Urenio Watch Watch: Intelligent Cities / Smart Cities

Startup My City: Smart and sustainable cities in Asia

Startup My City: Smart and sustainable cities in Asia is a research programme from The Economist Intelligence Unit (EIU) sponsored by Hitachi, which examines sustainable and smart city initiatives in 20 cities across ASEAN (Bandung, Bangkok, Danang, Davao City, Ho Chi Minh City, Jakarta, Kuala Lumpur, Manila, Siem Reap, Singapore and Yangon) and Asia-Pacific (Auckland, Chennai, Hong Kong, Melbourne, Mumbai, Seoul, Shanghai, Taipei and Tokyo).

One of the most interesting findings in the report, is related to citizens’ familiarity with the concept of smart cities. In most cases, the smart city concept remains fuzzy to the average citizen. Only 25% of the overall sample consider themselves familiar with the concept of smart cities, compared to 29% characterized as unfamiliar or unsure. According to the report, some of the key findings include:

  • There is an increase in smart city initiatives and citizens want more of them. The survey points out that citizens are interested in developing initiatives that allow them to enhance the quality of their lives.
  • Connectivity is considered to be central to both supply and adoption. Fixed- and mobile broadband infrastructure is a necessity to enable smart city technologies, such as the Internet of Things (IoT), cloud computing and big data, which can be used to effectively implement urban initiatives. Free Wi-Fi initiatives based on such progress can help stimulate adoption of smart initiatives among citizens.
  • There is a wide variety of perceived benefits, mostly related to environment and education. This fact illustrates that the concept of smart cities goes well beyond a narrow definition of technology-enabled services. Easier access to government services was only the fourth most cited benefit among survey takers.
  • Lack of information is one of the biggest problems for achieving greater effectiveness and usage. This results as a lack of clear government communication about current efforts, whereas experts anecdotally point to the fact that city leaders can do more to enhance the returns on investment for new initiatives.
  • The importance of partnerships is highlighted to seize the full benefits of smart cities. Most participants believe the government should take the lead in developing smart city initiatives; however, a public-private collaboration, including citizen users, is considered to be an effective way to fully seize their benefits, especially in areas such as the development of innovation communities and leveraging open government data to create new services and products.


You can find the full report here.