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Smart Cities 2.0 explores some of the world’s most iconic Smart Cities for inaugural Channel NewsAsia series

Tatiana Rokou - 17 February 2017, 00:11

Eco-architect Jason Pomeroy goes beyond technology, to uncover how cities leverage culture and tradition to make them smarter and more liveable.

SINGAPORE – Eco-architect Jason Pomeroy, will be hosting an exciting new TV series for Channel NewsAsia, called Smart Cities 2.0. The weekly 8-part TV series will explore some of the world's most renown smart cities, and how they combine technology, culture, history and tradition to make them smarter and more efficient. Smart Cities 2.0 extends over eight episodes, and includes Songdo, South Korea; Bandung, Indonesia; Shenzhen, China; Ahmedabad, India; Barcelona, Spain; Higashimatsushima, Japan; Amsterdam, The Netherlands and Singapore. It will air on Channel NewsAsia from March 4, 2017.

'For many people, the term 'Smart City' conjures up images of driverless cars whizzing through the streets, Big Data acting as Big Brother, the Internet of Things or talking fridges' says host Jason Pomeroy, adding 'it is a utopian (or dystopian) future largely driven and influenced by technology. But what we uncover in Smart Cities 2.0 is that a truly smart city will not just utilise technology and the Internet of Things (IoT), but will foster community and promote culture as well – thus enhancing the quality of people lives. By 2050, we will have added a further 3 billion people living on this planet, many of whom will live in urban areas. So we will need smarter ways to build and plan our cities so that they become centres of growth and innovation, without destroying the natural environment'.

The diversity of the cities covered in Smart Cities 2.0 is deliberate, and allows Pomeroy to both reinforce and debunk many of the current perceptions that surround Smart Cities. Barcelona, for example, does not strike many as a typical Smart City, but the ancient metropolis is filled with sensors and technology that makes city life smoother, while retaining its cultural heritage. Bandung in Indonesia leverages people-power and social media to get smarter; Amsterdam relies on the power of data analytics to become more efficient, while Higashimatsushima's Smart City quest, born in tragedy, will allow it to become truly self-sufficient.

 

Given the role cities have in contributing to, and combating, Climate Change, the need for cities to better serve their citizens efficiently and sustainably has never been higher. Yet the definitions of 'Smart City' are as different as the cities themselves, and it is too often associated solely with technology. Smart Cities 2.0 aims to highlight the diversity of the world's Smart Cities, uncovering how each city has its own reasons for becoming smarter, and what constitutes 'smart' in one metropolis, may not be the same as another.

As well as delving into the cities themselves, Pomeroy interviews personalities who have had a role in shaping their respective cities, including architects, city planners and academics. The cities covered include:

  • Episode 1 | Songdo, South Korea – Songdo is a city that has never known what it is like NOT to be a Smart City. From its inception, the city was designed to allow technology to enhance every aspect of daily life. Sensors measure everything from the weather to traffic, while two-way video screens built into every home allow citizens to access a yoga lesson or visit their doctor from their living rooms
  • Episode 2 | Bandung, Indonesia – Bandung suffers from many of the urban issues of overcrowding, pollution and traffic congestion that beset developing cities. To tackle this, the city leverages on the power of social media to connect citizens together to help solve such pressing urban issues and enhance their lives
  • Episode 3 | Shenzhen, China – Shenzhen has been coined the factory floor of the World, and is also known as the Silicon Valley of hardware. The city is the global playground for those looking to test out the latest in Smart City technology, and much of that technology is applied to the city in some shape or form
  • Episode 4 | Ahmedabad, India – given its incredible rate of growth, and urbanisation India, more than any other country, needs its cities to get smarter if it is to reach developed nation status. We look at Ahmedabad efforts to tackle congestion and improve connectivity through technology and planning
  • Episode 5 | Barcelona, Spain – With its nineteenth century Gaudi architecture, Barcelona would not strike many people as the epitome of a modern Smart City, but the Spanish city has had to embrace the digital age while staying true to the culture and heritage that makes the city so memorable
  • Episode 6 | Higashimatsushima, Japan – this Smart City was forged from tragedy. The 2011 earthquake and tsunami that devastated Japan brought unprecedented damage, cutting off Higashimatsushima's power supply for weeks. From then on, the city's governors vowed to never be as reliant on the national grid again, resulting in a leaner, more efficient, zero-carbon Smart City
  • Episode 7 | Amsterdam, The Netherlands – The Dutch city of Amsterdam has found ways to leverage data analytics, and 'translating' this data into actionable information, to manage the incredible complexity that being a leading global city and trade hub brings
  • Episode 8 | Singapore – this small City State is already well ahead of its peers when it comes to developing itself as a Smart City, with driverless car trials and a highly-connected population. Yet Singapore's ambitions extend beyond a city to embrace a 'Smart Nation' which the country aims to export to other cities

Jason Pomeroy hosted and consulted for Smart Cities 2.0. He is the Founding Principal of the Singapore-based sustainable design firm, Pomeroy Studio, and is widely regarded as being at the forefront of the sustainable built environment agenda. He has worked on pioneering projects throughout Asia and has designed the region's first carbon-zero landed property, Digital Hub at BSD City in Jakarta – coined the silicon valley of Indonesia, and an upcoming iconic technology hub in Mediapolis, Singapore. In all his projects, he balances the use of green technologies with elements of local culture and tradition as a means of improving the sustainability and liveability of the cities, buildings and landscapes he creates.

 

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