The urbanization in Asia is going on at an almost unbelievable pace that exceeds the development in most other parts of the world. Hence, in the ASEAN region (Association of Southeast Asian Nations including) the urbanized population proportion will increase from 47% in 2014 to 65% in 2050, with five of the ten ASEAN nations transitioning from minority urban to majority urban.
This represents a significant demographic shift that will change the way people live and the way human settlements are designed and function - and the cities will most likely continue to grapple with urbanization management challenges, which must be addressed in order to create more liveable and more competitive centers of sustained growth.
Holistic approach to making cities smarter
Smart cities are achieved by employing a holistic planning and implementation approach to concepts, technology and governance, each enabling the achievement of sustainable and livable cities. Therefore, The Asian Development Bank (ADB) together with the Australian Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade (DFAT) has established the ASEAN Australia Smart Cities Trust Fund, aiming at identifying specific opportunities for smart city investments in the ASEAN region.
Ramboll has been selected to help design and run this 5-year program, and the collaboration on this assignment was kicked off at a recent startup meeting in Manila in The Philippines.
“This is a highly important project that aims at improving systems and governance in fast-growing and fast evolving cities in the ASEAN region through the adoption and adaptation of smart solutions. The end-goal is to improve urban liveability and sustainability in the region.” says Jens Thøgersen, Ramboll.
Supporting the UN Sustainable Development Goals
Ramboll’s ability to work across these sectors and to identify innovative solutions to complex urban issues, were decisive factors for ADB in selecting Ramboll as its partner for this ground-breaking project – and the project will follow Ramboll’s approach to enabling smart choices, which comprises three interrelated dimensions:
- Smart governance – cities should establish the appropriate governance and organization that enables collaboration across city departments to ensure that city planning is strategic and holistic whilst also being realistic and thereby implementable.
- Smart technical concepts – cities should explore and identify the smart concepts available to solve an issue. This could include district heating/cooling, energy, and water synergy parks, or blue-green infrastructure, which are all areas where Ramboll has world-leading expertise.
- Smart technologies – ICT can be used to support improved sustainability. This could include technologies such as water metering that minimize the use of resources, free parking space detection systems, or ‘green waves’ that prioritize traffic flows for bicycles.
The project will be focusing at seven sub-themes – Urban Resilience & Disaster Risk Management, Water, Waste & Sanitation, Mobility, Housing & Architecture, Inclusive and Equitable Growth, Personal Safety & Security and Education – hence supporting a large section of the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals.