Rethinking Smart City: Perfectly Discerning, Couldn’t it?

Photo by Marc-Olivier Jodoin on Unsplash

The new age always comes up with a fresh perspective. Human being evolves everday, specifically in intellectual impression, to gain new innovation and technology. One of emerging issue shaking the scholars table in the last decade is smart city. It is the integration technology with a strategic approach to sustainability, cost reduction, citizen well-being, and economic development. Emerging for the first time in the 1990s following the Kyoto Protocol. In my spectacles, at glimpse, smart city is an expression as modern society municipality centered. Of course, it is not about the inequality between the bright city and the dark rural. It just the effect of development to be more connected for strategic living based on semiconductor technology.

The question then, how smart the city is? Well, when this phrase pass in my head, I am picturing the utopian atmosphere with smart infrastructure in hollywod movies, precisely. I know it quite hyperbolic, but which human don’t admire living in the world full of convenience? All is in our hand. Technically, the key point of smart city is interconnected. This condition possibly cut off the irrelevant process in entire human life. For instance, your smartphone could make you shopping just with your finger. Although your body still on the bed, your purchasing stuffs will knock right in a couple of minutes. Now, let’s imagine bigger. What happens if our life covering with smart manufacturing, smart government, smart health, smart farming/agriculture, smart buildings, smart grid/energy/utilities, smart transportation, to digital citizens? I thought it will be perfectly discerning city and will increase life quality.

Is smart city helping us to fight against climate crisis? Absolutely yes! This answer I got from the YSEALI Smart City workshop, recently. I met Ms. Maimunah Jaffar, Director of Lead Technology and Innovation, Iskandar Regional Development Authority, Malaysia, virtually. She conveyed insightful perspective about strategic planning and sustainable for smart cities. There are three holistic ecosystem to build strong and sustainable smart city: Wealth generation, wealth sharing & inclusiveness, and resource optimization and low carbon development. Since municipalities become the largest emitter of carbon pollution, it will be promising to reduce within smart city ecosystem.

However, there are several challenge for influencing stakeholders to re-think about smart city concept. We need to understand the overall concept for SIMMS, buy in, and inclusiveness. Because not many stakeholders are exposed by smart city concept. Also, we need to unsure if the project can enhance cities quality or make it more sophisticated. The second challenge comes from data gathering, sharing, and privacy. It truly resistant to data sharing as lack understanding of data usage. Then, implementation cost and self sustaining challenge. How stakeholders understand the execution of projects, budget limitation, and self sustain the operational cost due to the uncertainty. Is there any parameters tell us about the city appropriateness? It lays on the data. How the stakeholders could harness and analyze the data.

Sounds complicated, isn’t it? Well, let’s remember the benefit of smart city. Enhanced citizen and government engagement, reduced environmental footprint, effective data-driven decision making, economic development opportunities, improved infrastructure, efficient public utilities, and enhance life quality. We can’t depend on the government absolutely. We need to take a part as simple as understand the concept of smart city, the future quest of humankind.




Researcher of National Battery Research Institute, The Climate Reality Leader and Author of 20 Books

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Moh Wahyu Syafi'ul Mubarok

Researcher of National Battery Research Institute, The Climate Reality Leader and Author of 20 Books