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Urban Blueprints: Bandung, Indonesia

His Excellency Mochamad Ridwan Kamil shares about the city of Bandung, Indonesia.
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His Excellency Mochamad Ridwan Kamil shares about the city of Bandung, Indonesia

Disposition: You've used social media extensively to reach out to citizens in Bandung. It might have helped that some 60% of the population in Bandung is under the age of 40. Can you describe some of the hits and misses you've had in engaging a young populace.

As 60% of the population in Bandung is a young populace, they provide ideas and inspirations for the City Government of Bandung to improve its government system. Many people utilize social media to interact with the government because all departments in the City Government of Bandung have social media accounts. Many departments use social media to report on their activities. Social media can also facilitate the people of Bandung to make suggestions, give feedback, or even register their complaints with the relevant departments.

This way, we can monitor the performance of all departments and manage complaints in society, ensuring they are resolved quickly. However, there are still many people who use social media inappropriately and unwisely.

To mitigate this, the City Government of Bandung utilises social media analytic software based on certain categories such as flood, traffic jam, bureaucracy, law, tax, etc. We can then find out what the trending topics in society are through the use of hashtags (#).

Design: You've spoken extensively about establishing a creative people's economy based on ideas and creativity. In what way can urban design and planning help encourage this behaviour?

The availability of public spaces that are safe, pleasant, inspirational, and even playful, can encourage people to gather and interact, and to also generate ideas for business or enterprising projects among themselves. Therefore, urban design and planning can help promote social activity by providing such spaces in strategic spots of the city.

The City Government of Bandung also plans to establish "creative hubs" in each sub-district within a scheme that partners Karang Taruna. Karang Taruna is an official youth organisation in Bandung City, whose purpose is to encourage bottom-up initiatives and empower local-based potential start-ups. By identifying the characteristics and potentials of each sub-district, urban design and planning can create hubs that are able to accommodate the specific needs of each sub-district and its inhabitants.

Digital era: How has implementing smart city innovations, such as the Bandung Command Center, helped transform Bandung into a more liveable city?

The implementation of smart city innovation encourages the people of Bandung to think more progressively through the usage of information technology (IT). IT makes communication between the people and the government easier and more flexible. Furthermore, it can help the City Government of Bandung to socialize its working plans and policies, as well as social programs. The people of Bandung can interact actively in overseeing the city development.

It needs to be clarified that the Bandung Command Center is a back-office facility that consists of data and softwares from existing departments. One of the softwares is a "panic button". It is an SOS button which can be downloaded by the people of Bandung on their android phones. When someone feels that his or her life is being threatened, he or she can push the panic button three times on his or her android phone and this automatically (within maximum 10 seconds) connects them to the Bandung Command Center. An operator in the Center can then locate the caller. It will be verified and the police sent to the location within a maximum time of 10 minutes.

Another software in the Bandung Command Center is IVA (Intelligent Video Analytic) which utilizes video monitoring to give automatic notifications to operators in the Bandung Command Center regarding hawker/street vendors, illegal parking or other traffic violations, so that appropriate actions can be taken immediately.

Direction: Your vision is for 80% of Bandung's population to use public transport – you've spearheaded projects such as a monorail system, a cable car system and a bike-sharing programme. Can you share 3 key lessons that other cities can learn from Bandung's experience in encouraging the use of public transport?

The 3 key lessons which we would like to share are:

  1. Identification and prioritization programmes, comprehensive analysis and commitment from all stakeholders.
  2. Integration of transport and land use planning, such as providing public transportation according to the needs of society, which will in turn reduce the use of private vehicles.
  3. Shifting to more environmentally friendly modes such as non-motorised transportation and bike sharing systems.