A blessing or a curse? Transforming oil cities to innovative green urban economy. A comparative study between two Indonesian cities and Stavanger

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Abstract Summary
Oil is a blessing for cities that are economically empowered by the petroleum-related industry. Until the peak phase of the business, the oil industry contributes to creating numerous jobs for the population, and the local societies obtain “brain gain” of incoming talents that fulfill the high supply of oil jobs. Evidence indicates that oil cities are relatively flexible to maneuver their financial resources in bringing programs and activities that could improve urban livability and attractiveness. By contrast, oil is a curse that triggers a lack of innovation. The transformation from oil-based to low-carbon urban economy and climate mitigation scenarios is often translated as a trade-off between investing in climate mitigation agendas and “potential loss” for shifting the focus on petroleum activities, thus it comes as no surprise that oil cities have tended to adopt a reluctant stance on climate mitigation and low-carbon urban economy. Oil and other resource-based cities in the world are challenged to look beyond their traditional economy pattern. There is an urgent need for development strategies that should ensure the process of change that leads to a new urban economy that is driven by green and innovative solutions. In fact, oil cities have several advantages in terms of capital, human resources, and infrastructure. Using the accumulation of their experience, competence, and resource, oil cities should be possible to extend a new horizon of the urban economy beyond the oil sector. In order to achieve this goal, oil cities need to 1) define key factors to ensure the transformations, 2) redesign partnership approaches across key players to support the process of change towards transformations, 3) to understand opposition that may against such transformations, and 4) to seek new knowledge and create possible innovation to target the new form of urban development, namely innovative green urban economy. The project attempts to investigate the oil cities’ position in climate change and sustainable city’s debate. The research project tends to clarify in what ways or to what extent the experiences of oil cities in Asia confirm, confound, or conform to the current binaries of ‘blessing’ and ‘curse’. The geographical focus of this project is two Indonesian cities, as well as Stavanger, the oil capital of Norway, as supplementary knowledge to compare the experience of developed countries. This issue is highly relevant for Indonesia as well as Asia, because many cities in this dynamic region have faced a possible recession in the near future of oil production’s decline. At the same time, Asia’s oil industries face the fact where the natural maturation of the existing oil fields, a slower reserve replacement rate and a lack of investment to seek new potential oil reserves have existed. As a consequence, instead of as an oil exporter for many years, Indonesia became a net oil importer in 2004. This change has led to future uncertainties concerning the urban economy, social development and the quality of life of its residents. Oil and other resource-based cities in Indonesia are faced with multiple economic, social and environmental problems, including resource depletion, unbalanced industrial structure, weak extended and substitute industry, unsatisfactory social welfare, unemployment and poverty, and pollution together with land degradation and subsidence. The key to solving these pressing issues is economic restructuring. A timely comprehensive analysis to explain the possible transformations of the oil cities’ industry and urban development towards the next stage of urban economy, which is crucial to avoid the possibility of productivity decline and shrinkage.
Abstract ID :
ISO532
Submission Type
Associate Professor
,
University of Stavanger
Assistant Professor
,
Institute of Technology Bandung

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