Ged a Widget

Jumat, 02 Oktober 2015

Building Urban Climate Resilience: A Lesson from Semarang

UNFPA’s 2007 State of the World Population1 report  affirmed  that  for  the  first  time  in history, more than half of humanity is urban-based. This is expected to grow to 70% by 2050,  represented  by  6.4  billion  people.  The  greatest  amount  of  growth is  expected  to occur  in  secondary  cities  of  developing  countries,  those  with  current  populations  below 500,000. Migration  to  cities  will  continue  because  of  economic,  political  and  social  factors, especially among low-income countries2. Vulnerable, usually poor populations are like to settle  in  marginal  and  hazardous  areas.  To  illustrate, the number  of  people  living  in floodplains of urban areas may rise, by 2060, from:

  • East Asia - 18 million 45–67 million
  • South-Central Asia - 35–59 million
  • South East Asia - 7 million in 2000 to 30–49 million
  • Africa - 26–36.

Cities across the globe, particularly those with urban poor communities, face long-term challenges in ensuring the well-being of their inhabitants. These challenges are partly a result of direct and indirect impacts of climate change, and are often compounded by preexisting vulnerability. Urban resilience is the capacity of cities to function, so that the people living and working in cities particularly the porr and vulnerable, survive and thrive no matter what stresses or shocks they encounter.

Signs of Climate Change

The concept of resilience has been useful in addressing climate risk and unexpected events, and in enhancing ef  orts to survive and thrive in the context of climate change.3 Urban climate change resilience (UCCR) embraces climate change adaptation, mitigation actions, and disaster risk reduction while recognizing the complexity of rapidly growing urban areas and the uncertainty associated with climate change. This approach places greater emphasis on considering cities as dynamic systems capable of evolving and adapting to survive and even thrive in the face of volatile shocks or stresses.

Urban resilience is the ability of urban communities to recover from disasters and disturbances in a sustainable way, maintain a good quality of life and increase its coping capacity to reduce the damages from an unpredictable disaster or disturbance. Resilient urban communities are better prepared for uncertain and able to adapt to changing conditions.

On 2013, The World Economic Forum released its Global Risks Report and included a section on resilience in the report. It is the first such report of the forum that discusses the global risks from resilience perspective. The report identifies five components of national resilience that are very applicable for the urban context. What are the five components ?

The components are robustness, redundancy, resourcefulness, response and recovery (5R).4 Robustness refers to the ability to absorb and withstand disaster and disturbance. Redundancy is the excess capacity to enable the maintenance of core functions in the event of disasters and disturbances. 

Resourcefulness involves the ability to adapt and respond flexibly to disaster and disturbances, and transform a negative impact into a positive one. Response means the ability to mobilize quickly in the face of disturbance. Recovery is the ability to regain normality after a disaster or disturbance.

Building urban resilience refers to the development of these five components in the urban system, including buildings, infrastructure and communities. Building urban resilience is a long term program and requires coordination among stakeholders in the city including government agencies, private companies and residents to prepare for, withstand and recover stronger from disaster, disruptions and chronic stresses. 

In May 2013, the Rockefeller Foundation announced the Centennial Challenge of 100 Resilient Cities. The foundation received nearly 400 applications from cities around the world ranging from thousand-year-old cities to mega-cities dealing with rapid urbanization. A panel of judges, including former president Bill Clinton, reviewed the applications particularly on how the cities are approaching and planning for resilience and their commitment to building a resilient city. 

On Dec. 3, the panel selected the first set of 33 cities for the foundation’s 100 Resilient Network. The 33 selected cities include Semarang, Melbourne, New York City, San Francisco, Los Angeles, New Orleans, Ramalah, Rotterdam, Rome, Rio de Jainero, Mexico City and Dakar. These cities have implemented innovative programs and demonstrated positive results for resilience. 

For example, New Orleans had experience from dealing with and rebounding from hurricanes Katrina and Isaac and the Deepwater Horizon Oil Spill and learned important lessons about being a resilient city. Similarly, New York City has learned valuable lessons from Hurricane Sandy and developed programs to protect its residents from coastal flooding and sea level rise that could lead to replicable models for other coastal cities. 

Innovative programs for increasing resilience and lessons learned in recovering from disasters and catastrophes from those selected cities should be introduced to other cities for possible replication, including to Indonesian cities. Jakarta and other Indonesian cities should prepare for possible catastrophic disruptions and should develop systems to recover. Semarang was selected because it has innovative programs to address flash floods and tidal flooding. These include rainwater harvesting, vetiver grass plantation, mangrove rehabilitation and early warning system for floods and vector-borne diseases. 

Semarang,  Indonesia,  became  a  part  of  the Asian  Cities  Climate  Change  Resilience Network (ACCCRN)5 programme, funded by Rockefeller Foundation, in 2009. The city’s government  has  worked  to  develop  a  Climate  Resilience  Strategy  (CRS).  This  defines prioritised actions reducing vulnerability to climate change. A city working group (CWG) comprising government officials, local NGOs and academics, leads ACCCRN involvement. The  Local  Development  Planning  Board  (BAPPEDA)  oversees  CWG  management  and responsibilities  in  planning,  and  use  of  public  development  funds.  The  CWG  structure enables integration of ACCCRN activities into city planning processes and budget cycles. 

Banjir Kanal Barat : an effort to tackle the flood in Semarang
Source :

The  implementation  of  this  integrated  process  and  how  it  succeeded  in incorporating  climate  change  into  city  planning  in  Semarang.  The  key  processes  of resilience  planning  discussed  here  are  similar  to  sister  programs  in  another  eight ACCCRN cities among three other countries. Yet there are a number of approaches that were key to facilitating the process in Indonesia, given local context: 

  • Active  engagement  with  local  government  and  NGOs  from program  inception:  This  engagement  was  significant  in  building government  support  and  developing  a  platform  for  civil  society engagement, which then eased integration of the CRS into city planning.
  • Making  sectoral  studies  relevant  to  city  planning:  This contributed  significantly  to  legitimizing  selection  of  local  issues  to  be addressed. 
  • Regular  Shared  Learning  Dialogues  (SLDs):  Cities  held  a  large number  of  iterative  SLDs,  which  facilitated  identification  of  city  needs that ACCCRN could address, and dissemination of related progress.    
Adipura Park in Banjir Kanal Barat Semarang
Source :

Identifying key government officials able to remain in their positions long enough to lead a sustainable resilience planning process was a major challenge, among others.  ACCCRN’s overall achievement has led the program to be recognized by local and national  governments,  and formed  a  platform  for  self-funded  replication  elsewhere  by municipal governments. In Semarang, the CWG has since become responsible for climate projects outside ACCCRN. In recognition of this, Indonesia’s Ministry of Environment is considering designating Semarang a national pilot Resilient City.

In conclusion, building urban climate resilience needs an integrated partnership among the stakeholders. Other Indonesian cities should learn from Semarang and other selected cities and have systems in place to recover, persist or even thrive amid disruptions.

1United  Nations  Population  Fund,  The  state  of  the  world  population  report,  2007, United Nations Population Fund: New York
2Government  Office  For  Science  and  Foresight, Foresight:  Migration  and  global environmental change, 2011: London.
3Asian Cities Climate Change Resilience Network. 2013.  ACCCRN City Projects
4Deden Rukmana. 2013. Building Urban Resilience. The Jakarta Post. accessed on October 1, 2015.

This essay was written in order to open the discussion before joining the Asia-Pacific 

Urban Youth Assembly (APUFY), 17-18 October 2015 in Jakarta. 

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1 komentar:

  1. Keren mas pemikiran dan konsepnyaa. Silahkan mampir ke blog saya juga nggeh