Many wonder what the future holds for Jakarta Governor Anies Baswedan after he ends his five-year term this coming October.
Critics from his opponents largely focus on his ability to give speeches – he is a famous orator with eloquent narratives – on many occasions both domestically and in international forum, including the recent ones in Europe. They usually accused Mr. Baswedan as a man who only good in talking but lack of action.
Nonetheless, despite criticisms from his detractors, most recently related to Jakarta’s plan to host the Formula E race, Mr. Baswedan has consistently been touted as one of the strongest candidates in the 2024 presidential race. Popular support is seen growing for Mr. Baswedan to take the highest office, at least according to several opinion surveys, which found that Mr. Baswedan competes pretty closely with Defense Minister and Gerindra Party chairman Prabowo Subianto, and Central Java Governor Ganjar Pranowo of the ruling Indonesian Democratic Party of Struggle (PDI-P).
Those supports apparently based on his success in, among others, transforming Jakarta public transportation and making Jakarta a greener city with hundredths of public parks.
However, development of the park is not without problems. Because of the COVID-19 pandemic, the constructions paused and continued in the year 2021 with 12 “Progress Together Park” (Taman Maju Bersama, or TMB). The number of TMBs built until the end of 2021 totaled 69, while the target was to develop 200 TMBs by the end of 2022 when Baswedan ends his term as governor.
Nevertheless, three parks were successfully built as the ideal “third space,” which were called as “TMB Grande.” Grande Park is a large-scale park, as a green open space and a land for water retention. These places have a “fun transit park” concept, with a comfortable transit place for pedestrians since it integrated them into public transportation. The three parks are Taman Mataram in Kebayoran Baru, South Jakarta, Taman Puring in Kebayoran Lama, South Jakarta, and the Tebet Eco Park.
The parks that were previously rarely seen or visited have today become the residents’ destinations to spend time or unwind on the weekends instead of the malls.
Citizens interviewed by the media also acknowledged the benefits of the parks for their young ones. Residents no longer need to look for a remote location to keep their kids entertained. Apart from being free, parents can unwind and rest, as it is easy to supervise their children. “With its many big trees in the park, it is a great place for free picnic with family,” said a visitor to Tebet Eco-Park recently. “We can save money, since children can play freely and enjoy ethnic food provided by traditional local vendors,” add the other.
Among around 300 beautified parks, Tebet Eco-Park, which was opened to the public by Mr. Baswedan last April 23, probably is the most sophisticated and easy to access venue by Jakarta citizens. Becoming hype in many social media platforms, the park is now one of the new most visited interesting places in the capital.
As an “oasis” in the midst of busy Jakarta, the park can be an enjoyable escape from citizens’ hectic daily activities. Bringing three main concepts, promoting ecological function, a place for socialization, and space for education and recreation, the Tebet Eco-Park becomes one of the preferred places for family gathering in leisure times, either at picnic during weekend or healing stress at day times.
At the southern part, the park offers various zones such as Community Garden, Forrest Buffer and Swamp Playground and the Wetland boardwalk which is used to help in controlling water flows in the rainy days.
The park has two side, north and south, which connected by a long orange bridge symbolized by an infinite number eight (8) shape, that’s why it’s called “infinity link bridge”. This bridge – whichbecomes an icon of the seven-hectare park — along with Thematic Garden area, and the wooden bridge have also been the most favorite spots for taking instagramable pictures, while its Plaza in the southern part also can be a good place for meeting with friends. All those sections
Started from 2018, the revitalization of the park costed around 40 billion rupiah. Its color was chosen to represent Jakarta’s favorite football club Persija. Apart from that, outdoor fitness area is ideal for walk or jogging, or walking around beautiful thematic garden available there. Enrich by several meeting points, the park has several educative playing stations for kids. Children can also enjoy a variety of playing stations from trampolines to see-saw (jungkat-jungkit), swing, climber and sliding gizmos.
Can be a place for stress healing, the various aesthetic area with plenty of photo spots attracts many visitors to enjoy the fresh air, doing several sport activities and relaxing.
On his Instagram account @aniesbaswedan, the governor stated that the concept of Eco Park in the revitalization has a mission to restore its role from an ecological perspective: Tebet Eco-Park has altered the function of a greenery at the park into a green open space, which also applied as a blue open space to address the problems of flooding and water crisis in Jakarta. In other words, the Jakarta government has restored natural rocks and plants, garden animals, and for accessibility to natural features in the park, or what we call naturalization.
It all started with the aspirations of the surrounding residents. They natural “infinity connecting bridge” for instance, connects two separated north and south Tebet parks, Taman Tebet Utara and Taman Tebet Selatan. The project is an effort to build a capital city that is not solely focused on urban development but is equally a source of contentment for its citizens, as campaigned by Anies Baswedan during the 2017 Jakarta gubernatorial election.
Organized in the past four years, one program promoted by the Jakarta government is to add more public areas, also called the “third space” (“ruang ketiga”). The plan was ensured under the authority of the former education minister, as no less than 296 city parks, 29 urban forests, and 154 green lines were built.
The idea was to create a place that was merely a “garden” for plants into a “park,” an open area with more functional features that provides a location for studying, playing, and interacting between citizens. Events or festivals are held often, so that the park is not an empty field amid the swift and hectic metropolitan currents.
“That feeling of equality is what is needed in this city,” Baswedan noted. It is important to note since the governor wants a unified Jakarta, which means the “third space” should not be segmented or divided.
No less relevant than the parks in Jakarta are the 214 kilometers of walkways built, including the renewals of 10 sidewalks, or trottoirs, on the major streets of Jakarta. In addition, another significant step is converting public routes into pedestrian areas, such as the underpasses (tunnels). It takes consistency and commitment from a leader to establish green open spaces that are comfortable, safe, and accessible to all citizens in the midst of rapid skyscraper constructions. The government is targeting a bigger percentage of green open spaces in Jakarta and has so far reached 9.2 percent.
Probably Jakarta wants to imitate London, which was named the most environmentally friendly city by the IESE Cities in Motion Index (CIMI) 2020, University of Navarra, Spain. One of London’s outstanding achievements is the realization of an eco-friendly city, with over three thousand green spaces and parks that occupy 40 percent of the land in the British capital.
Jakarta puts forward three important issues in its development plans and implementation: social cohesion, the environment, and collaboration between the government and citizens, which are the keys to London’s success. In determining the ranking of cities in the world, CIMI analyzes 101 indicators that are divided into nine dimensions that Jakarta seems to be promoting: human capital, social cohesion, the economy, governance, the environment, mobility, and transportation, urban planning, international projection, and technology.
For almost five years, Jakarta continues to strive for its progress and happiness of its citizens. Apart from the Indonesian Happiness Index, which states DKI Jakarta is in the 27th position out of 34 provinces and criticism from opposing parties, data shows that the parks, sidewalks, and green open spaces built had increased the number of smiles on the faces of millions. It is possible that the “third space” will set an example for other big cities in Indonesia, with forms of entertainment in open spaces being in high demand, especially after a pandemic.
It is time for the development of City 4.0, parks, urban forests, and comfortable sidewalks to become the trend of future metropolitan cities and not malls, skyscrapers, luxury cars, and motorbikes that fill the streets. And those developments can be evident that Mr. Baswedan is not only an inspiring rhetor, but a decisive city manager with scores of performances.