Building the New Capital City with Forest City Concept: “Challenges and Opportunities”

Building the New Capital City with Forest City Concept:
“Challenges and Opportunities”
By Chiello Prasetya

Indonesia’s new capital city will be the first city with a forest city concept. The forest city concept will implement development that pays attention to the environment, especially the forests around the new capital city. The forest city concept is expected to be a solution to overcome various ongoing environmental problems such as climate change, global warming, forest destruction, pollution, food crisis, and lack of clean water sources. On the other hand, the development plan of the national capital in East Kalimantan also has several challenges and opportunities related to the balance of development and natural sustainability. The challenges and opportunities that arise can be used as targets for building a better capital city.

Some Challenges in Implementing the Forest City Concept to Build the New Capital City

1. Decrease in Forest Function

The decline in forest function is one of the environmental problems that can be caused by the development of a new capital city. The land used for capital city development in Kalimantan has forests with sources of biodiversity that play an important role in absorbing carbon and oxygen. The loss of biodiversity caused by development can have an impact on damage to water sources, climate change, and can disrupt the socio-economic life of people who rely on resources from the forest. Therefore, forest conservation efforts and awareness of both the government and the community are needed to maintain the survival of the forest.

2. Threats to Animals and Plants

Deforestation and land use change for infrastructure development can reduce or eliminate the natural habitat of animals and plants in the area, which can also reduce the population of existing species. Therefore, integrated efforts are needed to consider the impact on the environment.

3. Carbon Emissions

The use of energy and fossil fuels for capital city infrastructure development can increase the amount of carbon dioxide emissions that have an impact on global climate change such as increasing temperatures, rising water levels, and extreme weather. The application of environmentally friendly technology and renewable energy is one of the efforts that can be used to reduce carbon dioxide emissions generated.

4. Clean Water Scarcity

The long dry season and low rain intensity can lead to limited clean water supply. The area used for land development of the new national capital also has low water absorption capacity because it is a non-CAT (Groundwater Basin) area. This causes the area around the development to not be able to rely on groundwater. Some efforts that can be made to overcome this include developing an efficient water management system, developing waste recycling technology, and implementing government regulations regarding the wise use of water so that clean water needs can be met.

5. Flood Potential

The construction of the new capital city in Kalimantan will use land that was previously used as a catchment area. This could lead to a lack of ground surface to absorb water and affect river flow and drainage conditions, which could increase the risk of flooding during the rainy season. Careful planning and development of drainage systems are needed to reduce the risk of flooding that will impact residents around the new capital city.

In addition to the five challenges above, the development of a new capital city also has good opportunities for environmental, economic and social quality conditions. As in China, the application of the forest city concept is carried out to overcome environmental problems such as air pollution and reduce atmospheric environmental warming and greenhouse gas emissions. Unlike other countries, the forest city concept applied to the development of the new capital city focuses more on maintaining the ecological functions of forests, biodiversity conservation, and environmental management.

There are six principles used in applying the forest city concept to the development of the new capital city. First, the principle of conservation of natural resources and animal habitats to minimize damage or protect existing ecosystems. Second, connected to nature where this concept seeks to provide green open space to accommodate humans in carrying out their activities. Third, low carbon development to maximize the role of trees and the use of renewable energy. Fourth, the development of adequate water resources which emphasizes the management of water resources so as to ensure the availability of clean water. Fifth, controlled development that supports the construction of green belts to separate urban and rural activities
with green open spaces. Sixth, community involvement where this concept will provide education to the community regarding awareness to maintain forests and the built environment.

The development of the capital city in Kalimantan also opens up great opportunities for the economic sector in Indonesia. This is because the development will require labor sources and raw materials that can increase economic growth. Infrastructure development can also open up trade and investment opportunities both from within the country and abroad. In addition, the natural beauty and diverse types of animals in Kalimantan can also attract tourists who ultimately increase economic growth through the tourism sector.

Growth in the level of labor required can provide opportunities to improve the quality of human resources and reduce the existing unemployment rate. The development of modern facilities, especially in health, education and culture, can also help improve the social welfare of the community. Thus the community’s access to public services can be improved which in turn can provide new opportunities.

The forest city concept applied to the development of the new capital city is expected to provide solutions to overcome various existing problems. The development of the new capital city must also pay attention to several challenges that may occur, especially related to the decline in forest functions, threats to animals and plants, carbon gas emissions, limited clean water, and potential flooding. In addition to the challenges generated, it turns out that the development of the capital city also provides new opportunities both in maintaining environmental quality, increasing economic growth, and also improving the social welfare of
the community. By considering these challenges and opportunities, the development of the capital city is expected to be an example of sustainable development in providing benefits to the environment, society and the economy. Therefore, collaborative efforts between the government, the private sector and the community are also needed so that development can run well.