Surabaya’s urban green space strategy reducing city temperatures

As part of Indonesia’s second largest cities’ (10 million Greater metropolitan residents) green city initiatives the mayor of Surabaya has prioritised reducing the cities’ temperatures 

Since Surabaya is close to the equator and at sea level it experiences high average temperatures which when influenced by the urban heat island effect result in even more uncomfortable temperatures.

Surabaya has for over 10 years worked to increase its urban green space through initiatives such as its ‘Clean and Green initiative’ that increased the % of green space in the city through a community based greening competition between 2006-7 that incentives’ communities to green their streets and reduce waste.

More recently the cities’ Mayor Tri Rismaharini has prioritised increasing the livability of Surabaya and converting disused land to urban green space; and increasing green space generally in the city to help reduce average city temperatures. Research has highlighted how the following elements played a big part in this process:

  • Re-evaluating land use in the city to encourage conversion of disused land to green space;
  • Promoting planting programmes for urban villages by communities themselves;
  • Ensuring that stakeholders were engaged through planning the project delivery;
  • Linking urban green space and parks as active spaces and that the public can utilise such as mobile libraries and digital parks;
  • Attracting private investment from businesses to assist with paying for the development of new urban green space;
  • Strong leadership from the Mayor and government offices was essential.

The impact of these various urban green space programmes over the past 15 years in Surabaya has resulted in an increase in the percentage of urban green spaces in the city – with over 100 locations and now 11 large parks; increases in the the number of people using the parks and also a reduction in city temperatures:

  • Studies in 2016 have shown that the prevalence of open green space in Surabaya reduces temperatures between 2.5 degrees C – 3.15 degrees C.
  • Whilst in 2018 the Mayor of Surabaya reported that the initiatives to increase public green space has reduced average temperatures by 2 degrees C.

In summary – Surabaya’s greening initiatives show how strategies targeted at increasing urban green space can also have impacts on reducing urban temperatures.