Jakarta, Indonesia’s largest city with a population of over 10 million in the central city, and over 30 million in the metropolitan region, is a delta city that has constantly been at risk of flooding. Bounded by the Java sea to the North and the Puncak highlands to the south, 40 percent of Jakarta currently lies below sea level1, leaving it vulnerable to coastal flooding. In 2007, seawater crashed over the sea wall in northern Jakarta which, added to the flooding from heavy rains, caused nearly 60 per cent of the city to be inundated and an estimated 340,000 people were made homeless.
The government responses to coastal flooding in Jakarta have historically been dominated by top- down approaches with little public participation, particularly with regards to land acquisition and environmental management which affected low-income families the most. Their ability to cope is thereby reduced and the efforts themselves are left without relevant input on how to manage coastal flooding, thus reducing their legitimacy and effectiveness. Despite democratization and decentralization measures that began after 1999, little progress in inclusive government or community empowerment has been achieved in Jakarta’s neighborhoods.
Based on the background we can see that low-income communities are the most affected by coastal flooding, and coastal flooding policies. It is also clear that they have few opportunities to voice their concerns and suggestions regarding coastal flooding governance. This is mainly due to their lack of political influence and a weak system for community participation in the decision-making process. Our objective is therefore to increase community participation in coastal flooding management decision-making.
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