My Learning Experience at UCL
Cities are the drivers of a nation’s economy through its creation of opportunities for quality employment, agglomeration and spillovers to the surrounding rural areas. I got this revelation from exploring the cities of Indonesia for business development work. This inspired me to find ways to develop the cities itself to generate better business environments. So I chose to study Urban Economic Development (UED) for my masters at University College London (UCL). Looking back, I feel grateful to have learned from this one year. Not only from my course, but also from the entrepreneurship workshops and public lectures from UCL and other platforms in London.
The purpose of the UED program is to develop strategies to increase economic productivity within urban areas to then reduce poverty and inequality. It is part of the Bartlett Faculty of the Built Environment (same as the School of Architecture and Planning), under the Development Planning Unit (DPU). So it basically focuses on the economic development aspect of urban planning. I would say that most learning came from the essay writing and the research projects, whilst the classes were more for guidance.
My professor and course director, Le-Yin Zhang, is brilliant in this field. She teaches the core module called “Managing the City Economy”. Sitting in her class and working on the assignments were just eye-opening. She taught us how to put things into an analytical framework before formulating a strategy, which is a crucial skill for consultants. The fundamentals circled around poverty and inequality reduction, structural transformation and sustainable growth. She taught us how cities should focus on economic sectors with comparative advantage and build infrastructure to support its growth. She discussed methods for financing infrastructure, emphasizing the green financing trend for projects that reduce carbon emission.
La-Yin’s perspective is quite different compared to most DPU professors, who mainly focus on social justice. She argues that the creation of economic opportunities is more impactful than financial aid programs. Take China’s industrial policy and Brazil’s bolsa familia as an example. Although inequality is on the rise, the prior could skyrocket the GDP and alleviate millions out of poverty through better employment. The latter, on the other hand, could significantly reduce inequality yet there was no significant change in GDP because of the lack of economic opportunities. Le-Yin also highlighted the impact of urban regeneration projects, how it can increase a city’s productivity of strategic locations. Using London’s Kings Cross as a case, this transit area was known to be dodgy with several illegal activities. The city government was able to re-design the area into a hub for companies like Google and several tech startups. Although some may argue that this is a form of gentrification, the employment opportunities generated have attracted high-quality talent.
This module’s coursework provided way more learning than I expected. A double credit module, I was assigned two term papers. The first was on the service sector development in a city of my familiarity, which is Singapore (I wanted to do an Indonesian city but could not find sufficient data). By diving deep into the city’s beautifully designed economic reports and countless academic journals, I got to understand how Singapore could establish itself as the main regional hub Southeast Asia’s. This includes global business services, transport and logistics, and transit tourism. The most interesting part is how the government involves the private sector in planning, as it is crucial to support their needs for the city to strive.
My second assignment was to create a development strategy for a city of choice. Having an emotional attachment from my childhood, I chose Chicago. There is so much material to explore on the “City that Works”. I learned that the heart of the Midwest could transform the economic structure from manufacturing heavy to service oriented. This is due to the city government’s efforts in creating a suitable environment for global firms such as Boeing to set up their corporate headquarters. Establishing itself as an entrepreneurial city, the government applied public-private-partnerships (PPPs) and foreign direct investment (FDI) on specific infrastructure projects and took risks through its speculative nature. However, this led to a high increase in unemployment (during the 1980s) and inequality in terms of skill and capacity from former factory workers. The impact is evident until today, especially in the south side. To overcome this, the city is building small-scale manufacturing hubs for startups since the GDP contribution of this sector is still significant. These hubs are equipped with R&D and training facilities. Taking a case practice in Munich, I suggested the city to facilitate a network between the startups and large corporations. Startups provide useful innovation while large corporations have the financial capacity to invest.
Other modules also provided essential learning that came to use during my post-UCL life. A brilliant professor from LSE, Marco Gianni, taught Public Economics and Policy that proved fundamental for the course. This is followed by a class in Cost-Benefit Analysis that turned out to be the most applicable for my consulting work. I learned how to set a monetary value on the economic and social impact of a project to assess its feasibility. I took an optional module on housing development from Professor Jorge Fiori. His lectures emphasized on the phrase of housing as a verb, criticizing current policies that focus on quantity and existence rather than livability. He encourages the argument on the effectiveness between mass public housing and slum upgrading. This also helped me with my consulting work and activity in a Jakarta based think tank called the HUD Institute that focuses on affordable housing. The other module was called Urbanisation and Development, which discusses the rural-urban linkages. I did an interesting essay on how the digital economy is transforming the dynamic of this aspect, creating more connectivity between the two areas.
I will talk about the other core module, Practice in Urban Economic Development, in the next section. This is a special module because I got to do research work for the Greater London Authority and the City of Tarapoto, Peru. The first project led me to write a paper for the UK Parliament that was published by the committee.
The Research Projects
The London Project
|Acting as consultants for the Greater London Authority|
This was my favorite part of the course: working with the Greater London Authority (GLA) to help find solutions for its current issues. The professor in charge was Dr Margarethe Theseira, who had substantial experience at the GLA. One of the main problems facing the city is housing supply. The current shortage and high market price makes it almost impossible for the young generation to own a home. Therefore, the housing department is seeking to increase provision through suburban intensification. This practice is utilizing excess of suburban land to build more homes, get closer to the demand and lower the market price. The task was to explore good case practices overseas that London could learn from. My group and I had a discussion session at City Hall with the main personnel. It was really fun dressing up and feeling like a consultant for one of the world’s greatest cities!
There were seven of us in the group: Helene from France; Selin from Turkey; Rui, Zoe, Rong and Shike from China; and myself from Indonesia. While constructing our framework, we came upon the concept of good density and compact cities. This is a sustainable development approach that optimizes existing land instead of widening the urban areas to maintain proximity and green space. The main factors are having a mixed-used landscape (integrating housing with local businesses and workplace), affordable, connected through proper transport infrastructure, liveable and attractive, sustainable and well-planned. It is proven in other countries that the compact city model and good density can decrease traffic congestion, boost employee productivity and provide quality living for lower-middle income groups. We learn that London sets regulations to protect the green belt (surrounding forest land) and new housing projects must be within a 15 minute walk to public transit nodes. The main challenges for London are unifying borough level planning policies and collaborating with suburbs residents. To gain a better picture, we took a small “field trip” to the suburbs South Croydon (which is part of GLA’s intensification plan). There were indeed plenty of underused backyards that could fit extra houses. Doing this observation was pretty fun since you get to imagine the project taking place.
After covering the framework and aligning with the GLA’s plan, we each came up with a case. First was in France, a national program that is similar to London’s proposition. Unlike London, the suburbs of Paris are in separate local governments. Therefore the state government created an incentive-based program for residents to build new homes in their backyards. Second is in Ontario, a provincial-led program that encourages residents to divide a singular house for multiple families. Third is Oslo, my case, where it is mandatory for boroughs to map brownfield land for medium-rise apartments. Private developers were the main drivers for this project, the municipal government utilized this by having them finance the required transport infrastructure. I reached out to several practitioners through LinkedIn and was lucky to receive validation and further insight from an Oslo-based urban planning consultant. The fourth case is Johannesburg, a housing project that targeted certain communities by providing special facilities. For this case, it is the Musim community. Fifth case is Sydney, where residents realized the practicality of medium to high rise buildings hence supported the state-led urban transformation project. Public transportation was increased to accommodate this new density. The sixth case is Seoul, a compact and high-density new town that integrates residential buildings with office and shopping centers. The last case is Shanghai, a spatial transformation project where the government sponsored the construction of medium-rise discounted apartments around manufacturing centers in state-owned land. Companies were given tax incentives to relocate to these new residential areas to provide employment opportunities for residents.
The project was concluded with a final presentation to our partners. Helene started the session by explaining our framework while I continued with the case studies. I pointed out the uniqueness of each case and learning points for London. The GLA was impressed with our new insights, especially Oslo and Johannesburg. I felt really happy to be able to present eloquently, realizing it is simple once you put your mind to it.
The submission to the UK Parliament
After the London Project, Eli (our Graduate Teaching Assistant) shared an opportunity to submit a written evidence on Land Value Capture (LVC). There was no extra credit but it was a great way to put knowledge into practice. So I took my extra hours doing desktop research at the campus library. Doing this turned out to be really exciting! I learned that LVC is a financial instrument that utilizes the future increase of land values to fund the transport infrastructure project that will generate it. There are two main forms of it: tax-based and development-based. The former imposes an additional fiscal charge to transport project beneficiaries (businesses and residents) while the latter generates funding from private developers that need the transport project to promote their estate. Using a similar method to the London project, I studied the current issue for the UK (which is private land ownership) and researched cases in Australia, the US and China to provide learning points. I realized this is an innovative way to fund transportation projects and could also be a solution for Jakarta and other metropolitans in Indonesia.
After finally finishing the paper and submitting minutes before the deadline, I received an email the next week. It was from the committee saying that they were pleased to publish my work in the Parliaments records, along with papers from firms like Deloitte. I notified Eli about this who excitedly passed it on to Le-Yin. She responded with much pride and asked the DPU to make an announcement on the department website and social media. Several of my classmates were giving compliments and congrats. I shared this with my Dad, an academic in urban design, who forwarded it to my large family Whatsapp group. My uncles, also academics in the build environment, responded positively and shared it with the HUD Institute group which was received with praise. This was all unexpected for me, all I could feel was gratitude and humility.
The Peru Field Trip
|The woman chocolatier collective|
I feel absolutely grateful to have had the opportunity of doing research in Latin America, a rare experience considering the distance between Peru and Indonesia. It was amazing to experience the unique Peruvian culture. People there are really communal, open to newcomers and love to express themselves. I had four free days before the project, which I used to learn the country’s rich history by visiting Cusco and Machu Picchu! It was amazing to witness the true genius of the Incans, their ability to create strong structures and cultivate new types of crop (especially potatoes) on mountainous terrains with few resources. It is also interesting to see the influence from the Spanish Empire, like the integration of colonial and indigenous architecture. The last free day was spent in Lima, where I could see the modern side of Peru overlooking the Pacific.
Tarapoto is located near the Amazonian jungle with a population of around 180,000. Its main industry is cacao, which has been a saviour from the city’s dark history of producing coca leaves for the Cartel. Moto-taxis are the main means of public transport and part of the city’s character. Like Cusco and Lima, the town square or Plaza de Armas is the heart of the city surrounded by local culinary businesses. The project partners all had unique back stories. The lead was Maite, a Belgian woman that dedicated her life to help developing cities. Next is David, a young Frenchman with a Phd in Mathematics that left Paris to find home in Tarapoto and now working as a tourism consultant. There was Senor Pinero, a local that left his high-paying corporate job in Lima to build his late father’s pink river salt business.
My group’s task was to seek opportunities to promote entrepreneurship. This time I was in the same group with my fellow Indonesian classmate, Riri, along with Yanwei, Dunwei, Jessie, and again with Shike and Rui from China. Naji Makarem, our co-course director, guided us to focus on how to shift the mindset of small business owners from survival to innovative. I learned later in my career that this is one of the current focuses of the World Bank. Our analytical framework circled around started with dimensions of growing entrepreneurship: access to finance, access to knowledge, labour/talent, entrepreneurial culture, market environment and regulatory framework. From here, we identified the main stakeholders to be the government, private sector, knowledge institutions, civil society & NGOs and the entrepreneurs themselves. We interviewed people of each stakeholder, who were all open to share their thoughts and opinions as Latin American are known for their love of talking.
We discovered many unique small businesses during our research, mostly in the culinary sector. There was an organic ice cream shop seeking to build a franchise, a chocolatier that received support from a US-based NGO, a woman community of cacao producers, a young woman producing artisanal soaps after spending time in Florida, and of course Senor Pinero who supplies to Lima’s world famous restaurant Central. The most common barrier for all of these entrepreneurs is access to finance. The current interest rates and requirements made it extremely difficult to apply for a loan to grow their business. The regional government could not provide solutions since the bank is controlled by the private sector and the cash reserves are low. There is no consumption tax in Peru hence people are less likely to allocate their income for savings. Getting support from the state government has not been successful due to the complex bureaucracy.
After gathering data, we came up with some ideas to help solve this issue. First was for the community to use crowdfunding as an alternative financing tool for SMEs and also promote their local products at a global scale. The community group will serve as a bank and manage the fund allocations to businesses in need. Second is for the chamber of commerce to include SMEs in programs to help with export facilitation and access to investors. We also suggested the opportunity to start private equity or venture capital paired with technical assistance to support SME development. Third is for knowledge institutions to provide special programs to inspire and train future entrepreneurs, which is currently absent due to the lack of interest from the young generation. Last is for the local government to form a dedicated task force to promote entrepreneurship, as there is no public sector entity focusing on this subject. In the long run, the economic growth generated from the development of these SMEs will pressure the state government to build necessary infrastructure for increasing Tarapoto’s accessibility. I presented these ideas to the local university, receiving great enthusiasm especially for the first idea as community financing and crowdfunding is a new term for them.
|Presenting at the University of San Martin|
The Windsor Workshop
Every year the DPU brings its students to the elegant 17th century Cumberland Lodge in Windsor to do a simulation in urban planning. The case was an urban renewal project in Medellin, Colombia where an area of informal car repair shops is to be replaced by high-rise apartments. Each student gets sorted into a stakeholder group: government, private developer, academia & NGO and civil society. Being in the last group, I played the role of a shop owner reluctant to give up his settlement due to the convenient location and personal attachment.
At first I was just having fun but then learned how complex these situations are in real life. The renewal project actually had tangible economic benefits for the city, however the car repair businesses have been supporting the current resident’s livelihood for decades. The government’s planned to relocate these shops in an area far from its customers. The private developer did not have enough resources to fully compensate the residents. The solution we came up with is to integrate the local car repair businesses with the renewal project, giving the owners a better business environment. However, this requires a temporary relocation for a 2-year period or until end of construction. The residents would receive decent compensation and a guarantee of certainty. This of course would not be that simple as I have faced real similar situations after returning to Indonesia.
Outside the course
The Entrepreneurship Workshops
Having great passion for new groundbreaking businesses, I joined two 10-session entrepreneurship workshops from UCL Innovation and Enterprise (an incubator for student and graduate entrepreneurs). It’s located in a beautiful building by the canals near Kings Cross. The first workshop was “Explore”,where participants were to come up with a new business idea that can solve a common problem of the public. At the end of the workshop, participants would then pitch their ideas to a panel of judges and the winners would receive seed money of GBP 500. On the first session, we were put in groups and given a random object to transform into a new business idea. My group’s object was quite tough: a laminated paper with black and white stripes. At first I felt totally blank, like what can you do with this thing? Then a girl said, “How about we patent it as a pattern for special events?” That’s when it hit me. I added to her idea, “Since the LGBTQ community has their rainbow flag, why not use this pattern to promote racial equality?” Having said that, I was chosen to present our idea to the floor. My main pitch line was, “this is to promote peace in certain countries dealing with racial equality.” Although its necessity ended up questionable, it was cool how we could join our brains and come up with a new idea from such a random object.
The “Explore” workshop taught me how to identify daily life problems and discover a business idea to help solve it. These ideas were to be as creative as possible. After initial discovery, I learned how to validate my idea by asking the right research questions to a targeted segment. This will then help formulate a Lean Business Model as promoted by Eric Ries. At the end of the workshop, I learned how to do an elevator pitch to a panel of investors.
My initial idea was to build a smart city platform for Indonesian local governments to identify infrastructural needs. After a few sessions, I realized exploring this idea would require connections I did not yet have. Therefore, I decided to focus on a different problem I’ve experienced: settling in a new city. This discovery came from the time Aldy and I had trouble finding the right barber in our neighborhood. I also remember struggling to find local favorite eateries on my own during business travels in Indonesia. So I pivoted my business idea to an app that helps newcomers find their go-to take-out places, laundromat, barbers, etc to then save time and money. I imagined a technology that uses sensors to see the density and visitor frequency of each shop. I also suggested a custom feature to find goods to cure homesickness. Using surveymonkey, I could validate that the majority of 100 respondents had trouble settling in a new city. At pitch day, the final session of the workshop, I presented my findings and business model to a panel of judges (who were all Asian student entrepreneurs and had similar experiences). They were interested in the technology but one of the judges questioned my revenue model. He suggested using advertising instead of my proposed data mining. Unfortunately, I had bias that advertising might jeopardize integrity and did not think of different forms of it. So I did not win GBP 500, but gained valuable experience. Coincidentally after “Explore”, I found a “local favorite” feature on Google Maps which made me think either I was overlooking it the whole time or Google was listening to my conversations (probably just the former).
The second workshop is called “Build”, where participants were to develop a minimum viable product (MVP) for their business idea and winners at pitch day would receive a seed money of GBP 3000. I decided to change my idea for something I cared more about: Indonesian food. It is a personal pain for me that my country’s food is not as globally recognised as the Thai and Vietnamese. So I designed an Indonesian lunch box subscription business for people interested in the diverse cuisine. The chefs would be skilled Indonesian students or their spouses seeking additional income. This idea was partially inspired by a current business that I saw at one of the incubator’s networking events, which was a Korean snack box subscription. I got to meet the founder at one of the sessions, who started with a simple landing page asking for inquiries. I learned for her that lunch boxes are more challenging because they require perishable products. The facilitators also organized one-on-one sessions with experienced entrepreneurs to provide consultation. I got someone that designed some smart technology for prisons. As much as he was interested in my ideas, he advised me to consider the UK’s health regulations as inspection is tight for culinary businesses. Since this research required more time and I didn’t get to invest in supplies to launch an MVP, I decided to team up with my fellow Indonesian friend Makhyan. He already had an MVP for an oversea shopping service but was not able to register for “Build”. I helped him pitch his idea to a panel of judges, this time more experienced entrepreneurs like the founder of Gumtree. Unfortunately we did not win again as competition was much more tight this time. I am still grateful to have learned a lot on building a business.
The thing I miss most about the workshops are the after-sessions. Participants would get to know each other and share their ideas over snacks and drinks. There were many brilliant and creative ideas. A Phd student had an idea for an app that helps people organize their fridge inventory, which could then gather data on food consumption patterns. Another was developing an app for people to share extra ingredients in their spice cabinet that would help avoid food waste (I called it “borrowing sugar 2.0”). One of the “Build” winners is making a VR learning model for children to increase their engagement. The wildest yet brilliantly creative one for me is from an engineering student: a pair of sneakers/trainers with neon lighting that could be controlled to change color to match your outfit.
UCL Innovation and Enterprise also collaborates with the entrepreneurship challenge from the Mayor of London. One of the past winners was an architecture student of the Bartlett who discovered coffee waste could be transformed to biofuel. Entrepreneurship is strongly promoted in the UK, the government even provides tax incentives for investing in startups because of the economic benefits of innovation. I joined one of the workshops at City Hall that was facilitated by the incubator’s director. He gave us a group task to find a solution to reduce waste from ecommerce deliveries. People started to think of ways of recycling or minimize the use. I suddenly came up with an idea and said,”If cardboard boxes are the issue, why not eliminate them entirely and replace them with reusable metal boxes?” A British guy of South Asian heritage immediately got excited and repeatedly said it’s such a brilliant idea. He then made an amazing pitch for it and talked with high conviction. Between the two of us, the group decided to choose the guy to present due to his communication skills. Although it was my idea, I appreciate his enthusiasm and learned from his presenting methods. I soon learned from my flatmates that this model is being applied for online grocery, who did not appreciate the awkwardness from watching the delivery guy taking out each item.
The Public Lectures
|Event by the Future City Catapult|
Facebook became so much more useful in London as it made me discover so many events. The first one I went to was on smart cities from Future Cities Catapult at London’s Urban Innovation Centre. The speakers were a representative of Liverpool’s city government and a collaborating startup. I learned that this startup is helping the city improve its transport system and pedestrian zones. This is done by placing sensors on lamp posts that capture mobile signals to then gather density data for transport planning. Besides Liverpool, this has been doing well in Sao Paulo. Ever since then I became a regular at Catapult’s events that gave more new smart city technology. I learned about new technologies that gather real time data on air quality and tools to reduce carbon emission. I found out about UCL’s Space Syntax that uses satellite technology that transforms urban planning. I learned how augmented reality paired with neuroscience can help us analyze citizens’ reactions to new development projects. I learned how Alibaba Cloud is using Internet of Things (IoT) to transforming waste management by using AI to sort types of rubbish.
Another memorable event I attended with my Italian classmate Alice was from a royal economic think tank (forgot the exact name). In collaboration with the Bank of England, they were promoting an idea of a public information centre for people to gain a better understanding of economic policies. This is in response to the 2016 referendum that escalated quickly. The public sector would also be open to suggestions from the people for improving the current system. I believe this is a brilliant idea, but some people in the audience differed. A person from Cambridge (either the University or just the city) made a comment, “You’re saying the crisis is happening because the people don’t understand economics, well I say it’s you that don’t understand economics!” The speakers just laughed it out.
LSE also hosted a series of interesting lectures in economics and cities. I joined an interesting lecture from world renown economist Linda Yueh on how the ideas of great economists like Keynes and Smith could help current topics such as assessing China’s growth model. I attended a number of events from LSE Cities, the most interesting for me was about the formation of the Greater London Authority. Merging the City of London with its surrounding peripheral towns could significantly increase effectiveness in planning and investment policies. This gave me thoughts for applying the same for Jakarta as the different legislations have been an ongoing barrier.
|Lecture from Maria Mazucutto|
UCL itself hosts countless great events. There was one with Baron Deighton, Chairman of 2012 Olympics and now the Economist Group. He highlighted the important why of a project, which for the Olympics was to rebuild East London. The next memorable lecture was on Rethinking Infrastructure, from a chairman at KPMG. He encouraged us to consider future aspects in infrastructure planning, such as the increasing trend of working-from-home (he may have predicted the pandemic!) that could change the peak hours of train transport. I asked him about Indonesia’s investment plans in Papua during the networking session and he simply replied, “Where’s the money?” I also liked one from public economics expert Maria Mazucutto, who took the case of Silicon Valley and Raleigh NC to point out how the private sector’s innovation is also driven by supporting policies of the public sector. The DPU also organizes evening lectures, the most interesting was from an organizer of Thailand’s CODI. This is a public institution that provides funding and loans to community groups that are in charge of developing their slums. These funds enable dwellers to purchase the land and renovate their homes.
Being intrigued from the UK Parliament submission, I chose to do further research on Land Value Capture (LVC). Seeing it is being applied in London, I wanted to know what lessons it could give to Jakarta for funding the MRT and LRT projects. Margarethe was my supervisor and she connected me with key stakeholders for interviews.
The first was Transport for London (TfL), the local government body in charge of all the over-and underground railways, buses, and trams. Their office is in a splendid centuries old building in Central London, with antique lifts and furniture that run smoothly. I got to have a quality discussion with the corporate finance manager on London’s current LVC practices and future plans. This helped me learn more about the Business Rate Supplement (BRS) and use of direct contribution and tax incremental financing (TIF) for financing the northern line extension (NLE). The BRS is a tax-based LVC charged to businesses that benefit from the new railway project, Crossrail, through increased access and employee productivity. The NLE is financed with a mixture of development and tax-based, where the developers covered the initial costs to make their location accessible to the public. This location is Battersea, known for the signature power station that will be transformed into the new headquarters for Apple UK. Since the area was underdeveloped, the project could be continuously financed by increased incremental tax values. TfL is also seeking to adapt a practice from Hong Kong that captures value uplifts in residential land. This is quite complex since such land is privately owned. Efforts are being made to encourage landowners to take the economic opportunity in auctioning their property or developing it themselves.
My second interviewee was a senior economist from the GLA. His department designed the WEBTag, short for Wider Economic Benefit - Transport Analysis Guidance, which is the foundation for LVC. It originated from the discovered impact from the Jubilee line extension to the success of Canary Wharf financial centre and regeneration of east London. GLA Economics identified wider economic benefits from transport infrastructure besides farebox revenue and advertising. These benefits include investment opportunities around transport nodes, increased access to quality labour, and knowledge spillovers from economic agglomeration. The third interview was with London First, an organization that connects the public sector with private businesses. They played a crucial role in collecting aspirations and concerns from businesses on the LVC schemes. I learned about the importance of having an effective communication platform between the two sectors in order to apply LVC schemes.
Having finished interviewing London stakeholders, I reached out to those in Jakarta from my personal network. This included an ITB professor, Bappenas (National Development Planning Board), BPTJ (Managing Board for Transportation in Greater Jakarta) and a private enterprise. I learned that there are plans for LVC through transit-oriented development (TOD), however, there are so many stakeholders doing their own initiative. Unlike London, each transport system is managed by a separate state-owned enterprise that creates challenges in integration. There is no dedicated fiscal revenue stream for funding transport infrastructure, questioning current budget allocation. The private sector is not involved in this development, despite their important role. Most importantly, the LVC schemes were designed during the project construction phase after realizing the limitations in the government budget. This is causing issues with land acquisition.
Learning from the practices in London, I made some recommendations for Jakarta to properly implement LVC for funding the MRT and LRT. First was to build a strong foundation. This includes an economic analysis guideline equivalent to WEBTag in order to capture land value uplifts. Besides that, the BPTJ could be given a stronger role like TfL for effective coordination. LVC schemes must be designed during the planning phase to avoid implementation barriers. The second step is to improve current schemes and develop new ones. Formulating a betterment charge like BRS without any fiscal reforms could be considered, perhaps starting with something voluntary. Collaboration with the private sector is necessary for applying development-based schemes through TOD. Lastly, a communication platform between stakeholders is needed for smooth implementation.
Two words describe my overall feeling during my year at UCL: genuine happiness. It is the joy from being in the current state that makes it genuine, instead of personal accomplishments. The joy from discussing new progressive ideas. The joy of being surrounded with smart, respectful, and optimistic people. The joy of changing your worldview. The joy from understanding and adopting new cultures. The joy from realizing how much you can learn in a short period. Every class, event, and discussion session left a warm feeling in my heart.
Several questions come to mind after returning to Indonesia. What is the best way to attract promising businesses and quality talent outside Greater Jakarta? How to change the mindset of current stakeholders in making holistic city development strategies? How to change the bureaucratic structure to effectively apply LVC in Jakarta?
I also just thought of a new question for the world: Seeing that people can stay productive working from home during this “new normal”, how would this impact of the COVID-19 change our approach in urban economics? How can we recover from the lost of income and employment, especially for the informal sector?