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Author: savemalaysia   |   Latest post: Sat, 28 Nov 2020, 8:57 PM


Global effort needed to build smart cities By PROFESSOR DATUK DR AHMAD IBRAHIM

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LETTER: It is worrying that the coronavirus has occurred when climate change is getting more serious. The warming of the world, which has accelerated the change in nature's biodiversity, is disturbing the natural habitat of such viruses.

The delicate balance of the environment may collapse unless immediate remedial actions are taken. Apart from the environment, the pressures of a growing world population, which is approaching eight billion, threaten the basic security of our food, energy, water and other no less critical resources that feed the global economy.

Rural-urban migration has shown no signs of abating. It has been reported that the population residing in cities now account for more than 50 per cent of the world population. The percentage will continue to grow. The number of megacities in the world is set to expand.

With that expansion, effectively managing such cities will become more challenging. Many believe megacities will be the game changer in the global fight to rein in climate change because all the climate change movers exhibit the highest concentration in the cities. 

Efficiently solving the problems of the cities will be a determining factor in the global agenda to create a sustainable world. The concept of a smart, intelligent and sustainable city has garnered a strong global following. All countries have joined the global effort to create their unique design of smart cities.

The design may differ, but the core principle is the same, which includes deploying technology to tackle the challenges faced by cities, while at the same time answering the call for a sustainable world. It is common for cities to declare themselves as low carbon, zero emission or green in their effort to be certified as smart.

Malaysia has also declared the intention to get their cities to be intelligent and smart. There have been attempts to get the cities to embrace the smart city framework. A more concerted national effort is needed. The 12th Malaysia Plan (12MP) is the right platform for this.

We should learn from smart city initiatives in other parts of the world to emulate their successes. From such lessons, we can set realistic targets for our cities and identify the gaps we need to close. This will form the core elements of a roadmap and action plans to move our smart city agenda. The plan should include elements to incentivise industries to capture the economic opportunities that smart cities present. Talk about the green economy. The establishment of smart cities is a potential driver.

Smart cities are all about sustainability. The range of businesses include projects on smart technology infrastructure, the supply of technology components, maintenance and repair services and manufacturing the technology needed to manage the smart cities. If we get our strategy right, we may even be exporting such technologies. We know that cities have to endure many pain points such as flash floods, traffic congestion, water disruption, power failures, air pollution, uncollected waste and broken sewerage, just to name some. As cities grow bigger, the pains are going to get worse. This is where the smart city initiatives come in.

The attractive part of the initiatives is that they will not only solve the problems of cities but also anchor the growth of a new economy, that is, the green economy. The 12MP would be incomplete if the smart city agenda is left out.


Fellow, Academy of Science, UCSI University



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