The Importance of Values in Building a Capital City


Anies Baswedan’s 5th Year is Coming

This November will be the fifth year of Anies Baswedan administration. Apart from being one of the strongest candidates in the next 2024 presidential race, the Jakarta governor has been watched closely by many who want to ascertain whether he has delivered as much as he promised during the 2017 Jakarta election campaign.

Anies: promoting public transport in Jakarta (photo: Kompas)

To name a few, there are many works, and creations delivered by this ex Minister of Education along the four years of his leadership.

Among others, Jakarta has begun the building of a new huge international sophisticated Olympic standard stadium, new flyovers, river and lake revitalizations, the restoration of 69 public parks and 40 child friendly playgrounds.

Apart from the above, one of Anies’ iconic achievements has been the way his government shifted the residentials for marginalized citizens into a more humane housing. This is what Anies called the realization of what Anies called kesetaraan, equality. 

As we all know, some kampung (urban villages) in Jakarta often stigmatized of being slum and messy, or even illegal. Now, Anies has revitalized these kampungs, and made villagers much happier. There are not less than 20 kampungs — whose most of their inhabitants have had evicted during previous Jakarta administrator — have been revitalized.

One of them is the Kampung Akuarium in north Jakarta. Those who visited the Kampung Akuarium will notice how unique is this five-story towers with a capacity to be the home for 700 residents. Expected to be completed by end of 2021 with estimated total cost of 62 billion rupiah (more than US$ 4.3 million) the project is financed under a developer obligation funds from PT Almaron Perkasa, a subsidiary of PT Lippo Karawaci.

The collaboration between Jakarta government and the residents, who agreed on a split-level vertical housing with staggered floor levels, and the help of a professional consultant – resulted the realization of a building that allow living in close proximity, like a kampung. With green spaces and common areas such as park, basketball field, amphitheater, mosque and urban farms, each block of the Kampung Akuarium has a basement dedicated to various public services, such as clinic, library, local cooperative office and some warung (small shops).

We can say that the restoration of Kampung Akuarium could be an example for structuring villages with similar problems, especially in a dense city as Jakarta with almost 11 million inhabitants.With the government facilitating the development for the local residents, Anies believes that the principles of unity and social justice are fulfilled well, also as said during the inauguration exactly on the Independence Day.

Through the development, children in Kampung Akuarium can live comfortably and have a better future. In his speech Anies encouraged parents to assure their children to study well. “The government is ready to facilitate them. Uplift their dreams, work hard as their parents did. Then encourage them to go beyond the dreams,” said Anies who was also an ex-Minister of Education.

One of the residents – who is also the forum coordinator for — Kampung Akuarium, Diyani, feels grateful to the Jakarta government for realizing the residents’ dream to have decent home after a long struggle, leaving the ‘slum’ label to live better. She said the design offered a different concept from typical Jakarta’s low-cost subsidized flats, which were usually inhuman. The residents plan to allocate a mini gallery to showcase their struggle. “Perhaps our grandchildren will see that and prove a sustainable kampung susun does exist. We are capable to manage and develop it for our better prosperity,” said Diyani.

Kampung Akuarium in north Jakarta: Equality

Perhaps this is what Anies called as “just” and “equality” for all Jakarta population. More than just preventing the eviction of villagers, what is more interesting is the process of how the kampung revitalization went on.

In addition, what’s also special about the village revitalization process is how the land and the units above it will be managed by the community cooperatives.

Works and buildings must be developed not only by emphasizing their numbers, but by the value behind them. Anies believes that city development paradigm has moved from old concept that treated citizens residents, consumers, and participants into co-creators. Because of this change, city government now must transform their function based on this paradigm from administrator (in City 1.0), service provider (City 2.0) and facilitator (City 3.0) into “collaborator” which what is called by Anies as the government paradigm of “City 4.0”.

In meeting the demands from the citizens Anies always emphasizes that all the bureaucrats in Jakarta administration have to observe the following ideas in all their works: collaborative, integrity, innovative, accountable, and just.

The importance of values.

Here we talk about values, the principles on which a person views something as important in this life. Values make us see something worthy, important, and meaningful to do. That’s because values contain ideas, meaning, and purpose.

The visible value of the urban village revitalization policy in Jakarta is that villagers are no longer treated as residents or consumers but as participants and furthermore co-creators. At this point, the government functions more as a facilitator and collaborator rather than an administrator and service provider.

Anies other policy that show values can be seen when he prioritizes the development of wide pedestrian areas on Jakarta’s protocol streets and bicycle lanes.

Traffic in Jakarta: transformation

In addition, a significant value can be observed from the policy of intermodal transportations, such as in the “Jak Lingko” scheme. It also has the value of collaboration between the government, private bus owners, drivers, and city-trains — the policy that strives to transform the streets of cities for pedestrians and cyclists for a better quality of life by prioritizing pedestrian areas and bicycle lanes.

Both policies are not only for reducing the traffic jam. More than that, this policy exposes social segregation that has been going on without the citizens of DKI Jakarta realizing it.

With the tightened of space for private vehicles on the streets of the capital, pedestrians and public transportation areas became spacious where residents from all socio-economic segments can meet and even interact.

Professor of psychology at Duke University, US, Dan Ariely, has conducted distinctive research at an Intel company.

Dan Ariely: Values.

According to Ariely, humans are more motivated by value than external rewards. Values that contain ideas, meaning, and purpose in life are what make people able to survive to complete works and creations even though they’re in difficult and poor situations. For Ariely, values give humans meaning, reason, and purpose that extend beyond the span of their lives.

Another writer, Ken Mogi (“The Book of Ikigai”) said that values made the Japanese so obsessed with details in their work or creation. Money or external rewards alone couldn’t be able to produce persistence in the work or creation of high quality.

This value in Japanese tradition often called as ikigai or ‘reason to live’. Values are also important because only values that can be inherited through narratives to the next generation. Work may be incomplete and may take time beyond a period of political leadership. Creation could be ruined over time. However, the values inherited through narratives could inspire many people throughout history, so that our work and creation could be passed on to the future generations.

So, if we discuss about the leader’s legacy, then the legacy is a value that contains ideas, meaning, and purpose. At this point, Anies has his own expertise in showing the values that move him to build Jakarta.

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