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ERIA Co-hosts the 4th Conference on Asian Inclusive Smart Cities: Sustainable Hybrid Society in the Post COVID-19 Arena

17 May 2024

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Bangkok, 17 May 2024: ERIA, in collaboration with leading academic institutions such as Chulalongkorn University, the Graduate School of Management at Kyoto University, and the Yachiyo International Mega Infrastructure Management Policy Chair, organised the 4th Conference on Asian Inclusive Smart Cities (AISC). The conference aimed to provoke international discussions on the concept, philosophy, and policy initiatives surrounding ‘inclusive smart cities’ by inviting policymakers, practitioners, and researchers from across Asian countries.

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

This conference, with a primary focus on transportation, logistics, and sustainable finance in Thailand and Japan, explored the vision of a sustainable hybrid society in the Asian region in the post-COVID-19 era. Over the 2 days, keynote speeches, panel discussions, and paper presentations fostered lively debates on topics such as smart transportation and global logistics, transition finance, smart city models, and more.

During the opening ceremony, Koji Hachiyama, Chief Operating Officer of ERIA, introduced the establishment of the ERIA Digital Innovation and Sustainable Economy Centre (E-DISC) and the Asia Zero Emission Centre (AZEC). He specifically highlighted findings from ERIA’s survey on the economic and social environment and key success factors for promoting people-centric smart cities. Hachiyama stressed that ASEAN policymakers need to consider not only the technical and economic aspects but also the subjective social aspects of residents to determine the key factors that improve their well-being.

In his keynote speech, Dr Venkatachalam Anbumozhi, Senior Research Fellow for Innovation at ERIA, discussed transformational trends in ASEAN smart cities, low-carbon and inclusive growth imperatives, and the challenges of local informatisation. He illustrated the ASEAN smart city model for unlocking low-carbon inclusive growth through technology. He emphasised the dilemmas in building a people-centric smart city model in ASEAN, such as the formulation of holistic governance involving the government, citizens, and the private sector, and stressed that these challenges need to be addressed through publicprivate partnerships.

On the first day of the conference, discussions on smart transportation and international logistics introduced advanced technologies and initiatives for a low-carbon society in the transportation sector. The importance of policy, planning, and indicators to promote economic and social initiatives, including the realisation of walkable cities and modal shifts, was confirmed. On the second day, discussions on sustainable finance addressed efforts towards net zero in ASEAN, such as Japan's transition finance approach and green financing in Thailand. While the importance of achieving carbon credit trading in Asia was affirmed, it was also highlighted that many issues need to be addressed for policies and systems to converge in the Asian region.

This conference marked the first round with AISC partner universities in ASEAN, namely Viet Nam, Indonesia, Malaysia, and Thailand. It is expected that the next phase will involve wrapping up the discussions so far and preparing learning and training materials on Asian-style smart cities for academia and policymakers.

ERIA, along with its partners, is committed to researching and promoting smart cities, including people-centric smart cities, to realise and sustain Asian lifestyles.

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