Decentralized spatial planning in Indonesia

Jakarta city landmark. Jakarta, Indonesia. Photo: Jerry Kurniawan / World Bank

Indonesia is a predominantly urban country. Metropolitan Jakarta will be home to 11 million people by 2020.

This is the last in a six-part series featuring case studies that illustrate what regenerative urban development looks like in practice.

Successful implementation of regenerative urban development requires national governments to give local levels the authority to plan development of their constituencies that is suited to local conditions and the resources to realise the plans. The case study of Indonesia demonstrates the importance of coherence between national and local policies in order to connect policy making and implementation.



Indonesia is a rapidly urbanising country: Over half of the country’s population lives in urban areas, a fifth of which lives in the metropolitan area of Jakarta, which is expected to house 11 million residents by 2020. Urban beltways connect the large cities of Indonesia and blur the boundaries between urban and rural in the region, in both the physical and socioeconomic sense.

“Now, local governments have more power than previously. Coordination and local public participation are key.” –Eko Kurniawan, Deputy Director for Metropolitan Spatial Planning and Development, The Directorate General of Spatial Planning, The Ministry of Public Works, Indonesia, at FCF 2013

A new law in 2007 and regulation in 2010 spurred a process towards decentralised planning in Indonesia, allowing local governments to have more power than previously. In an attempt at a clean break from the previous authoritarian regime, the Indonesian parliament passed the Spatial Planning Law 26/2007 – a replacement of the Spatial Planning Law 24/1992 – which explicitly lays out the mandate of provincial and district governments in spatial planning. In the past, spatial planning that crossed provincial borders fell under the jurisdiction of the national government, whereas with the new law, the responsibility lies with the governments of the respective provinces to coordinate with each other. Zoning and spatial planning permits are now issued by local governments. The spatial planning authority of the central government is thus curtailed and decentralised to the subnational level, allowing for urban spatial plans to be more readily implemented.

In this way, the central government is encouraging local government initiatives. In 2011, mayors helped finance green spatial planning in their cities by presenting plans to the central government and joining its green city development programme. Adoption of sustainability principles are done at the city level. The local government of Jakarta now has more decision-making and implementation tools and power, allowing it to consequently expand flood-protection.

The law mandates that a minimum of 30% of urban areas must be open spaces, with at least two-thirds being public open space. In addition, the law also includes a principle of accountability and a minimum standard of basic service provision, including provisions on allocation of public transport networks and pedestrian traffic. Most cities, however, have not reached the 30% threshold yet.

A move away from rigid centralised decision making in regenerative urban planning is important, as local authorities are more sensitive to the needs of their constituents, understand the latent opportunities in their constituencies, and are more nimble in adapting to change. The national government, however, still plays an important role in creating an enabling environment and framework that spurs the right kinds of policy and action on the subnational level facilitating networks between different cities and regions. Multi-level dialogue and cooperation in building regenerative cities are therefore crucial in ensuring coherent policy and coordinated action.


This text is an excerpt from a new report by the World Future Council on Regenerative Urban Development: A roadmap to the city we need.

The report is an outcome of the discussions at the Future of Cities Forum 2013 surrounding the vision of regenerative cities. It explores a selection of the case studies presented at the Forum to outline the value creation resulting from regenerative urban development, the obstacles in the way of progress, and tools to help overcome those challenges.

Thursday, June 26th, 2014

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1 Decentralized spatial planning in Indonesia &md... { 07.08.14 at 08:46 }

[…] Decentralized spatial planning in Indonesia. Fiona Woo. Jakarta city landmark. Jakarta, Indonesia. Photo: Jerry Kurniawan / World Bank. Indonesia is a predominantly urban country. Metropolitan Jakarta will be home to 11 …  […]