The situation and state of development in cities naturally varies from country to country, but certain challenges are shared by all: demographic pressure, social cohesion, space management, resource access and distribution management, energy transition, managing mobility, quality of life, economic attractiveness. Smart city initiatives and projects create opportunities to bring new solutions to the challenges that cities will be facing in the coming years
Confined to only a few pioneer cities/metropolitan areas ten years ago, enjoying both national and international appeal, today smart city projects have mushroomed and now cover a substantial portion of the world’s cities. In South Korea, China and India, ambitious national schemes have been introduced to support smart cities’ development, both for existing metropolises and when drafting plans to build new ones. The organisation of smart city networks in Australia and in the ASEAN testifies to the degree to which cities and metropolises have embraced the smart city philosophy.
Indispensable ad hoc metropolitan strategies to support smart city projects
The five cities (Shanghai, Hong-Kong, Singapore, Tokyo, Seoul) we have chosen in our latest report have the common denominator of being both major metropolitan areas from an economic standpoint, and having a longstanding commitment to the smart city, supported by an ad hoc metropolitan strategy that sets specific goals for the smart city’s expected development, and provide a system of governance In which the city (as a local public entity) plays a vital role in setting priorities and seeking out private sector partners.
In 2019 urban centres’ smart city strategies continue to confirm the need for strong government involvement, to be the “orchestra leader” for urban development. An analysis of these strategies nevertheless underscores two points in particular:
- The need for effective coordination between smart city public policies and other public policies such as those governing the energy transition and environmental issues, transportation, education, health, economic development and support for innovation To give an example smart mobility projects (traffic management, public transport management, parking and parking lot management) need to be designed in a way that is consistent with the city’s transport and mobility policies
- The necessary contribution from the private sector to achieve any smart city project, given public players’ inherent budgetary restrictions, rules of involvement and market regulation, as well as their mastery of technological innovations
An international influence for the cities and companies involved
The analysis of these five cities reveals that smart city public policies are a powerful vector for strengthening their ability to have an international reach. Beyond the practical applications for citizens’ daily lives, and those designed to address concrete urban issues (e g risk management in Tokyo, space and waste management in Hong Kong), the smart city is a way to accentuate their technological mastery and, as a result, to bolster associated markets. Major corporations’ involvement in deploying projects, along with support for innovation, help reinforce this perception of the smart city dynamic in these major metropolises.
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