WHO: Think Tank

Project Metro Java 2045 is an international project organised around the Dutch-Indonesian collaborative of Dynamic City Foundation, Krill o.r.c.a., Ministry of Infrastructure of Indonesia, and the Yogyakarta Heritage Society. The core team or Think Tank in charge of day-to-day tasks will consist of: professor Bakti Setiawan, UG University and Dr. Wiwandari Handayani, UNDIP-university, and project initiators Dr. Neville Mars and Ir. Harmen van de Wal, with technical support from Dr. John Doyle, RMIT and Dr. Fabien Pfaender, UTC Sorbonne.

Beyond the stakeholder consortium, we have built a network of affiliates working at leading institutes including Gajah Mada University, UNDIP, Universiteit Wageningen, Deltares, the Ministry of Public Works, Ministry of Agrarian affairs and Spatial Planning, Ministry of Villages, and Ministry of Environment and Forestry. ETHs, The Desakota Study Team, ITB and Gajah Mada University in Yogyakarta, the Peri-urban Interface program at UCL, and the EU Strategic Environmental Planning.


  • Dynamic City Foundation (DCF)
    Dr. Neville Mars
    NL +31 6 13888704
  • Krill o.r.c.a.
    Ir. Harmen van de Wal
    NL +31 6 14464779 

Partners Think Tank 

  • Professor Dr. Bakti Setiawan
    Gajah Mada University
  • Dr Wiwandari Hendayani
    Universitas Diponegoro – Indonesia 
  • Dr. John Doyle
    NAAU architecture
  • Dr. Fabien Pfaender 
    UTC compiegne, Sorbonne Université

Institutional partners

  • UNDIP – Universitas Diponegoro
  • RMIT – Faculty of Architect and Planning
  • Bogor Agricultural University
  • University Gajah Mada

Local governmental support

  • Ministry of public Works
  • Ministry of Agrarian affairs and Spatial Planning
  • Ministry of Environment and Forestry
  • Ministry of Villages


  • Esther Boo
  • Harshitha Mruthyunjaya
    Data scientist, urban planner
  • Aman Afaneh
    Architect, planner 
  • Alexandra Riley
    Modeler, researcher  
  • Zhu Jialong
    Policy researcher 


  • Dr. Willem Veerbeek (IHE)
  • Dr. Jan Jaap Brinkman (Deltares)
  • Dr. Arjan Harbers (PBL)
  • Prof. Martin de Jong (Erasmus U)


The initiators of MJ45 have combined 40 years of experience in Asia. Previous studies by both Dutch architects have explored the potentials of the desakota typology in Java and in China. Project protoTamansari (Java, Indonesia, Krill et al.) and The Chinese Dream (PRD, MARS architects / Dynamic City Foundation). These projects mapped the same phenomenon at different points along their developmental arc, underscoring the need to plan peri-urban landscapes within temporal frameworks.

Neville Mars is a Dutch architect and planner and principal of MARS Architects, Shanghai, an award winning design studio with twenty years of experience in Asia and buildings realised in Europe and Central America. MARS Architects has a strong focus on sustainable planning and has developed over a dozen integrated planning projects across Asia, including the Sino-Dutch Ecocity in Shenzhen, the Beijing 798 Art District, strategy vision United Mumbai, and the strategic masterplan of Sustainable Pudong 2040. Recent projects include the winning masterplan for a new town in Wuhan and the sustainable master plan of an IT district in Chengdu. 

Dr. Mars is the director of the Dynamic City Foundation (DCF), a non-profit research platform investigating rapid urbanization in Asia. Working across scales and disciplines DCF produces projects such as the research exhibition “Social Mobility” with 2×4 NY, which aim to bridge the gap between urban theory and practice. Recently, DCF has delivered a comprehensive policy study for the Circular Development of Shanghai. Mars is the author of the book The Chinese Dream – a society under construction (010 Publishers, N. Mars, A. Hornsby, R’dam 2008). He has a PhD from RMIT, graduated on topic of urban evolution. He is a lecturer at the China Academy of Art, a BMW Guggenheim Lab fellow, INK fellow, and guest editor of Urban China magazine. Mars has recently been appointed as one of the lead curators of the Xi’An Bi-City Biennale 2021. Coming year Mars will publish his third book Manifesto of Mistakes – urban solutions for the new world, this ecocity manual rethinks the fundamental principles of the urban discipline, to arrive at a site-sensitive and process-driven urbanism.

Harmen van de Wal graduated with honourable mention in 1992 at de Technical University of Delft, faculty of architecture. In April 2000 he founded Krill-Office for Resilient Cities and Architecture With Krill, Harmen van de Wal won many prizes, among which the prestigious Europan, and featured in many exhibitions, publications and web-magazines. 

Harmen van de Wal studies the impact of design on the human environment in the broadest sense. With Michiel van Dorst, he coined the word privacyscript in a well received research on the impact of architectural spaces on social interaction in apartment buildings. He leads an ongoing research project for innovation of learning environments in vocational schools, developing models for both architectural and educational environments. In Indonesia, Harmen organised a series of workshops and a seminar with local and Dutch experts in order to develop tools for the green growth of Indonesian desakota areas. These studies are at the root of the designs of Krill o.r.c.a.. The office proposed innovative typologies for community living in apartment towers, comprehensive programs for bottom-up kampung improvement through self development by home owners in Bandung, collaborated in master planning in the Philippines and three Indonesian ecodistricts. Harmen is visiting lecturer in Erasmus-IHS university, Academies of Architecture in Arnhem, Tilburg, Rotterdam and Groningen, and organiser of three consecutive years of the Summerschool Lingezegen. He has been a jury member of the urban planning department of the Creative Industries Fund NL, and chairmen of the board in several foundations.

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