Jakarta Smart City: How Far have We Gone?

Gorakhpur, Uttar Pradesh, IndiaGorakhpur, Uttar Pradesh, India

Central Gorakhpur, Uttar Pradesh, India, August 2012. (Portray of Urban Cities) Nic Dunlop.

Urban cities have shown rapid growth in infrastructure and population in these past decades. Initiatives such as smart city and resilience city often comes up to the surface. Both concepts aiming cities to better manage themselves and strive from challenges (e.g. poverty, health, climate change, education, transportation, water etc). Smart city is heavily related to ICT utilisation in supporting city system. Smart city also has a very broad scope those are (1) management and organisation, (2) technology, (3) governance, (4) policy, (5) people and communities, (6) the economy, (7) built infrastructure, and (8) the natural environment (Chourabi, Nam et al. 2012).

Jakarta is one of cities in Indonesia who proudly called themselves as “Smart City”. Since last year, Jakarta Government has continually showcased their online complain handling system (Qlue) and other services under Jakarta Smart City initiatives. Jakarta Smart City is playing role as the umbrella of other online services such as Qlue, Waze, and Peta Jakarta (@petajkt). Indeed, “Smart City” concept is far beyond ICT development; it needs citizen participation and fruitful collaboration to develop sustainable solution for city. So, how far have we gone?

Glenn Maail, researcher from Open Data Labs Indonesia explained that Jakarta is still on the 3rd out of 6th phases of Smart City: where citizen only showing low-level of participation. This low-level of participation could be illustrated by report submitted each day through Qlue app. By submitting a report about government services, citizen involves in giving feedback to city system, yet has no opportunity to create the solution. Whereas, the ideal concept of smart city services is to accommodate citizen needs, not only for conveying their messages to the stakeholders, but also their ideas.

Concept above is related to Open Government, where everyone could actively participate in government-related activities, such as policymaking, monitoring, and problem solving. Setiaji, head of Jakarta Smart City Initiative claimed that every data collected from Smart City apps (Qlue, Waze, Peta Jakarta) are open to public. Public could access the raw data (excluding private information about user and other sensitive information). Peta Jakarta is the only one app that releases their API data. Setiaji hopes that open data mechanism that has been running in Jakarta’s Government will encourage citizen to utilize the data, and make it useful. “We encourage academics, journalists, as well as programmers to use our data. We have annual event HackJak, as our commitment to catalyze collaboration project between citizen and government.”

Yet, if we look closer hackathon event is no more than a problem-solving activity that placed citizen as the solution-seeker. Citizen has no power to develop their authentic ideas to solve city problems, aside from those that already been defined by the government. Setiaji, revealed that their current ICT assessment is relying more on solving government problems, rather than developing tailor-made application for citizen.

Government of Jakarta is not to blame. Lack of communication to disseminate this ongoing initiative could be considered as the root cause. Recent research conducted by Centre of Innovation Policy Governance (CIPG) implied that 70% of respondents are not aware of this ongoing initiative, while most of them use one of Jakarta Smart City service: Waze to get information about the traffic. Most of users are youths that are attached to their smart phone 24/7. It is not exaggerating to say that Jakarta Smart City had failed to market themselves. Setiaji added, it is indeed his current concern. His team is still figuring the best way to promote Jakarta Smart City, whether as a technology platform or as whole initiative to build good governance. In fact, Qlue, Waze and Peta Jakarta (@petajkt) have already market themselves separately, and public have no idea if those 3 apps are related to Jakarta Smart City initiatives.

As solution for current ongoing problems, Jakarta Smart City conduct Bijak (Bicara Jakarta): a monthly discussion event, held at Jakarta Smart City Lounge where academics, programmers, and other professions meet to share ideas about Jakarta. This event also conducted to promote the initiative. The apps surprisingly have done better job in terms of marketing, than Jakarta Smart City. Qlue has #BeraniBerubah, a social campaign to raise public awareness for preserving Jakarta. Recently, Qlue encourages citizen to report through the app to get hint about Pokemon location, and it has showed significant increased of reports.

But still, most people perceived Jakarta Smart City as a bundle app services that support Jakarta’s citizen ranging from education, transportation and health. Approximately 40 IT geeks working in developing new app to meet the government needs everyday. Puja, IT developer who was a winner of HackJack last year concerned, Jakarta Smart City is supposed to strengthen multi-stakeholders commitment on developing comprehensive strategy towards better governance, instead of creating ICT to support city system. App making is a work that could be done by developer.

Although it may heavily relate to ICT, it does not imply that developing digital platform itself would simply make a better city to live in. Smart city is rather an abstract concept to be defined. There are a lot of roles that have to be played well by government, citizen, and private sector. Furthermore, government must have sufficient capacity and knowledge to lead the initiative well. They are responsible to create more inclusive space for citizen and also private sector to collaborate. Jakarta might still have far journey to reach ideal concept of Smart City. However as a Jakarta citizen, I should say objectively this is a most-growing Smart City initiative in Indonesia. Only our feedback and action will make the system better #BeraniBerubah.

Full report: http://cipg.or.id/smartcity/



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