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Building the layers to battle climate change in Makassar

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May 2022

Before 2021 ended, heavy rains pummeled the city of Makassar in Indonesia. Rubber boats were brought out amidst the flooding to rescue residents. In one headline, more than 3,000 people were affected in six sub-districts. Public kitchens and health posts were set up. But this occurrence is no longer a rarity in the coastal city. Climate change and its impacts are a clear and present danger, one that the city government recognizes and aims to address.


The ASEAN Australia Smart Cities Trust Fund (AASCTF), similarly, considers climate change as one of the most pressing challenges cities face. This is why it is one of the three crosscutting themes of the program, guiding every aspect of the AASCTF’s work.


In February, AASCTF engaged the services of the Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation (CSIRO) of Australia, also known as its national science agency, to develop a digital climate risk resilience platform for Makassar. This would be an integral piece to the Makassar Livable City Plan being developed by Ramboll, the Fund’s consulting and implementing partner, together with the government, as it would provide the necessary data and scenarios that show how citizens, infrastructure, or other sectors and areas of the city could be affected given changes in temperature, sea level rise, and other factors. The platform can help inform decision-makers in terms of urban planning and future proofing, especially as the city government strategizes its long-term development plans and services.

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The INDRA Makassar platform shows the southern areas of the city to be densely populated by 2040, and how these areas could be severely affected by sea level rise of 0.8 meter. Photo: CSIRO

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Hospital locations layer displayed with the inundation layer for a sea level rise scenario of 0.5 meter, with the Rumah Sakit Umum Wisata UIT hospital flooded by a depth of 0.3 meter. Photo: CSIRO 

CSIRO, specifically its Data61 unit, designed the INDRA Makassar platform based on their original INDRA tool. Using datasets from the core framework, such as layers on historical and future climate predictions for the region, they incorporated it with custom datasets from the University of Hasanuddin, Ramboll, and other sources. These external layers consist of the digital elevation model of Indonesia, land use data, population and population change data, infrastructure layers, housing demand, and others. Together, the INDRA Makassar platform presents the typically complicated datasets in a simple interface that enables users to easily combine layers, analyze impacts, and download data all in a few clicks.

“Rather than keeping climate information to a few people, this significantly opens up to a larger audience and for different purposes,” said Mahesh Prakash, Senior Principal Research Scientist at CSIRO Data61, during the virtual demonstration to local stakeholders in June, which was also attended by city government officials from Baguio in the Philippines, another AASCTF pilot city. The platform can clearly arm Makassar – and other cities – against future risks, protecting citizens, strengthening services, and ensuring livability.


  • Elga Reyes, AASCTF
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