Urban Water

Developing resilient cities in the era of mass urbanisation

Urban populations are rising and in 2014 54% of the world’s population were living in cities, with a disproportionate increase in developing countries facing increasing urban poverty and inequality.

With ever-increasing population shifts towards urban environments, it is crucial to make cities sustainable. Over the last five years, each of Indonesia’s 11 largest cities increased by around 300,000 people – a rural-to-urban shift which could soon approach Australia’s 85% urban populace.

Cities and their communities are complex and dynamic systems that constantly evolve under burden of population, climatic, and societal change. While Australian cities are still to solve problems related to densification and climate change, rapidly growing cities in Indonesia are under economic and environmental pressure to develop, amongst a range of other social services, effective water, transport, and energy systems.

Resilience case study: Water

To deliver an agenda of resilient cities, the Urban Water cluster will demonstrate how one of its key challenges can be addressed in an integrated and holistic way by focusing on water management.

Solutions to the urban water challenges will provide a significant exemplar, since there are many dimensions to sustainable urban water management in transforming urban centres into resilient and liveable societies, ranging from technological solutions, to urban planning and design, to community engagement and building the social and institutional capital for achieving these goals.

Both Indonesian and Australian cities are struggling with their water challenges: Australia had 14 years of drought interspersed with significant flood events and heat waves that presented significant community and management challenges; rapidly growing Indonesian cities are in grave need to quickly deliver more basic urban water services as more than 70 per cent of the country’s population relies on water obtained from potentially contaminated sources.

Developing leapfrogging pathways towards water sensitive cities

While Australian cities are on their (rather slow) path to transform to water sensitive futures, the possibility exists in developing Indonesian cities to leapfrog certain traditional stages in building core urban water infrastructure.

For example, rather than investing in a massive centralized sewerage system, it may be more practical in some areas to implement decentralized, efficient and cost-effective treatment and recycling systems at the neighborhood scale, leading to an accelerated development pathway towards the water sensitive city. In this way developing Indonesian cities would avoid repeating the mistakes that westernised cities made through being technologically and institutionally locked-into less resilient and sustainable water management solutions.

The aim of this integrated cluster is to support the leapfrogging of Indonesian and Australian cities towards more sustainable, resilient and liveable conditions through the mutual learning and rapid uptake of context-specific water practices.

Urban Water Strategic research project aims to:

  • Assess the water sensitivity of Indonesian cities and the social and institutional structures and processes which will create
    enabling conditions to leapfrog technology adoption.
  • Advance bio-filtration water treatment processes to enable efficient wastewater recycling and stormwater harvesting in
    urban agriculture.
  • Guide and catalyse water-sensitive futures for Indonesian cities.
  • Create active learning alliances between universities, government, industry, and community within and between Indonesia
    and Australia.

Brochure

Cluster Leadership

Professor Rebekah Brown

Professor Rebekah Brown

Director, Monash Sustainable Development Institute

Monash University

Professor Hadi Susilo Arifin

Professor Hadi Susilo Arifin

Division Head, Landscape Management

Institut Pertanian Bogor

Professor Diego Ramirez-Lovering

Professor Diego Ramirez-Lovering

Deputy Dean, Monash Art Design & Architecture

Monash University

Dr Dwita Sutjiningsih

Dr Dwita Sutjiningsih

Associate Professor, Department of Civil Engineering

Universitas Indonesia

Dr Briony Rogers

Dr Briony Rogers

Co-Lead, Urban Water Cluster, Faculty of Arts

Monash University

Dr Jane Holden

Dr Jane Holden

Urban Water Cluster Coordinator

The Australia-Indonesia Centre

Dr Dwi Yuliantoro

Dr Dwi Yuliantoro

Urban Water Cluster Liaison

Institut Pertanian Bogor

Louise Maryonoputri

Louise Maryonoputri

Urban Water Cluster Liaison

Universitas Indonesia

Small Project

Strategic Research Project

Tactical Research Projects