How much to estimate a whole city?
Our clients estimate big projects. We’re talking multi-million dollar roads, bridges, rail—when it comes to infrastructure, it adds up to the billions.
But how much would it be to build a whole new capital city? Indonesia is asking itself that very question. With the sinking city of Jakarta threatened by an inexorable combination of subsiding ground and rising sea level, relocating the capital has been deemed necessary by the leaders of the country.
Nusantara (meaning archipelago in Indonesian) was declared to be the name of the new city back in January 2022, and East Kalimantan is to be its new home. While much controversy surrounds the cultural, political and environmental implications of the move, President Joko Widodo has placed much emphasis on how the government is using joint-funding with private investors to source the billions needed to build.
It begs the question, however, can such a huge project even be estimated accurately? While it has been touted as a “smart city” that will be environmentally friendly, design details are likely to change as the project progresses. As people migrate to Nusantara, any weaknesses in the design will soon be revealed and as every estimator knows, variations are their Achilles heel. One small decision can have huge cost ramifications.
One thing is certain—if such an estimate is possible, first principles estimation is the only method suitable for such a unique task.
How would you go about estimating the cost of a new city? Email us at firstname.lastname@example.org