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Indonesia needs bold vision for new capital, Swedish architect says

Urban planning expert says the new city has to grow organically

Indonesia's sprawling capital of Jakarta, pictured here, has one thing in common with the small Swedish town of Kiruna: Both are sinking.   © Reuters

JAKARTA -- On the face of it, Indonesia's capital Jakarta, a sprawling megacity of 10 million people, and Sweden's Kiruna, a town of only 20,000, couldn't be more different. But they have one thing in common: Both are sinking.

Jakarta's problem stems from too much ground water being extracted, while Kiruna, sitting atop one of the world's largest iron ore deposits, is sinking from mining tunnels. Both have come up with similar solutions, with Indonesia creating a new capital on the island of Borneo, while the Swedish town constructs Kiruna 2.0 on more stable land to the east.

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