribution to the global goal of sustainable and resilient urban development.

History of Indonesia's capital and the need for a new capital

Indonesia, the world's biggest archipelago nation, has experienced a slew of issues in relation to its capital city, Jakarta. Overpopulation, traffic congestion, poor infrastructure, and vulnerability to natural calamities have long been challenges in Jakarta. These difficulties, combined with the possibility of sinking as a result of excessive groundwater extraction, motivated the Indonesian government to propose the construction of a new capital city. The decision to make Nusantara the new capital marks a fundamental shift in Indonesia's urban development strategy, with the goal of addressing Jakarta's problems while fostering long-term growth and resilience.

Vision of Nusantara as a modern, sustainable, and resilient city

Nusantara's aim extends beyond simply establishing a replacement capital; it aspires to build a modern, sustainable, and resilient metropolis that embodies Indonesia's long-term development commitment. The city is intended to be a centre of innovation, technology, and digital connectivity, combining smart city ideas with sustainable urban architecture. Nusantara seeks to provide a good quality of life for its citizens while reducing environmental consequences, promoting social inclusion, and expanding economic opportunities. To promote resource efficiency and improve people' well-being, the city's architecture and infrastructure will combine sustainable practises, green areas, efficient transit systems, and sophisticated technologies.

Significance of Nusantara for sustainable urban development and digital innovation

The new capital has enormous implications for long-term urban development and digital innovation in Indonesia and beyond. The city, as a greenfield project, provides a unique opportunity to include sustainable practises and new technologies from the start. 
Nusantara can be used to test cutting-edge technologies in renewable energy, smart grid systems, waste management, water conservation, and urban mobility. The effective implementation of these ideas can assist not just Nusantara, but also other towns facing comparable sustainability difficulties.

Furthermore, Nusantara's emphasis on digital innovation is congruent with Indonesia's ambitions to become a major digital economy. The infrastructure of the city will be designed to provide improved digital connectivity, supporting e-governance, smart services, and digital entrepreneurship. Nusantara intends to establish itself as a forerunner in the digital economy and contribute to Indonesia's overall technology growth by exploiting emerging technologies and cultivating an innovation culture.

Challenges and opposition faced in the development of Nusantara

The development of Nusantara has not been without its challenges and opposition. The enormity of establishing a new capital city necessitates considerable financial investments, land acquisition, and infrastructure construction. These issues necessitate meticulous planning, coordination, and collaboration among numerous stakeholders, including the government, corporate sector, and local communities.

Concerns have also been expressed about the potential environmental and social consequences of constructing a new metropolis, notably in terms of land displacement, biodiversity loss, and cultural heritage protection. It is critical for Nusantara's success and acceptance to address these problems and ensure sustainable practises throughout the development process.

Criticisms to the project has come from a variety of sources, including opponents who doubt its viability, cost-effectiveness, and the displacement of communities. Overcoming these problems will necessitate open communication, stakeholder engagement, and the use of thorough environmental and social impact evaluations. Nusantara's development can seek for consensus, legitimacy, and long-term success through resolving concerns, incorporating feedback, and implementing inclusive governance practises.

Nusantara is an important step in Indonesia's urban development journey. Nusantara hopes to address Jakarta's issues by embracing digital innovation and encouraging sustainable urban practises. We gain a comprehensive understanding of the Nusantara project's context and aspirations by addressing historical background, emphasising the city's vision, emphasising its significance for sustainable urban development and digital innovation, and acknowledging the challenges and opposition faced.

Importance of Nusantara for Indonesia

Economic impacts

Job creation and economic growth

The Nusantara initiative has the potential to generate significant job creation and economic growth in Indonesia (with a population expected to be 298m by 2030). The move of the national capital to East Kalimantan will necessitate considerable construction, resulting in an increase in job prospects in a variety of industries. The creation of a new city from the ground up offers a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to stimulate innovative urban design and infrastructure development, hence producing long-term and sustainable employment possibilities. The project's emphasis on high-quality employment creation matches with Indonesia's goal of becoming a high-income country by 2045. The Nusantara initiative can contribute to poverty reduction, middle-class expansion, and overall prosperity through creating employment and income possibilities.

Investments and business prospects

The Nusantara initiative has the potential to attract substantial investments and provide a varied range of business opportunities in Indonesia. The relocation of the capital city demonstrates the country's commitment to sustainable development and gives an appealing investment opportunity for domestic and international investors. The project's focus on smart city development and green initiatives is in line with worldwide trends, attracting environmentally concerned enterprises and encouraging innovation. New business prospects can increase economic diversification, encourage private sector engagement, and contribute to Indonesia's overall development.

Smart city development

Use of advanced technologies and data-driven governance

The Nusantara project aspires to construct a smart city that promotes sustainable development by leveraging advanced technologies and data-driven governance. The city can optimise resource allocation, improve public services, and improve citizens' quality of life by combining Internet of Things (IoT) devices, artificial intelligence (AI), and big data analytics. Smart city technology can help to improve environmental sustainability and resource efficiency by facilitating efficient transportation systems, smart energy management, waste management, and effective urban planning. Most importantly, it can be the catalyst for innovation and a proving grown for technologies to be used in Indonesia and beyond. 

Improved urban services and infrastructure

The Nusantara project provides an opportunity to establish improved urban services and infrastructure, addressing the difficulties confronting Jakarta today. The relocation will help to ease concerns such as traffic congestion, air pollution, and flooding, ultimately improving inhabitants' quality of life. Modern and sustainable infrastructure development, such as transportation networks, utilities, and public spaces, will result in a more liveable and inclusive urban environment. Furthermore, the proposal emphasises the importance of green spaces and environmental conservation, with the goal of creating a forest city that preserves the region's natural beauty.

It is clear that the Nusantara project is critical to Indonesia's economic growth, job creation, smart city development, and enhanced urban services. Indonesia can pave the road for a successful and resilient future by capitalising on innovative technologies, sustainable practises, and smart investments.

Emerging technologies

Integration of Artificial Intelligence (AI), Internet of Things (IoT), and Automation

The incorporation of emerging technologies such as artificial intelligence (AI), the Internet of Things (IoT), and automation has enormous potential to drive sustainability efforts. These technologies are being used in the Nusantara project in Indonesia to optimise resource management, improve environmental monitoring, and improve decision-making processes.

AI and machine learning algorithms are used to analyse massive volumes of data collected by IoT devices, allowing for real-time monitoring of environmental indicators including air quality, water pollution levels, and deforestation rates. This data-driven strategy enables proactive actions, allowing authorities to address emergent issues as they arise.

Automation is critical for simplifying processes and eliminating waste. Automated irrigation systems based on IoT sensors, for example, can optimise water utilisation in agriculture, reducing water scarcity and improving agricultural sustainability. Similarly, artificial intelligence-powered algorithms can optimise transportation routes, lowering fuel usage and emissions.
Through the integration of these technologies, the Nusantara project in Indonesia is revolutionizing traditional approaches to environmental management, resulting in more efficient and effective resource allocation and improved environmental outcomes.

Improving efficiency and quality of life

Improving efficiency and general quality of life for communities is one of the primary goals of sustainability efforts. By utilising innovations that promote sustainable development, the Nusantara project recognises the potential of emerging technology in attaining these aims.

The initiative intends to improve the efficiency of many industries such as agriculture, transportation, and energy by utilising Artificial Intelligence (AI) and automation (e.g. RPA). Precision agriculture techniques, for example, backed by AI and IoT, enable farmers to optimise fertiliser and pesticide consumption, resulting in increased crop yields and lower environmental impacts. Intelligent transportation systems help to minimise congestion, reduce emissions, and improve mobility, ultimately improving inhabitants' quality of life.

Developing technologies enable the creation of smart cities and communities, in which networked systems optimise resource allocation, energy consumption, and waste management. Smart grids powered by AI algorithms offer more efficient energy distribution and greater integration of renewable energy sources, contributing to a more sustainable and reliable energy infrastructure.

The Nusantara project's emphasis on incorporating emerging technology intends to promote long-term growth while also increasing the well-being of Indonesian communities. The initiative aims to create a future that is technologically sophisticated, environmentally conscientious, and socially inclusive by leveraging the potential of these technologies.

Energy grid development

Renewable energy source integration

The development and integration of renewable energy sources is critical for attaining energy sustainability and mitigating the effects of climate change. Indonesia is making considerable strides in developing its renewable energy generation and moving to a cleaner energy infrastructure as part of the Nusantara initiative.

Indonesia has enormous renewable energy potential, which includes solar, wind, hydro, and geothermal resources. The Nusantara initiative aims to capture and integrate these sources into the electricity system. This integration entails the building of renewable energy power facilities, such as solar farms and wind turbines, as well as the installation of transmission infrastructure to enable effective clean energy distribution.

The Nusantara initiative intends to reduce reliance on fossil fuels, reduce greenhouse gas emissions, and increase energy security by increasing the amount of renewable energy in the energy mix. According to recent statistics, Indonesia has achieved tremendous success in renewable energy deployment, with solar and wind capacity quickly expanding in recent years.

Energy efficiency and sustainability

Along with the incorporation of renewable energy sources, the Nusantara project lays a great emphasis on boosting energy efficiency and sustainability. Energy efficiency methods are crucial for lowering energy use, optimising resource utilisation, and minimising environmental consequences.

The project promotes energy-efficient practises in a variety of areas, including buildings, industry, and transportation. This entails the use of energy-saving technology such as LED lighting, energy-efficient appliances, and industrial process optimisation. Furthermore, the project aims to raise awareness and provide incentives for energy conservation and behavioural improvements.

Improved energy efficiency not only saves money and improves economic competitiveness. Furthermore, by assuring the effective utilisation of clean energy, it decreases the burden on the energy system and complements the integration of renewable energy sources.

The Nusantara project's all-encompassing approach to energy grid development includes the incorporation of renewable energy sources, the promotion of energy efficiency, and the goal of sustainability. Indonesia is making great progress towards a greener, more resilient energy infrastructure by integrating these methods, aligning with global efforts to address climate change and promote a sustainable energy future.

Environmental sustainability efforts

Forest conservation

Protection and restoration of forests

Forest conservation and restoration are critical components of environmental sustainability initiatives because they contribute to biodiversity conservation, climate change mitigation, and sustainable development. The Nusantara project in Indonesia, which focuses on forest protection and restoration, is one significant initiative in this respect.

The Nusantara initiative, which the Indonesian government is implementing in conjunction with international organisations and local people, aims to protect and restore forests throughout the country. It entails a variety of measures, such as the creation of protected areas, community-based forest management, and replanting activities. The project helps to maintain ecological integrity, limit biodiversity loss, and conserve essential ecosystem services by safeguarding forests from deforestation and degradation.

According to recent data, Indonesia has one of the greatest rates of deforestation in the world, mostly due to agricultural expansion, illicit logging, and infrastructure development. The Nusantara initiative, on the other hand, has achieved great strides in reducing deforestation and encouraging sustainable forest management practises. Millions of hectares of forest have been classified as protected areas as a result of the project's initiatives, providing important habitat for endangered species and maintaining ecological equilibrium.

Biodiversity preservation

Biodiversity conservation is an important part of environmental sustainability efforts because it protects the long-term viability of ecosystems and promotes human well-being. The Nusantara project values biodiversity conservation and incorporates it into its forest conservation efforts.

Indonesia is known as one of the world's biodiversity hotspots, featuring various habitats that are home to rare species. Unsustainable human activities, on the other hand, represent substantial dangers to this biodiversity. The Nusantara project addresses these issues by putting in place measures to safeguard and restore ecosystems that serve as home to a diverse range of plant and animal species.

The project also have the ambition to promote sustainable land-use practises, involving local communities in conservation activities, and strengthening law enforcement against illegal wildlife trade and habitat devastation. The Nusantara project contributes to the overall resilience and sustainability of Indonesian ecosystems through conserving biodiversity.

Waste management

Implementation of efficient waste management systems

Efficient waste management systems are critical for managing the growing problem of waste generation and its negative environmental consequences. The Nusantara initiative in Indonesia emphasises the application of appropriate waste management practises in order to reduce pollution, reduce landfill consumption, and promote sustainable waste disposal methods.

With vast amounts of waste created, particularly in metropolitan areas, Indonesia has severe waste management difficulties. The Nusantara initiative understands the significance of efficient waste segregation, collection, and treatment in reducing environmental pollution and associated health hazards.

Efforts are being made through the initiative to build and improve waste management infrastructure, such as garbage collection systems, recycling facilities, and waste-to-energy plants. These projects seek to divert garbage from landfills, encourage resource recovery, and reduce waste disposal's environmental impact.

Promotion of recycling and waste reduction

Promoting recycling and trash reduction is an essential component of long-term waste management. The Nusantara initiative in Indonesia promotes waste reduction and recycling practises to reduce waste creation and maximise resource recovery.

The project aims to raise awareness among communities, businesses, and industries about the need of trash reduction and recycling. It promotes the development of recycling centres and efficient recycling supply networks. The project intends to reduce natural resource extraction and the environmental footprint associated with trash disposal by promoting the circular economy idea.

Efforts are also being made to engage and empower local communities to participate in trash management efforts. To create behavioural changes and promote a culture of waste reduction and recycling, community-based waste management programmes, waste segregation initiatives, and educational campaigns on sustainable consumption and waste management practises are being adopted.

The Nusantara project in Indonesia exhibits substantial efforts in environmental sustainability, particularly in forest protection and waste management. The project helps to maintain biodiversity while also mitigating the effects of climate change by protecting and recovering forests. Simultaneously, the implementation of effective waste management systems and the promotion of recycling help to reduce pollution and promote resource efficiency. These activities are in line with global sustainability goals and pave the path for a more sustainable and resilient future in Indonesia.

In a recent conversation with Anton Kalashnikov, the Managing Partner of Tochka center, a waste treatment, biogas reactor and water recycling operator in Europe and now seeking to operate in Southeast Asia; he has reflected that there were many possibilities of waste sorting facilities and reprocessing in Indonesia. He added that it is critical that projects like Nusantara need to have greater emphasis towards efficient waste management and recycling in order to reduce the impact of human activities on the environment while acting as a model to the creation of a sustainable development model for the rest of Indonesia.

Water security

Sustainable water management practices 

Water is an important resource for both human health and ecosystem health. The Indonesian Nusantara initiative recognises the relevance of sustainable water management practises in ensuring water security for current and future generations. The initiative intends to address water-related concerns and promote sustainable water use by using new techniques and technology.

The optimal use of water resources is an important part of sustainable water management. The Nusantara project promotes the use of water-efficient practises in agriculture, industry, and the home. Precision irrigation systems, for example, based on modern sensors and data analytics, aid in optimising water usage in agriculture, minimising water waste and increasing crop output.

In addition, the project emphasises water conservation measures such as rainwater gathering and water recycling. These practises supplement water resources while decreasing dependency on freshwater sources. Rainwater harvesting systems can be deployed at many scales, from individual residences to large-scale infrastructure, to ensure that precipitation is used efficiently.

Ensuring adequate water supply

Access to safe and sufficient water is critical for human well-being and long-term development. The Nusantara project prioritises activities that secure a consistent and adequate supply of water for all parts of society, particularly marginalised groups.

To address water scarcity issues, the project prioritises the construction of water infrastructure such as dams, reservoirs, and treatment facilities. These infrastructure projects aid in the regulation of water supply, the expansion of storage capacity, and the improvement of water quality. The Nusantara project also encourages the growth of piped water networks, particularly in rural regions, to offer access to safe drinking water and minimise dependency on groundwater extraction.

The project also incorporates watershed management measures to protect water catchment areas and preserve the quality and quantity of water resources. The initiative strives to preserve healthy ecosystems that support water availability and manage water flow by applying strategies such as reforestation, soil conservation, and land-use planning.
The Nusantara project aims to provide water security, promote equitable access to clean water, and protect the natural integrity of water ecosystems through its sustainable water management practises and efforts to assure enough water supply.

Pollution control

Measures to mitigate air and water pollution

Air and water pollution endangers both human health and the ecosystem. The Nusantara project in Indonesia recognises the importance of pollution reduction and has adopted a variety of strategies to reduce both air and water pollution.

The project focuses on reducing emissions from main sources such as industry, transportation, and energy generation to combat air pollution. To control pollution discharges, strict rules and emission standards are enforced, while cleaner technologies and practises are promoted. The project, for example, promotes the use of low-emission automobiles, the installation of pollution control systems in industries, and the transition to cleaner fuels.

Water pollution control measures address both point and non-point contamination sources. The project installs wastewater treatment facilities to clean industrial and municipal effluents before they are discharged into bodies of water. This reduces contamination of water sources while also protecting water quality. Furthermore, the project supports sustainable agriculture practises in order to reduce the use of chemical fertilisers and pesticides, which can pollute water through runoff. Nusantara will also need to take active measures to prevent the contamination of single use plastics and other plastic products on sensitive mangrove areas where blue carbon sequestration is critical for the ecology as well as regional climate. 

Promotion of clean technologies

Clean technologies are critical for pollution management and long-term development. The Nusantara initiative actively supports the adoption and implementation of clean technology across several industries in order to minimise pollution and improve environmental results.

In industries, the project promotes the use of cleaner production processes, such as resource-efficient manufacturing and waste minimization strategies. This not only eliminates pollution but also increases economic productivity and competitiveness. The project also supports research and development projects aimed at creating and scaling up clean technology for industry, such as enhanced pollution control systems and renewable energy integration.

In addition, the project encourages the use of sustainable energy sources such as solar and wind power to replace fossil fuel-based energy generation. The project helps to reduce air pollution and greenhouse gas emissions by switching to cleaner energy sources. Integrating renewable energy sources into the electricity grid improves energy sustainability and resilience.

To encourage a healthy population essential to continued prosperity, Nusantara initiative aims to produce a cleaner and healthier environment, protect human health, and foster sustainable economic growth in Indonesia by reducing air and water pollution and promoting clean technologies.

The Nusantara project in Indonesia is making significant progress in addressing water security challenges and pollution control by implementing sustainable water management practises, ensuring adequate water supply, mitigating air and water pollution, and promoting clean technologies. These initiatives are in line with global sustainability goals and help to construct a more resilient and sustainable future for Indonesia and beyond.

Regional relations and ASEAN significance

Strengthening cooperation and integration within ASEAN

To accomplish sustainable development goals, the Nusantara initiative in Indonesia recognises the necessity of regional collaboration and integration within the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN). The project intends to improve collaboration, share resources, and address regional concerns by developing ties with other ASEAN member states.

ASEAN cooperation is critical for solving regional environmental concerns like climate change, deforestation, and marine pollution. The Nusantara project participates actively in regional debates and efforts aimed at developing collaborative strategy and action plans. The project promotes sustainable urban development practises by facilitating knowledge sharing and policy coordination among member nations through organisations such as the ASEAN Working Group on Environmentally Sustainable Cities.
The Nusantara project makes use of regional collaborations to boost capacity-building efforts. It partners with regional organisations including the ASEAN Secretariat and the ASEAN Centre for Energy to create training programmes, workshops, and knowledge sharing platforms. This allows ASEAN countries to share their skills, experiences, and best practises, establishing a culture of learning and innovation.

Positioning Nusantara as a hub for regional connectivity

The Nusantara project recognises Indonesia's significant geographical location and wants to position the region as a hub for regional connectivity. By improving infrastructure, transportation networks, and digital connectivity, the project aims to enhance trade, investment, and cultural exchanges among ASEAN countries.

One of the core efforts of the Nusantara project is the creation of transportation corridors and logistics networks that connect major cities and economic zones throughout ASEAN. This comprises the development and extension of ports, airports, and road networks to ease the movement of products and people. Improved connectivity not only encourages sustainable trade and lowers carbon emissions by optimising transportation routes.

The project also aims to improve digital connectivity throughout the region. Nusantara's goal is to encourage digital trade and knowledge exchange among ASEAN countries through enhancing internet access, developing broadband infrastructure, and promoting e-commerce platforms. This digital connectedness encourages innovation, entrepreneurship, and collaboration, hence enhancing the region's long-term growth.

Sharing best practices and knowledge exchange 

Knowledge exchange and the sharing of best practises are critical for building ASEAN-wide sustainable development. The Nusantara project actively encourages the publication of successful ideas and experiences in order to inspire and guide other countries in their attempts to achieve sustainability.

To support the exchange of knowledge and best practises, the initiative organises regional conferences, workshops, and study tours. These venues bring policymakers, experts, and practitioners from several ASEAN countries together to share their experiences, difficulties, and innovative solutions. Countries can adapt and reproduce good techniques in their own circumstances by learning from each other's triumphs and failures.

It is critical in an increasingly networked global digital environment that data will be the lifeblood of its operational success.  In the same spirit, data, knowledge and resources are made available through digital platforms and information sharing networks. This includes online databases, webinars, and virtual forums where stakeholders may obtain sustainable development research findings, policy briefs, and case studies. The project guarantees that information and best practises reach a wider audience by using technology, promoting a culture of learning and collaboration within ASEAN.

The Nusantara project contributes to the overall sustainability and resilience of the ASEAN area by working to increase collaboration and integration within ASEAN, establish Nusantara as a hub for regional connectivity, and promote sharing of best practises and information exchange. These programmes promote collaboration, increase regional growth, and propel ASEAN member states towards a more sustainable future.

Indonesian demographics, culture, and infrastructure development

Addressing urbanization challenges 

Indonesia, like many other countries, is rapidly urbanising, with a sizable section of the population migrating to cities in quest of better prospects. The Nusantara project recognises urbanization's issues and seeks to address them through sustainable urban planning and development.

The initiative focuses on developing urban infrastructure, such as transportation networks, housing, and public services, in order to handle the expanding urban population. The initiative intends to alleviate urban congestion, air pollution, and travel times by investing in efficient public transportation systems such as mass rapid transit (MRT) and bus rapid transit (BRT). This not only improves residents' quality of life, but also helps to a more sustainable and liveable environment.

It is critical that new cities meet the aspirations of new residents, the Nusantara project encourages the creation of inexpensive and sustainable housing solutions to meet the housing demands of city people. The initiative decreases the environmental footprint of urban expansion while providing appropriate housing for the rising population by encouraging the use of eco-friendly construction materials and applying energy-efficient designs.

To further enhance the Nusantara’s future-positive experience, the project focuses on providing basic amenities such as clean water, sanitation, and healthcare in metropolitan areas. The project aims to improve the well-being and quality of life of urban people, particularly those from marginalised populations, by enhancing access to these important services.

Preserving cultural heritage

Indonesia is famous for its unique cultural legacy, which includes a wide range of traditions, languages, and artistic expressions. The Nusantara project recognises the value of maintaining and developing this cultural heritage as an essential component of long-term development.

To discover and conserve cultural heritage locations and practises, the initiative works with local communities, cultural institutions, and experts. Preservation of historical buildings, archaeological sites, traditional villages, and indigenous knowledge systems are all part of this. The project contributes to the preservation of unique identities, encourages community pride, and supports sustainable tourism by safeguarding and promoting cultural heritage.

In order to provide transition towards sustainability and harmony with nature, the Nusantara project also actively participates in cultural education and awareness programmes. These efforts strive to teach the next generation about their cultural roots, traditional practises, and the value of cultural preservation. The project supports the continuity and sustainability of cultural traditions for future generations by instilling a sense of pride and appreciation for their heritage.

Building modern and efficient infrastructure

Infrastructure development is critical for economic growth, enhancing quality of life, and assuring long-term development. The Nusantara initiative prioritises the development of modern, efficient infrastructure to fulfil the needs of an Indonesia that is quickly developing.

The initiative focuses on the development of transportation infrastructure, such as roads, ports, airports, and trains, to help with the flow of products and people. The initiative promotes economic integration, trade, and tourism while lowering transportation-related carbon emissions.

In accordance with sustainability standards, the Nusantara project incorporates green infrastructure elements into its development plans. This entails incorporating nature-based solutions, such as green spaces, urban parks, and stormwater control systems, into urban development. These methods not only increase the aesthetic appeal of cities, but also provide ecological services such as flood control, enhanced air quality, and biodiversity conservation. With the incorporation of biophilic design, Nusantara citizens can interact with their natural environment better and will feel an enhanced connection with the land (thereby increasing awareness for conservation and biodiversity protection). 

Perhaps most importantly, the project gives Indonesia the opportunity to use and iterate the deployment of smart infrastructure solutions and to act as a “living laboratory” for the benefit of Indonesia and the rest of ASEAN. The initiative intends to improve the efficiency, safety, and sustainability of infrastructure systems by using digital technologies and data-driven techniques. This involves the utilisation of smart grids for efficient energy distribution, intelligent transportation systems for traffic management, and digital platforms for effective service delivery.

By addressing urbanization challenges, preserving cultural heritage, and building modern and efficient infrastructure, the Nusantara project contributes to the sustainable development of Indonesia. These initiatives not only support economic growth but also prioritize social inclusivity, cultural preservation, and environmental sustainability, creating a more resilient and prosperous future for the country.

illuminem Voices is a democratic space presenting the thoughts and opinions of leading Sustainability & Energy writers, their opinions do not necessarily represent those of illuminem.

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About the author

Alex Hong is a Director at AEIR (Singapore), part of Sync Neural Genesis AG, spearheading innovations in wireless energy. He serves as the Ambassador of Southeast Asia for the Global Blockchain Business Council and chairs blockchain initiatives at the Global Sustainability Foundation Network. Appointed as LinkedIn’s Top Voices (Green) since 2022, Alex is a leading ESG thought leader. Additionally, he is the Chief Sustainability Coordinator at YNBC, advisory board member for the Green Computing Foundation and the European Carbon Offset Tokenization Association (ECOTA) Expert.


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