This paper seeks to examine the issues around flooding and rapid urban development in Jakarta, specifically the manner in which flooding has influenced the spatial development of the city over time. This is set within the context of changing discourses around governmental responses and flood management, where previously approaches tended to overcome flooding with extensive flood defences such as dykes, canals and channelized rivers to systems that take into consideration existing local ecology, flooding patterns and other natural drainage systems. Jakarta is slowly moving towards the latter approach to flood management by implementing small-scale projects such as those at Waduk Pluit and Waduk Ria Rio, however it has yet to incorporate these sustainable flood management systems into the formal planning system. This paper will examine how flooding has influenced the spatial development of the city over time which has led the city administration to the realisation that a new approach is required. It will build on these sustainable approaches with suggestions for how best practice methodologies could be implemented in Jakarta, building on projects and research already taking place. The methodology will include document and literature research as well as GIS-data based mapping to determine the spatial development patterns and where additional mitigation measures may be needed, utilising existing mapping information and flooding and drainage documentation. The results of this paper will be realised in a series of government-led strategies for the initial stages of planning policy implementation and a framework for developing these planning-incorporated measures at the wider scale across Jakarta’s affected areas. This study has wide implications for a number of cities in the developing world facing multiple challenges including those of flooding, large populations, affordable housing shortage and other issues common to large developing cities in the global south, particularly those cities in the South Asian and Southeast Asian region. This study also has profound implications for the quality of life of local communities, especially those with residents living in informal settlements, which will also be examined as part of the spatial strategy of the paper.