Cities around the world are growing at unprecedented rates. Jakarta, the capital of Indonesia and one of the largest cities in South East Asia, has topped 10 million, is now a global city, along with that urban growth has been a growth in the economy. While Urbanization yields many positive benefits, it can also result in negative impacts such an high inequalities, growing land disputes and lack of access to basic services. Another problem found in many rapidly urbanizing areas is lack of access to affordable housing for urban citizens. In Jakarta supply issues and because many urban residents do not have access to financing options result in many residents building structures- usually temporary- themselves. While the government has put in place a number of economic incentives and regulations, the availability of affordable housing is still very low. The World Bank estimates that approx. 1 million housing units will need to become available each year between now and 2030 to meet the demand for housing in Jakarta alone. Last week, a gathering of community organizations, developers, local government agencies and lending institutions came together at a World Bank and a Ministry of Public Works and Housing event in Jakarta, with one question that was discussed “ How can technology change Indonesia’s housing ecosystem?

The discussion and the technologies show-cased were uplifting and provided inspiration for stakeholders in other rapidly urbanizing countries. One of the solutions show-cased addressed the of suitability and location of affordable housing- by using geospatial tools to help agencies find suitable land for new and upgraded affordable housing development. Another tool uses block-chain technology to streamline the process of land titling, and reduce errors and corruption in the process.

While each solution tackles a different piece of the affordable housing challenge, they all had one thing in common- they were all started or staffed with young Indonesians, possessing the kind of technology skills and business mind sets that can not only help growth Indonesia’s economy but will ensure that there is a robust social enterprise sector to tackle the country’s economic and social challenges.