Indonesia's Cities towards Smart and Resilient City
Thu, 01 Nov 2018 || By Anggika Rahmadiani

      Geographically speaking, Indonesia is one of the most prone countries towards natural disaster.[i] This vulnerability is being amplified by the broad and dispersed distribution of prone regions. Some regions are more prone to a specific natural disaster than the others. Based on 2015 The National Disaster Mitigation Agency’s (BNPB) Disaster Risk Matrix, some provinces are most prone to several natural disaster cases. For example, DI Yogyakarta is the most prone province to an earthquake, followed by South Sulawesi for tsunami, Central Java for volcano eruption and West Java for flood and landslide.[ii] With these distributed vulnerable areas, it is impossible for us to only depend on national disaster risk reduction strategy without enhancing their regional resilience.

    Most recently, there are two major natural disasters happened in Indonesia, Earthquake in Lombok and Tsunami in Palu, that made us reflect on the readiness of our city's disaster risk reduction strategy. Although many criticize the lack of a comprehensive disaster risk reduction strategy in many Indonesian cities, this article will try to assess several big cities in Indonesia that already have an integrated plan on disaster risk reduction, such as Jakarta and Semarang.

     Indonesia already showed quite vast progress on integrating ICT in the disaster risk reduction strategy, as it is also apparent in the municipality level. The use of ICT in disaster risk reduction strategy is already being applied in Jakarta as the capital city of Indonesia, that always got the recurrent flood each year. By integrating their smart city strategy and digitalization in disaster risk reduction, The Jakarta’s Regional Disaster Mitigation Agency (BPBD) and DKI Jakarta Government resilience improved.[iii] With the assumption that Jakarta case is the best practice of ICT usage in disaster risk reduction strategy in Indonesia, this article tries to see how smart city framework able to help other cities in Indonesia to be more resilient towards natural disaster.

Smart City Strategy for Disaster Mitigation Plan: Jakarta Case

     There are two components in a smart city, the hard infrastructure and soft infrastructure.[iv] A smart city is known with its advanced technology infrastructures, that able to improve its operational performance by the digitalization, i.e. smart sensor, or monitored and automated devices, these are called the hard infrastructure. In disaster risk reduction, the internet of things (IoT) that is used in a smart city can be useful on detecting water levels, spreading early warning message, or distributing information for aid. One of the fine exemplary is BPBD Jakarta's disaster response strategy, specifically in flood case. BPBD already built Disaster Management Information System (DMIS) under cooperation with Fujitsu, as their hard infrastructure, to centralize and gather the information in one command center. Another hard infrastructure that being build by Jakarta Smart City’s team was the android applications, Pantau Banjir, for Jakarta citizen to monitor the flood progress real-time condition from Jakarta's smart infrastructure data like Automatic Water Level Recorder (AWLR) device.[v]

Indonesia's cities toward smart

Gambar 1. Aplikasi Pantau Banjir Pemprov DKI Jakarta

     Nevertheless, the concept of a smart city is not only about the advanced technology, but also on how to build a digital savvy community who can use the device effectively. This is how the soft infrastructure plays its important roles to build society capacity and participation. Jakarta Government also has partnered with NGO like Wahana Visi Indonesia, and companies like Twitter and Qlue, to establish social platform for society to crowdsource the information in real-time and integrate it in open source map called[vi] If the platforms are not familiar amongst users, then users are unable to utilize it and we would not be able to reach the end goal. Although we know that the platform is beneficial both for the government and society, if the society are not able to utilize it, then the end goal can’t be achieved. By having a strong resilient community that can build disaster knowledge management, the crowdsourced information could ease the information distribution and leads to more accurate decision-making response based on the real-time condition.

    Semarang's municipality also empowered their society resilience along with the community partner, Kolectif Hysteria, by designing their own hazard maps called Peta Kota with open sourced mapping website, Humanitarian OpenStreetMaps and Ushahidi.[vii] Semarang Government’s strategy in crowdsourcing the data using society's local knowledge enhancing the Government’s capability in mapping the vulnerable locations in their region. This participatory method is effective in increasing society’s participation and awareness in disaster reduction strategy as well as helping the government to collect the data.

Big Data as Key Enabler in Disaster Risk Reduction

      As seen from the previous chapter, the smart city category hasn’t acknowledged data as one of the crucial infrastructures in making a resilient city. It only mentioned the hard and soft infrastructure as two crucial aspects in a smart city framework. This fact is quite disturbing knowing that Resurgence, the global urban planning consultant and UNISDR (United Nations Offices for Disaster Risk Reduction) under their Making Cities Resilient campaign already acknowledged the role of smart city infrastructure in making cities more resilient.[viii] The report also emphasizes the importance of open data as it is available to be used and shared for public and able to integrate data across sectors inside the geographic information system, e.g. numbers of elderly and infants, food stocks, health facilities, damaged road, building or infrastructures from geospatial data.

     Hence, the highlight of Semarang Government’s smart city strategy is its focus on open data utilization. They see data as initial capital for their city to build a more resilient city. Even though they collect the data manually, not digitally stored or crowdsource from social media, this step is seen as a good starter for embracing data and society's importance. 

     What is lacking in Jakarta’s hard infrastructure strategy is that the DMIS didn’t have an open source system, it is a closed system command center that built by Fujitsu. The user interface is unable to integrate and merge many data from various sources. But this is compensated by the use of open source maps like for the real-time monitoring.   

    Besides Jakarta and Semarang, Padang also has started their initiative to build a smart city based on disaster mitigation strategy as their area is prone to earthquake and tsunami.[ix] After learning from Jakarta and Semarang practice, let's hope Padang and others cities in Indonesia will be able to integrate three component of a smart city in making more resilient city, which are: hard infrastructure, soft infrastructure, and data infrastructure.

Editor: Treviliana Eka Putri

Read another article written by Anggika Rahmadiani or article about Smart City.


[i] Emmett, A., (2018),  Hazards in paradise: Indonesia prepares for natural disasters, The Earth Magazine, [Online] 6 July, available at> [Accessed 17 October 2018]

[ii] Badan Nasional Penanggulangan Bencana., (2018) Risiko Bencana Indonesia, [Online] 1 October, available at: <> [Accessed 17 October 2018]

[iii] Meidityawati, B., Sitinjak, E., Ichwan, R. & Onggosando, N., (2018), Enhancing urban resilience through Technology and Social Media: Case Study of Urban Jakarta. Procedia Engineering, Volume 212, p. 228.

[iv] Angelidou, M, (2014), Smart city policies: A spatial approach, Cities, Volume. 41, p. 3.

[v] Meidityawati, B., Sitinjak, E., Ichwan, R. & Onggosando, N., 2018. Enhancing urban resilience through Technology and Social Media: Case Study of Urban Jakarta. Procedia Engineering, Volume 212, p. 226

[vi] Meidityawati, B., Sitinjak, E., Ichwan, R. & Onggosando, N., 2018. Enhancing urban resilience through Technology and Social Media: Case Study of Urban Jakarta. Procedia Engineering, Volume 212, p. 224

[vii] Roberts, S., (2015),  Kathmandu & Semarang: Community Mapping and Open Data in Two Cities, 100 Resilient Cities [Online] 22 May, available at:<> [Accessed 19 October 2018] 

[viii] Resurgence, et al., (2018) Open Data Infrastructure for City Resilience: A Roadmap Showcase and Guide, Resurgence p. 90 [Online] Available at: <> [Accessed 19 October 2018]

[ix] Utama, D., (2018), Padang Strengthens Promotion of Smart City Application, Antara News [Online] 10 May, Available at: [Accessed 19 October 2018]