Posted on 14 August 2019
Road infrastructure development in the Heart of Borneo (HoB) region requires a sustainability approach to ensure the ecological value of HoB is not reduced and the benefits for the local community and national interests are well provided. By using Cost Benefit Analysis and Analytic Hierarchy Process (AHP), this study aims to assess the impacts of major road development in the HoB area.
The methodology consists of road corridor selection, spatial analyses, economic valuation, and analytical-hierarchy process. Although only counted on the secondary data and several interviews, the results show that the road impacts can increase the environmental risks in the main corridor and growth centers area in direct manner.
The trilateral Heart of Borneo conservation and sustainable development initiative is not undertaken in isolation from the need of infrastructures. For the purpose of better access to market, goods and services such as health and education, infrastructures catalyze development. Communities owe much of their vitality to the ease where economic and social interactions take place. While roads are central to such interactions, the introduction of new roads or expansion of the old ones may as well cause disruptions to the existing interactions that outweigh the benefits. In the context of the Heart of Borneo that holds strategic environmental functions of the island, proper planning is a must to ensure benefits to the surrounding communities as much as it avoids environmental destruction.
This is where the discourse on sustainable infrastructure comes as an alternative to the lacuna by examining the integration of the concept to the existing road project planning policy. The term of sustainable infrastructure has been appearing more frequently, especially in the middle of discussions on avoiding a trade-off between landscape conservation and development in general. Despite various interpretation of the term, for the purpose of realizing sustainable development in the Heart of Borneo, sustainable road is understood as an interconnected network that conserve natural ecosystem values and functions that provides associated benefits to human populations. It differs from the conventional approach where land development does not consider in-depth conservation values that may be impacted both in short and long run.