If not sustainable city, then the other most frequently heard term regarding urban development is most likely smart city.
While sustainable city refers to an urban area where its system and infrastructure are designed to have less impact on environment; in the other hand, for most people the term smart city sounds more sophisticated due to the technological involvement in the area. What is smart city? Do we really need them?
People have many ways to describe smart cities where mostly it is being correlated with technology focus. Yet in fact, there is a lot more to it. Being ‘smart’ can be interpreted as really good at something, and given the fact that cities have their own systems and dynamics, smart cities can be defined as cities or urban areas whose environment can improve the well-being of the people. Actually, according to Seeta Hariharan from Tata Consultancy, the idea of smart-city movement has experienced at least three phases of evolution globally since it was first established—as quoted from the Knowledge@Wharton:
“… The global smart-city movement, which has been around for more than two decades, has gone through three phases of evolution. It initially focused on technology-led solutions to challenges. Then came a citizen-centric, collaborative approach in the second phase. Now, the features of smart cities have expanded further to include safety, happiness and well-being”
Thus, what people mostly talk about is smart cities in terms of technology advancement. More cities globally now thrive to improve their infrastructures and systems that needed to be taken to be smart cities. ASEAN countries are no exception, they are aspired to build and improve their urban areas to be considered smart cities.
ASEAN Smart Cities Network (ASCN) Initiative was proposed by Lee Hsien Loong, the Prime Minister of Singapore in the 32nd ASEAN Summit last year. ASCN aims to improve the livelihoods of the people by creating digital ecosystem that integrates ASEAN region, and with this initiative in hand, let us take a look at some progress made by some ASEAN cities!
Having Singapore on the list is not quite a surprise. Singapore has an inclusive committee to build a more technology-aware environment. Based on the press release of Smart Nation Singapore (Smart Nation), the most current progress says, non-government experts are included in the panel to promote Singapore’s data security review, just a few months after citizens and business sectors have proved significant benefits of some apps initiated by the Smart Nation such as SingPass Mobile, the Moments of Life, MyInfo Business, and other related apps.
With its status as the 6th Top World’s Smart City according to the 2018 IESE Cities in Motion Index (CIMI), Singapore does not only lead the way in the realm of digital economy, but also digital government and digital citizen. Since the ideal scenario is smart cities should also support sustainability, Singapore seems to ready to harness its technological advancement in cutting carbon dioxide and emissions produced by its busy transportation system.
Who would have thought that actually Hanoi has been developing its area to become a smart city in 2016? Hanoi is actually has set its five-year strategy on technology for 2016-2020 period and given its eagerness in developing its ICT infrastructure, the fast-growing city of Hanoi is well-positioned to paving their way to welcome the Technology Industry. Hanoi now is in the process of creating e-government where it is hoped that by the end of 2019, nearly 80% of the citizens are able to access the public services online. This includes tax-related administration, startups registration, custom, and for social security purposes.
Hanoi understands that other sectors deserve technological improvement as well. In urban transportation sector, Hanoi has built an app called iParking in some districts that enables the citizens to find any available parking spot and pay the fee through the app. What is more, more than 2000 schools and universities in Hanoi will be equipped with online system that allows students, teachers, and parents to access educational documents such as reports and enrolment lists.
Say hi to the city that has just blessed with its new MRT! Jakarta has its own technical implement unit named Jakarta Smart City (JSC) initiated by former governor Ahok in 2014 that was born in accordance with six pillars of Smart Governance, Smart People, Smart Living, Smart Mobility, Smart Economy, and Smart Environment with a hope that Jakarta as a smart city will give benefits not only to develop its ICT but most importantly to present more benefits for its people. Recently the current provincial government said they would transform JSC’s status to become public service agency this year.
Furthermore, there is also Qlue app to facilitate the reporting process within citizens and local government and businesses as well as sharing update information. With this chain of information system, Qlue aims to cover civil participation and promotes bottom-up engagement.
Due to its busy traffic, Bangkok’s homework is to create a cleaner
environment with minimum level of pollution. For this reason, Bangkok would
ambitiously expand its train rail network to encourage more people to use
public transports—in which only 40% of the total population is recorded as
public transport users.
A unique approach to actualize a smart city concept has been taken by Bangkok by establishing One Bangkok—a model district in the midst of metropolitan city of Bangkok that claims to be designed and built in accordance with three core values, namely People-Centricity, Green Sustainability, and Smart City Living. One Bangkok is offering people a sneak peek at the ideal scenario of our future, where people can harmoniously combine technology with sustainability and apply them altogether in where they live.
New Clark City, Philippines
Imagine you live in one of the beautiful countries in Asia that promises you green environment as well as disaster-resilient area. You read it right, Philippines, one of the most disaster-prone countries in the world, has been building New Clark City in the province of Tarlac. The area will be bigger than the size of Manhattan and is considered “back-up” city that will take over the governmental roles and functions should the capital Manila is threatened by natural disasters. What makes it more unique, the new city is being constructed using the remnants of a disaster—what a sustainable way to start a project!