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Advancing Smart Urbanism: Fostering Inclusive Smart Cities in Asia's Post-COVID-19 Landscape from Malaysia's Perspective

14 November 2023
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Kuala Lumpur, 14-15 November 2023: The Economic Research Institute for ASEAN and East Asia (ERIA) hosted the 3rd Conference on Asian Inclusive Smart Cities (AISC) in collaboration with leading academic institutions like the International Islamic University Malaysia and the Yachiyo International Mega Infrastructure Management Policy Chair, Graduate School of Management, Kyoto University. The conference delved into Malaysia’s vision for constructing smart, inclusive cities in a post-COVID-19 era across Asia. Discussions focused on innovative governance and solutions aiming to create sustainable and socially inclusive urban environments.

AISC aims to establish a comprehensive and sustainable governance paradigm for smart cities in urban and regional areas of the Asian region. The objective is to create a collaborative community management platform based on public-private partnerships and ecosystems formed by diverse stakeholders, leveraging digital transformation technologies to expand and enhance existing systems.

This conference, centred on Malaysian perspectives, focused on discussing the vision of inclusive smart cities in the Asian region in the post-COVID-19 era. It concentrated particularly on open democratic communication and citizen-driven approaches, exploring philosophies, technologies, and methodologies for inclusive ‘Smart Cities in Asia’ that embrace diverse cultures, religions, and values. Over two days, keynote speeches, panel discussions, and paper presentations fostered lively debates on various topics such as Key Performance Indicators (KPIs), platforms, universal design, infrastructure, mobility, and more.

During the opening ceremony, Koji Hachiyama, Chief Operating Officer of ERIA, mentioned significant aspects of smart city development outlined in the ‘ASEAN Smart City Planning Guidebook,’ collaboratively created with ASCN, ASEAN Secretariat, and the Ministry of Land, Infrastructure, Transport and Tourism of Japan (MLIT) in March of the previous year. He specifically highlighted areas for improvement, particularly in citizen participation and the implementation of KPIs.

In the panel discussion, Dr Keita Oikawa, an Economist at ERIA, emphasised the importance of a People Centric Smart City (PCSC), which engages with people to enhance well-being or happiness. Drawing from the results of an economic well-being study, he pointed out that subjective well-being cannot be measured by income alone and that self-determination and civic engagement can also be crucial factors. He then presented the findings of an ERIA survey indicating that the ‘richness of mind with connected multi-cultural community’ is also significant for people in ASEAN countries.

Looking ahead, the 4th AISC Conference on ‘Human-Centric Smart City in ASEAN: Sustainable Hybrid Society in the Post-COVID-19 Arena’ is scheduled for next year and will be organised by Chulalongkorn Business School of the Chulalongkorn University.

ERIA, along with its partners, is committed to researching and promoting smart cities, including PCSC, for the realisation and growth of sustainable Asian lifestyles.

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