What a smart city should be

THREE-QUARTERS of the world’s population will live in cities by 2050, according to the United Nations. The question of what kind of cities the people of 2050 will find themselves living in was tackled at the recently concluded World Cities Summit (WCS) here.

The general consensus was that a smart city would be one that is green, sustainable and liveable.

The ultimate achievement for a city is to earn unconditional respect from people all over the world, for our people, our city and our country, said Liu Thai Ker, chairman of the Centre for Liveable Cities (CLC), during his closing remarks.

He told delegates that a city, which was in a way the largest piece of industrial design made by man, would be judged on its user-friendliness, functionality and aesthetics.

Over 130 mayors and city leaders, along with representatives of international organisations, researchers and urban planners, attended the four-day summit to discuss strategies on how to develop liveable, more resilient and attractive cities for urban residents worldwide.

They emphasised the need for governments to collaborate more closely with businesses, academia and citizen networks to create more holistic and cost-effective solutions that improve the quality of life.

The year-long study will explore various energy solutions – such as time-of-use pricing where electricity is cheaper during off-peak hours, and home-energy management systems which provide energy usage data to encourage behavioural change – for HDB households in the future.

As electricity demand increases, energy management technologies and solutions are becoming more important than ever, said Junichiro Kitagawa, managing director of Panasonic Asia Pacific. We hope that such synchronised private-public efforts will create a better life and a better world for all.

Transport solutions also featured in the conversations at WCS, with a focus on driverless vehicles.

SMRT International signed an exclusive agreement with technology provider 2getthere on Monday for an introduction of the latter’s driverless transit systems in Singapore.

Goh Eng Kiat, managing director at SMRT International,added that the system can complement existing bus services through last-mile connectivity for commuters, and also has the ability to address on-demand transport requirements, while providing an energy-saving and green transportation solution.

Besides motorised transport, CLC is also looking to encourage active mobility. A joint study released by CLC and the US-based Urban Land Institute on Monday identified strategies to promote walking and cycling in tropical cities.

Ten recommendations were provided for active travel, such as ensuring visibility at road junctions by painting cycling lanes and continuous sidewalks that require cars to stop and allow pedestrians and cyclists to continue.

Cities such as Copenhagen and Amsterdam that have 80 per cent of their people cycling both in winter and summer to get around. Many cities are now planning and providing infrastructure for cycling.

Of the cities ranked in the top 10 overall, nine were ranked in the top 10 as well for at least five indicators.

Singapore finished third overall behind London and New York and was also top for the transportation and infrastructure indicator.

http://sgbayhomes.wordpress.com/2014/06/22/what-a-smart-city-should-be/

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