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International News | May 30, 2020

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Exploring Sustainable Development for Indonesian Communities

Exploring Sustainable Development for Indonesian Communities

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| On 04, Dec 2015

International Architecture Alumnus Leads Delegation to CU Denver

Your college years at the University of Colorado Denver can leave lasting impressions, rich in knowledge gained and friendships developed. More than 85,000 university alumni make their home in Colorado, throughout the United States, and in countries around the world. Recently, alumnus Rino Wickasono traveled almost 10,000 miles from his home in Jakarta, Indonesia, to visit his CU Denver alma mater and to learn the most recent best practices surrounding sustainable development. Wicaksono is the former Dean of Civil Engineering and Planning and Vice Chancellor for Academic Affairs at Indonesia Institute of Technology and is currently active as a lecturer; he is also a professional consultant for development acceleration for the Indonesian government and a significant number of provinces, cities, and regencies in Indonesia. Wicaksono earned his master’s in architecture in 1992 and his master’s in urban planning in 1993 at the College of Architecture and Planning (CAP), and received his PhD in Urban Regional Planning from the University of South Australia (UniSA), Adelaide, in 2004.

A group of 13 distinguished guests accompanied Wicaksono with a mission to learn about current approaches to spatial planning, sustainable urban design, and green architecture in Colorado’s mountainous areas, and to explore a potential educational partnership with the University of Colorado Denver. The visitors included Usman G. Wanimbo, the Mayor of Tolikara Regency, and the Director of Planning and Development Agency, Director of Public Works Division, Director of Assets and Finance Department, Director of Karubaga Hospital, First Chief of Legislature Body, Planning Program Staff, and government experts in planning and development for Tolikara Regency, Province of Papua, Republic of Indonesia.

Tolkira Regnecy, a beautiful, lushly forested mountainous region, is deeply rooted in tribal traditions that include respect for the environment, for others, for religious freedom and expression, and for the development of strong communities. Exports of the region include coffee, ginger, and gold. With mining and other development taking place in the region, Tolikara’s leaders are focused on balancing technological advances with responsible stewardship of the land and resources.

During a tour of CAP’s design studios and gallery exhibit spaces, the visitors expressed particular interest in architectural models and videos depicting buildings created by the architecture students and faculty that were ideal for the climate and terrain in Colorado’s Rocky Mountains, noting the parallels in construction and usage for buildings in Papua. They also inquired about the interface of health and design in planning for communities. As is the case with communities across the globe, Tolikara and other surrounding areas face challenges with planning for proper water, sanitation, and housing issues.

Associate Dean Michael Jenson, College of Architecture and Planning, explained that cross-campus collaborations are possible between the 13 schools and colleges within the University of Colorado Denver’s two campuses, the CU Denver downtown campus and the CU Anschutz Medical Campus. Programs can be customized, and CAP’s design-build studio programs include the development of planning and implementation of projects in global communities.

“Leaders in Tolikara’s governmental planning groups want to learn and adapt very quickly,” said Wicaksono. “They are also interested in mitigation of the effects caused by natural disasters; although the region does not have volcanic activity, it does have landslides.” Andrew Rumbach, Assistant Professor, College of Architecture and Planning, shared information about his students’ work in planning for developments in rural communities in India, which similarly have mudslides and floods.

The visitors also enjoyed a tour of CU Denver’s ESL Academy, which welcomes international students from around the world. State-of-the-art “smart” classrooms and computer labs, native English-speaking conversations partners, and five levels of intensive English classes ensure that students are well prepared for success in American university classrooms.

“The addition of students from Indonesia would certainly enrich and enhance the educational experience of all students enrolled at the ESL Academy,” said Marcel Bolintiam, Director of the ESL Academy.

Sustainable DevelopmentThe visitors enjoyed a luncheon hosted by the Office of International Affairs, and learned about the student experience at University of Colorado Denver from the perspective of two currently enrolled Indonesian students.

“Tolikara Regency will be accelerating its growth centers,” said Wicaksono, as he wrapped up the day’s discussions and summarized the interests of Mayor Wanimbo and members of the delegation. “Karubaga, the capital city of Tolikara, already has urban design guidelines and a master plan for economic development based on strategic commodities. We look forward to further discussions with you about urban design and green architecture best practices and practical implementation in Tolikara to preserve its natural rain forest area.”

“It has been an honor to welcome this delegation from Indonesia,” said Jenson. “And we look forward to further discussions about developing potential programs and partnerships with the University of Colorado Denver.”

Learn More

For more information about the Office of International Affairs, visit online:

 Learn more about programs at the College of Architecture and Planning: