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Indonesian satellite city offers amenities lacking in Jakarta

Bumi Serpong Damai, under construction outside Jakarta, is designed as an environmentally conscious alternative to Indonesia’s capital. (REUTERS/BEAWIHARTA/LANDOV)

Jakarta joins the growing list of Global South metropolises with shiny new satellite cities. Carissa Widjojo blogs for the New Cities Foundation about Bumi Serpong Damai (BSD), a planned urban center southwest of sprawling Jakarta. Widjojo works on strategic planning and corporate strategy for Sinar Mas Land, an Indonesian property developer involved in the project.

Twenty years in the making, BSD is projected to house more than 1 million residents. It’s being designed as everything Jakarta is not: a walkable, environmentally-conscious, energy-efficient city with ample greenery and public transit. The architects are sweating the details. For example, they’re orienting buildings to promote cooling and channel daytime winds for “pedestrian comfort,” Widjojo writes. The satellite city is in a second phase of construction expected to last until 2020. A third and final phase would be completed in 2035.

There’s a healthy debate in planning circles over the efficacy of satellite cities such as BSD. Proponents tout them as modern alternatives to polluted, slum-ridden cities with deteriorating infrastructure. Critics see playgrounds for the wealthy and business elite. The New Cities Foundation holds a summit in Jakarta this week from June 9 to 11. More details here. 

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