Ridwan Kamil dreams of transforming Bandung into technopolis

Ridwan Kamil dreams of transforming Bandung into technopolis

Bandung Mayor Ridwan Kamil (right) and Communication and Informatics Minister Rudiantara (center) during the closing ceremony of the Asia-Africa Smart City Summit (AASCS) in Bandung, April 2015. (ANTARA FOTO/Hafidz Mubarak A.) ()

Jakarta (ANTARA News)- Bandung Mayor Ridwan Kamil, better known as Emil, harbors an ambitious dream to transform his city into a technopolis, as well as liveable and loveable city.

Technopolis is a society with a concentration of technology-based businesses, or an emphasis on technology.

In the initial stage, he plans to develop a technopolis area near Jatinangor, an educational hub located between the border of Bandung and Sumedang District, both in West Java Province.

Thanks to his educational background and experience as an architect, 43-year-old Emil is confident that he can restore the citys beauty and simultaneously transform it into a smart or digitalized city.

For that purpose, he paid a working visit to England on June 22-28, 2015, to gather information on new innovations and ideas concerning city management in the European country.

"There are some 15 meetings on the agenda that I have to attend," Kamil, who is also the chairman of the Association of the Mayors of Javas Cities, pointed out.

Emil held a meeting with some British businessmen engaged in the creative industry at Wayra company office in London, Indonesian diplomat at the Indonesian embassy in London Hastin A.B. Dumanid informed Antara on June 29.

British businessmen part of the UK-ASEAN Business Council have expressed their readiness to help Mayor Ridwan Kamil develop Bandung.

They conveyed their willingness following the mayors presentation in a business forum organized by the UK-ASEAN Business Council in London, the Indonesian Embassy in London said in a statement earlier.

The roundtable presentation was also attended by Indonesian Ambassador to the Great Britain and Ireland Hamzah Thayeb.

Kamil invited British businessmen to invest in Bandung, particularly in transportation safety.

While in the UK, Emil also explored the possibility of establishing cooperation as a sister city with Oxford.

During the Asian-African Smart City Summit held in Bandung in April 2015, 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 worlds first organization of smart city mayors could boost this new spirit of city administrations in various countries," the Bandung mayor stated.

He expressed his hope that within three years, the smart city project would be realized.

A number of Asian and African mayors attending the the summit 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.

Holding the post of Bandung mayor since 2013, Emil has been considered by many as one of the most successful mayors in Indonesia.

He plans to build a world-class concert hall as well as a monorail network in Bandung in the next five year.

Also, the duration of the journey from Jakarta to Bandung is expected to drop from three hours to half an hour with the planned construction of a new railway network.

The economic growth rate of Bandung is 9 percent, and 55 percent of the contribution is from small- and middle-scale businesses.

In addition, some six million domestic and foreign tourists visit Bandung annually.

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 Indonesias third-largest city, Bandung has been facing typical urban problems such as traffic jams, slums, damaged roads, and piles of garbage.

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 masters degree in city planning, stated earlier.

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.