Thailand announces ambition to expand smart cities nationwide

Thailand announces ambition to expand smart cities nationwide
The government of Thailand has doubled down its effort on building smart cities, aiming to hike the number of smart cities in the country and become the bellwether in this field in the ASEAN region.
 
According to Thailand’s National Smart City Committee, last year 10 zones in seven provinces began their smart city transformation, which may involve any or all of the seven government-prescribed dimensions: smart economy, smart mobility, smart energy, smart governance, smart environment, smart people and smart living.
 
The Smart City Committee has set the goal to expand the number of smart transformation to 30 zones in 24 provinces in 2019, and 100 zones in 76 provinces by 2022.
 
“One of the government’s top priorities is to build smart cities throughout the country, making existing cities smarter and livable as well as building new modern cities with good design and smart technology,” said the Digital Economy Promotion Agency (depa) in Thailand.
 
depa is setting up the Smart City Thailand Office with fully equipped facilities and advanced technologies to support smart city initiatives and development.
 
Earlier this week, depa, the Office of Energy Policy and Planning and the Office of Transport and Traffic Policy and Planning launched “Smart City Thailand Takeoff,” calling on cities across the nation to submit their smart city proposals. The smart city evaluation criteria was also announced.
 
The criteria include having 1) clear geographical boundary and smart city goals, 2) infrastructure investment and development plans, 3) a design of open and secure city data platform. The cities also need to provide smart city solutions in any or all of the seven aforementioned dimensions, along with sustainable management models to support the solutions.
 
The approved cities will be permitted to use the Smart City Thailand logo and be eligible to apply for investment privileges from the Board of Investment of Thailand.

Thailand as high-income nation 

Through digital technology and innovation, the government is determined to turn Thailand into a high-income nation, characterized by low development disparity, even distribution of wealth and good quality of life, said Deputy Prime Minister and Chairman of the National Smart City Committee ACM Prajin Juntong.
 
The Smart City Committee’s role is to establish a mechanism to drive smart city development, facilitate smart city projects and monitor their progress.
 
The ASEAN Smart Cities Network, which will take place from June to August, will be hosted by Thailand to showcase the best of smart cities from ASEAN member countries. Thailand will introduce its smart city evaluation criteria and processes to ASEAN member countries as possible implementation guidelines. 

Smart city solutions

"Most of ASEAN’s growth has been, and will continue to be, driven by urban centers, with 90 million more people expected to urbanize by 2030 and“middleweight” cities of between 200,000 and two million residents forecast to drive 40% of the region’s growth," says an internal ASEAN document.
 
However, this rapid urbanisation is not without its challenges as it has implications on important issues such as city congestion, water/air quality, poverty, rising inequalities, urban-rural divide, citizen security and safety, says the document.
 
Technological and digital solutions can be utilized to resolve these issues and to enhance quality and accessibility of services, thereby improving citizens’ lives across the urban-rural continuum, creating new opportunities for them and helping ensure that no one is left behind. ASEAN members recognize this trend, and many have already designated certain areas as smart cities or launched smart city development projects, the document says.


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