100 Smart Cities: Between Indonesia and India
Mon, 31 Dec 2018 || By Anggika Rahmadiani

Starting the new year of 2019, Indonesia is currently on its way to have an ambitious urban digitization program: “Gerakan 100 Smart City”. This program is initiated by the Ministry of Communication and Information, also supported by the Ministry of Public Affairs, Finance, Public Housing, Empowerment of State Apparatus and National Development Planning. A smart city being comprehended as a city that able to organize their resource effectively and efficiently using technology, to solve the urban problem and provide an innovative, integrated and sustainable solution to improve the livelihood of its people.[1]

Smart city tends to highlight the technological aspect only, while the municipalities' institutional capability in the Global South countries like Indonesia and India are still unable to adopt the technology into their urban policy well due to the unsustainable policy management.[2] As a critical reflection of the ongoing Smart City program in Indonesia, this commentary will compare the implementation of "Gerakan 100 Smart City” with another similar 100 smart cities program that is executed by the Government of India.


Indonesia and The Developing Countries Mindset on Smart Cities

While seeking the benchmark for its national strategy about smart cities, Indonesia has started the cooperation on Smart City program with India since the mid of 2016, while India itself has begun the 100 Smart Cities Mission program and established 60 smart cities in that time.[3] Although it has no empirical evidence on how the smart city cooperation with India influences Indonesia's smart city strategy, from the similar name that is used, this cooperation seems to inspire the launching of Gerakan 100 Smart City in Indonesia in 2017. Indonesia started the Gerakan 100 Smart City’s pilot project by choosing 25 cities across Indonesia a year later in May 2017. Meanwhile, the other 50 smart cities will be acquired in  2018, and other 25 cities in 2019.[4] The selection started by reviewing the municipalities' readiness from the mayor visions on smart city development, infrastructure and human resource. The cities have the authority to choose their priority which can vary from one to another, such as smart economy, smart people, or smart governance. Nevertheless, by the end of 2018, there are 50 smart cities developed under this program. However, the problematic issue is there is not any established national standard to guide the execution of this program. To date, the government is still discussing the guideline.[5]


Comparing with India’s Smart Cities Mission

India’s 100 Smart Cities program initiated in the middle of 2015 under the name of Smart Cities Mission from Ministry of Urban Development, two years ahead from Indonesia. Taking India as the relevant case study for Indonesia's Smart City program is based on these practical reasons, (1) India and Indonesia similarly have their own typical characteristics of emerging developing countries with a vast population over the globe. (2) The quantity-based program of their 100 smart cities can be understood as the adaptability towards state system, as India consist of states and Indonesia divided into provincial government system as consequences of its archipelagic country characteristic. The contested discourse in smart city implementation in Global South countries is about how smart city put technology utilization in public services as a mean to reach a better livelihood for society, not an end itself.

Reviewing from the starting point, India had started its program when the number of urban dwellers was only 32,7% in 2015, while Indonesia had 54,6% urban dwellers across the country in 2017[6]. This is a good step as Indonesia already has a higher number of urban dwellers when the program is implemented. Besides, Indonesia has already had their 25 cities as pilot project. The main priority of the Smart Cities Mission is to provide the basic needs through innovative technology feature, including sanitation, electricity, housing, transportation and energy.[7] India also uses urbanization as an opportunity to make rapid progress of its smart city program, by giving access to an inclusive economy and allowing entrepreneurship and business need to support the growth of the cities.[8] While in the implementation, India's orientation to open the business partnership in the Smart Cities Mission resulting an urban entrepreneurialism[9], neglecting its origin purpose of smart city that aims to tackle the socio-urban problems and improve public services through technology. By pointing to the deficiency of India's program thus, Indonesia can learn how to draft its smart city national standard of measurement to not fall into the urban entrepreneurialism. The standard of smart cities can be based on the local characteristic and specifications. 


National Standard of Smart City Measurement

Regarding the locality, the Indonesian government can integrate the Smart City Nusantara program, formed by Telkom, which prioritize local wisdom as a consideration in smart city program’s implementation[10] Smart City Nusantara also gave the Smart City Readiness award to the cities with outstanding digital achievement. The award is based on the indicator of connectivity, content and collaboration and also given to the cities under Gerakan 100 Smart City. Nevertheless, the Gerakan 100 Smart City has no national standard apply on the measurement of the smart city implementation.

In the late of 2017, Indonesia under Badan Standar Nasional is also progressing to publish its own standard on Smart Cities' standard, including a smart information system, smart tourism, smart energy, smart card and smart care based on ISO 37120 and ISO 37151. The standard relies on sustainable development of communities Indicators for city services and quality of life and measurement of community infrastructure.[11] SCCIC ITB already formed the smart city assessment under Indeks Kota Cerdas Indonesia and Rating Kota Cerdas Indonesia to map the smart cities progress in Indonesia based on six aspects: environment, mobility, economy, society, governance and life quality.[12] These two standards above hopefully able to be integrated and guide the implementation of Gerakan 100 Smart City in Indonesia.

As the program reaching its end on 2019, there will be significant progress if Indonesia can set their national standard of smart cities. The national standard is also expected to respect the cities characteristic and diverse urban problems so that smart city can become the solution to the better urban livelihood. 

Editor: Anisa Pratita Mantovani

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


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[9] The term was popularized by David Harvey on his book, From Managerialism to Entrepreneurialism (1989) to describe the shift he observed in western cities taking place in the 1980s. It is defining a form of urban governance focused on promoting economic growth through enabling the private sector to flourish, in contrast with urban managerialism, which concentrates on the provision of public services.

[10] Sanjaya, et al. (2017) Research Trends of Smart City in Indonesia: Where Do We Go from Here? [Online] Available at https://www.researchgate.net/publication/322288301 [Accessed 24 Dec. 2018]

[11] Badan Standardisasi Nasional. (2017) Pengembangan SNI dalam Mendukung Smart City di Indonesia, [Online] Badan Standardisasi Nasional Available at http://www.bsn.go.id/uploads/download/PENGEMBANGAN_SNI_DALAM_MENDUKUNG_SMART_CITY_DI_INDONESIA1.pdf [Accessed 24 Dec. 2018]

[12] Smart City and Community Innovation Center ITB. (2018) Hasil Rating Kota Cerdas Indonesia 2017 [Online] SCCIC ITB. Available at http://www.sccic.id/news/hasil-rating-kota-cerdas-indonesia-2017/ [Accessed 28 Dec. 2018]