Indonesia’s president, Joko Widodo, announced on Monday a plan to relocate the country’s capital city from Jakarta to the island of Borneo. Jakarta is a bustling megacity home to more than 30 million people, as well as Indonesia’s government and financial centers. The city, however, was built on coastal marshland, and parts have been steadily sinking into the Java Sea at a rate of more than two inches per year. Jakarta’s precarious location makes it particularly vulnerable to the effects of climate change. To address this reality, Widodo has called for all political figures and government workers to relocate to government land on Borneo, which is located in the country’s geographic center.
The move will require construction of a new presidential residence, government buildings, housing for government workers, as well as new infrastructure such as highways. In total, the project will cost an estimated $33 billion. “The burden Jakarta is holding right now is too heavy,” Widodo said in a televised speech. While the country’s political life will move, it is unclear if the government will also retrofit Jakarta for the millions of citizens who cannot relocate.