Vietnam urged to build smart cities

Hanoi – Booming cities and vigorous urbanisation are challenging Vietnam’s future, according to a business conference titled “Smart Cities” held in Hanoi on Wednesday.

The conference, held by the Ministry of Industry and Trade (MoIT), the German Embassy and Siemens, was told the nation needed to promote smart urban centres as locations like Hanoi and HCM City were struggling to cope with overstretched infrastructure.

Phạm Trọng Thực, director of the General Directorate of Energy’s renewable energy department, said the Vietnamese Government had paid much attention to urbanisation.

“We understand clearly the role and importance of urban centres in supporting the integration of Vietnam’s economy with the world’s as well as in promoting sustainable growth in the region,” Mr. Thực said.

He added that Vietnam had identified the development of smart cities as not only best choice, but one in alignment with the global megatrend.

“We believe smart urban technologies are essential to supporting economic growth while also controlling the ecological, infrastructural and social impacts associated with continuing urbanisation.”

Vietnam has one of the highest urbanisation speeds in Southeast Asia – 3.4 per cent a year. Population in urban areas accounted for 35.7 per cent of the national total. It is estimated that urban populations will reach 40 per cent of the country’s total by 2020.

However, the quality of urban areas in Vietnam is low due to lack of integrated infrastructure and slowness in building it compared to socio-economic development.

The conference was told the infrastructure system in big cities such as Hanoi and HCM City had been overloaded, causing regular traffic jams and floods.

“The vigorous development of cities presents decision-makers and urban planners with enormous infrastructure challenges. Not only is it important to guarantee a high quality of life for city dwellers, but also to ensure that metropolises remain economically competitive and that resources are handled responsibly,” he said.

Sharing experience in building smart cities in Germany, Jörg Rüger, First Secretary for the Environment, Nature Conservation, Building and Urban Development at the Embassy of Germany in Hanoi, said digitalisation would fundamentally change the way people lived and worked.

“Smart cities are not an end in themselves. Instead, it is intended to serve sustainability goals at all levels, be it social, ecological or economic. With a new urban agenda, the United Nations had set new standards for urban development, putting the needs of people at the centre of action,” he said.

Siemens Vietnam President and CEO Phạm Thái Lai said: “We understand very well the challenges Vietnam is facing, and we are working with cities such as Hanoi and HCM City on new city districts and urban mobility options to help overcome these challenges.”
“We have a unique digital offering for the infrastructure needs of a city. We are working directly with the city to ensure that digital technologies are integrated into planning to immediately reduce congestion, improve air quality and increase energy reliability,” Lai said.

Source: Vietnam News

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