An Urban Innovator: Ridwan Kamil

Ridwan Kamil was one of the top architects in Indonesia, responsible for a tsunami memorial museum at home and projects across the Middle East and China. Last year, he gave it all up to run for mayor of his home town of Bandung, the third-largest city in Indonesia with a population of 2.6 million. He campaigned using social media, winning the race against seven other candidates. He promised to turn Bandung in to a more livable city.

He is now turning his innovative spirit to solve the problems of Bandung, starting with health. He hopes to build a new hospital, double the number of local clinics and increase the uptake of family planning.

I was privileged to be hosted at a dinner by Mayor Ridwan during a visit to Bandung with the Tahir Foundation and the Global Fund for AIDS, TB and Malaria. We were in Bandung to visit Dr. Hasan Sadikin Hospital, a busy city hospital with multiple TB clinics to treat people and prevent further spread of this deadly disease. A new partnership between the Tahir and Gates Foundations and the Global Fund will ensure Indonesia’s hospitals have the funding to carry this work forward.

During the dinner, I was impressed by the mayor’s innovative approach to problem-solving for his city. Even before he was elected mayor, he was honored by several global awards for his work to improve Indonesia’s cities by establishing urban gardens which provide food and a sense of community.

Not surprisingly, New York’s Mayor Michael Bloomberg is his role model.

He is now turning his innovative spirit to solve the problems of Bandung, starting with health. He hopes to build a new hospital, double the number of puskesmas (local clinics) and increase the uptake of family planning. He’s impatient with the pace of change, and is planning to build a war room to ensure he has up-to-the minute data on city services and statistics. Not surprisingly, New York’s Mayor Michael Bloomberg is his role model.

It was an honor to meet Mayor Ridwan and I look forward to cheering him on from afar in reaching his ambitious goals for the city and people of Bandung.

Originally posted by Gabrielle Fitzgerald on Impatient Optimists