UID Bali CampusHappy Digital X

Considering the needs of Indonesia and region that will be home to 200 million new middle income earners, Tsinghua Southeast Asia Center at United In Diversity Bali Campus will educate city planners, system designers, product developers and entrepreneurs, and digital experts to become transformative leaders through the professional education program Happy Digital X: Cities, Systems, Products and Services. Participants will help build the next generation ICT augmented sustainable and happy cities.

The X of cities is the urban fabric itself, the plans and policies that guide a city’s development; the systems that provide infrastructure and public services, particularly linked to ICT, and the products and services used by inhabitants. This is the fabric that collectively brings happiness to urban residents – the Happy Digital X.


The global economy is an economy of cities. More than half the world’s population live in cities, and more than half of all economic activity happens there. Rapid urbanization brings both opportunities and challenges. With a population approaching 300 million, blue and green biodiversity, and its importance for climate stability, the world needs Indonesia’s urban areas to develop sustainably.

Indonesian and Southeast Asian cities are going through a digital transformation. How cities function, how people work, interact, and transact is changing rapidly. It represents an ecosystem of digital innovation that can create cities that are more sustainable, equitable, and resilient – happy digital cities. Places where people are healthy and prosperous, environmental boundaries are respected, and business activities are oriented to the principles of better business better world. However, in governance, planning and urban design, implementing and monitoring, there is currently a lack of capacity to deliver on this vision. Happy Digital X is therefore a call to action.


Urbanization means socio-economic growth is concentrated to big cities, with surrounding regions falling behind. The urban-rural synergy is difficult to deliver on and the development of cities is often marked by inefficient land-use practices that lead to agrarian conflicts. Many cities are also not sufficiently resilient, and increasing poverty rates, upsurge in pollution, public health emergencies and pressure on infrastructure and public services are some of the negative consequences of rapid urbanization.

Some cities and regencies have already shown interests in incorporating ICT in their development process. On one hand, this indicates promising potential of the cities to leverage ICT implementations and innovations in the future. On the other hand, they are still facing talent scarcity, particularly for the skill-sets needed to develop happy digital cities. These include:

  1. Ability to incorporate SDGs and happiness principles into planning, implementation, and monitoring.
  2. Ability to understand complexity and the dynamic relationships between government, business, and civil society.
  3. Ability to formulate and carry out change management within and across organizations.
  4. Ability to lead and manage cross sector collaboration between government, business, and civil society.
  5. Ability to facilitate digital literacy improvement at the grassroot level to encourage better utilization of ICT to maximize it as a tool to manage social spaces and relationships.
  6. Ability to nurture mindsets, values, and cultures aligned with the sustainable development principles.

The Happy Digital X takes a systemic approach to happiness based on harmony of people, planet and the spirit. We will examine the societal dynamic to happiness, by exploring how digital interconnections between institutions and actors influence outcomes, and take a cross-disciplinary look at addressing common challenges through trust building. Those who participate in the Happy Digital X program will be empowered to co-create a future of holistic happiness aligned to the Sustainable Development Goals.