Observing Anies’ Promises: Did He Make a More Livable City?

The popularity of free public workspaces in Jakarta is likely to continue indefinitely.

Thanks to Anies Baswedan’s efforts who promoted better public spaces for Jakarta residents, such as introducing more public libraries and green spaces in various locations in the city. Surely, it is an unarguable development and a strong note left on his legacy as he stepped down from his five-year term last October 16, 2022.

Reflecting back, Anies prioritized on initiating improvement for the city as he entered the office in October 2017.  In spite of the challenges, Anies’ visionary leadership has resulted in new public spaces in Jakarta that are accessible to all.

So far, the administration has made significant progress in launching several new initiatives and completing a number of unfinished projects from the previous administration. But what is most impressive is how he tackled on shaping public spaces, transposition, and Jakarta’s complex housing issues – creating brilliant projects that contributed highly to the governor’s legacy.

Moreover, The Jakarta Smart Card (KJP Plus) and the Jakarta Excellent Student Card (KJMU) issued in the second year of governorship, showed Anies’ commitment to the city’s education.

In regard to education, a few of the things can be added on the list. One recent example was the launch of The Jakarta Library and H.B. Jassin Literary Documentation Center, LDC. The library was launched on 7th July 2022 by the governor himself, long-awaited after being revitalized since 2019.

The Jakarta Public Library is also home to the H.B. Jassin Literary Documentation Center (LDC), founded in 1978 and is named after Indonesian author and journalist, Haji Bakar bin Jassin. The LDC has a collection of more than 250,000 books, magazines, and newspapers, making it one of the largest literary archives in Southeast Asia.

Designed with 14 levels located in the heart of the city, Jakarta Public Library allows 300 visitors at once, daily from 09:00 – 17.00 excluding public holidays. No admission fee was expected, yet online registration was encouraged to keep up with the COVID-19 protocol (www.perpustakaan.jakarta.go.id).

The same site also allows membership registration, where registered members can borrow from over 138,000 book choices and having access to the co-working spaces available within the facility. The library also offers children section, promoting reading habits since a young age.

The new library was quickly gaining popularity and was expected to have a strong impact on the country’s capital.

More aspirations have also been poured recently – Cikini’s revitalization as a commercial district was one such undertaking. After a long negligence, the governor vowed to transform Cikini into a thriving and contemporary business zone, through razing outdated structures and establishing brand-new ones.

Anies has outlined several initiatives to improve Jakarta before he departed. These include improving infrastructure, tackling traffic congestion, and has vowed to make healthcare more accessible and affordable for residents. He also planned to create more jobs as an effort to reduce crime rates in the city.

He recently stated in an interview that he also wanted to make the city more environmentally friendly and livable for the citizens.

The reduction of Jakarta’s air pollution was one of Anies’ top concerns. He intended to accomplish this by activating several initiatives, such as boosting the number of electric buses and vehicles.

Rejuvenating public parks has been Anies’ primary goal. More than 300 parks have received a ‘facelift’ with new structures, seats, and landscaping. This effort also contributed to making Jakarta a more livable and greener city.

According to government figures, a large percentage of citizens live within a few blocks of a park. Residents congregate in the park to exercise, mingle, and revive themselves, while also improving community involvement.

Additionally, one of the crucial steps he took was developing affordable housing for the citizens. Despite of critics from his political opponents, last August, the governor claimed that he had delivered all his 23 promises during the 2017 election campaign. One of his last actions was the provision of vertical housings, specifically affordable for middle to lower class citizens in the transit-oriented development area. These strategic projects were monitored and executed by Jakarta provincial working units (Satuan Kerja Perangkat Daerah, SKPD). As the execution took time, the process was not easily observed.

“Alhamdulillah, one by one all the pledges made have been delivered, and this housing program is one of them,” said Anies at Penjaringan, North Jakarta, last August 18, 2022.

Jakarta government collaborated with private sectors to provide these housing projects titled Alaspadu and Rumapadu. “Alaspadu” is a rental residence like a boarding house with a co-living concept, and “Rumapadu” is an ownership residence in the form of an apartment. The target residents are workers with incomes between 7 to 20 million rupiahs per month.

Anies believed in providing the housing needs for people of all walks of life; not only low-income people, but also those in the middle-class segment, including youths who just kickstarted their careers. “Now, we are offering a new concept for this young group. Stay close to your workplace, close to public transportation,” said Anies.

Moreover, the daily expenses of the residents living in Alaspadu and Rumapadu can be streamlined because their residences are close to an integrated transportation system.

Looking at these developments, Jakarta is projected to be more positive and livable in the near future.

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