Tuesday, June 16, 2015


   Jakarta, June 16, 2015 (Antara)- Mayor of Bandung Ridwan Kamil has envisioned to make the city greener while keeping pace with the latest information technology.
         Located some 175 kilometers from Jakarta, Bandung city offers a pleasant climate and beautiful natural panorama, as it is surrounded by mountains. 
    In the past, the Dutch colonizers had given it a nick name "Paris of Java." Bandung is called the "City of flowers" by the Indonesian people.
         As Indonesia's third-largest city, Bandung has been facing typical urban problems such as traffic jams, slums, damaged roads, and piles of garbage.

         Holding the post of Bandung mayor since 2013, thanks to his educational background and experience as an architect, Ridwan Kamil, or better known as Emil, is confident that he can restore the city's beauty and simultaneously transform it into a smart or digitalized city. 
    Bandung has a population of 2.5 million, and 60 percent of them are below 40 years of age. Therefore, technology has been considered to play a significant role in the future development of the city.
         "To develop the city of Bandung, we have a triangle strategy that emphasizes on innovation, decentralization, and collaboration," Emil explained.
         The Bandung administration has planned to develop some 607 parks, including 60 thematic parks equipped with WiFi network.
         "Mayor Ridwan Kamil came up with the idea to develop more parks to make Bandung greener and more beautiful to attract more tourists to the city," Sri Dian Dini of the Bandung Municipality's Communication and Informatics Office remarked in Bandung recently.
         "With pretty and green parks, the local inhabitants and tourists will be able to enjoy the environment and spend their time outdoors during holidays while staying connected to the internet. Love, traffic, seniors, and films are among the themes for the parks," she stated.
         The park, based on the theme of love, will be located behind Bandung's office area. Here, visitors can put up lovers' locks, similar to the "Love Lock" bridge that Paris earlier had.
         The Bandung municipality will develop these new parks with the cooperation of state-owned enterprises that will provide funds as part of their corporate social responsibility.
         "Some companies will develop the parks. Once they are ready, they will hand them over to the Bandung municipality," Dini explained.  
    In fact, four thematic parks: Music, Film, Photography and Jomblo (Singles) are already open to the public. 
    Moreover, public awareness on maintaining cleanliness has increase significantly. Several residents have volunteered to help keep the city clean.
         These volunteers will monitor the condition of the parks and will report to the authorities if they see any plants that need replacing or replanting, Dini affirmed.
         Regarding the smart city concept, Emil will ensure that every working unit of the municipality has internet connectivity and are integrated with each other.
         Such an online and integrated system is crucial, as Bandung is striving to improve its public services.
         "We have urged the students of the Bandung Institute of Technology (ITB) to develop an online technological network to enable us to provide better services to the public," Mayor Emil, who also holds a master's degree in city planning, noted earlier.
         In the Bandung City Hall, a command center called IBM Intelligent Operation Center (IBM IOC) has been set up and is connected to the CCTVs installed in 80 strategic locations.
         From the command center, the authorities can monitor traffic jams and illegal street vendors that can block the city's roads.
         "The IBM Intelligent Operation Center solution is being used by several countries. With our experience in technology, we are confident that we can help transform Bandung into the first smart city in Indonesia," Gunawan Susanto, IBM Indonesia president director, affirmed recently.
         Addressing several mayors from Asian and African cities during the Smart City Summit held in Bandung in April 2015, Emil expressed hope that within three years, the Smart City plan will be realized.
         During the summit, the participants agreed to build a smart city network in the Asian and African continents, with the hope that it will minimize the gap among countries across the world.
         They also pledged to work together to create environmentally friendly cities, smart public services, sustainable transportation sectors, renewable energy sources, as well as to prevent and mitigate natural disasters in the Asia-Africa region.
         During the summit, Emil was appointed as chairman of the Asia-Africa Smart City Alliance.
         "I have been trusted to become the first chairman of this alliance. I hope this world's first organization of smart city mayors could boost this new spirit of city administrations in various countries," the Bandung mayor stated.
         To demonstrate solidarity with Palestine, the only Asian and African Conference member country that is still being colonized, the mayor is planning to establish sister city cooperation with Gaza.
         He said a plan of action is being prepared for Gaza, particularly concerning cooperation in bureaucratic management and decentralization.
         This is purely to express solidarity with the Palestinian people in line with the instructions of President Joko Widodo, as the Asian and African Conference is concerned about the condition in Palestine, he noted.
         Gaza has been devastated and is in ruins following last year's brutal military aggression by Israel, which has occupied Palestine since 1968.
         The Israeli occupation army killed more than 980 Palestinian children below 18 years of age and injured hundreds more during its three wars on the besieged Gaza Strip.
         In a statement released by Defense for Children International-Palestine on the international day of innocent children victims of aggression observed on June 4, 2015, the organization stated that 2014 was the deadliest and most difficult on the children of Gaza, where more than 530 of them were killed and some 3.3 thousand others were injured in direct Israeli attacks.
         "Around 500-700 Palestinian children are arrested, detained, and prosecuted in the Israeli military court system each year. Most of the Palestinian child detainees are charged for pelting stones, and three out of every four experience physical violence during arrest, transfer, or interrogation," the organization was quoted as saying by falastinews.com in June 5, 2015.
         Indonesia, a staunch supporter of Palestine, has used the Asia-Africa Conference's 60th Commemoration, a major gathering of leaders of Asian and African countries, held in Jakarta and Bandung on April 19- 24, to showcase its moral support to the Palestinian people.
         The solidarity and support are in accordance with the spirit of the Bandung Conference of Asian and African countries held for the first time in April 1955, which is totally against any colonialism and occupation on Earth.

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