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Steal these ideas from top Asia-Pacific smart city projects

Submitted by doug.peeples on August 24, 2016

What may be the best path forward for one city's smart city project may not work for another. Each city's needs and what citizens expect differ from city to city. While there is no one-size-fits-all solution, we can learn quite a lot from what other cities are doing to remain competitive, strengthen their economies and make their cities sustainable, livable and attractive for both residents and new businesses.

The story below describes two award-winning projects we thought you'd be interested in reading about. One project describes the methodology used to share project scheduling and sequencing information among affected departments to maximize efficiency and results, and cut costs. Another highlights the advantages of active citizen engagement and participation in pilot projects. — Doug Peeples

IDC identified 14 smart city projects as winners in its annual IDC Smart City Asia-Pacific Awards 2016 rankings.

The winning projects came from throughout the region (excluding Japan) and included a broad range of initiatives, including transportation, smart buildings, public safety, smart water, economic development, land use and environmental management,  health, administration, tourism, arts and culture.

"The smart city momentum is growing extensively in the Asia-Pacific (AP) region as many nations see ot as an organic, bottom-up and middle-out innovation growth that will spearhead the next cycle of eGovernment evolutions," said IDC head of Asia-Pacific Government and Education Gerald Wang. "While at least 90% of all AP local governments or smart cities' growth leverage funds that are provided by central or federal functions, many of them are notably given the autonomy to create their own unique identity in city governance, strategic operations and provisioning of effective eServices."

For 2016, Singapore and New Zealand each claimed awards in three categories. Highlights from one project in each of the two countries will help illustrate what IDC analysts were looking for in a winning smart city initiative.

Coordination between city departments on smart city planning and deployment
Christchurch, New Zealand's Forward Works Spatial Coordination was designed to streamline information sharing and planning between city departments involved in current or planned projects. Those projects could include infrastructure and built environment construction, repair and maintenance. The idea behind it was to support better decision making in scheduling and the sequence of project activities — and to improve coordination with private sector landowners and property developers. Benefits include reducing costs and disruptions caused by scheduling conflicts and minimizing impact on the transportation network and inconvenience to drivers.

Citizen participation in smart city projects — from beginning to end
The Yuhua residential estate will be the first of the Singapore Housing and Development Board's (HDB) smart city pilot projects and will involve about 9,000 people living in 3,194 flats. The project  is an extension of earlier smart technology testing initiatives. The focus is on sustainability and livability and citizens are involved from the outset. After using smart technologies and services, they will be asked to provide extensive feedback on features added to their homes and the surrounding community. That feedback will guide the HDB and collaborating agencies in determining how to adapt the technologies and services to best meet citizens' needs. The process also is designed to build partnerships between service and technology companies.

The first step will include a small number of households that will use home energy management systems, elderly care and other solutions and applications for about six months.

To learn more...
The Council's Smart Cities Readiness Guide offers a wealth of discussion, insights, best practices and strategies for smart cities upgrades in a broad range of areas, from the built environment and transportation to energy and  public safety. Learn about the importance of project roadmaps, benchmarking and read case studies about cities that have deployed successful new and/or enhanced services for their citizens.

Doug Peeples is a Portland, Oregon-based writer specializing in technology and energy. Follow @smartccouncil on Twitter.