Smart Cities: Is Asia Doing Data and Governance Better than the West?

Dr Parag Khanna

Dr Jonathan Bright

Smart Cities - Radiya Jamari.png

Technology alone does not make a city smart: it needs smart governance, smart businesses and smart citizens. Around the world, cities have begun embracing emerging technologies in a move towards sustainable growth and innovation. This has broadened the capacity and autonomy for urban planning, creating new models of governance for smart cities. In this roundtable discussion, we explore the ways in which Asian cities have harnessed the potential of advances in data science and technology compared to those in the West. In particular, we examine how the success of smart cities lie not just in technological penetration, but the extent to which they leverage technology to bring about innovation, sustainability and inclusiveness.

The confluence of data and governance has tangible policy implications on how we shape the cities we live in. While cities increasingly compete to attain the ideal of a ‘smart city’, it is also important to analyse how policies that have worked in one context may not work in another.

Dr Parag Khanna is Founder and Managing Partner of FutureMap, a data and scenario based strategic advisory firm. An international bestselling author of six books, he holds a PhD from the London School of Economics, as well as Bachelors and Masters degrees from the School of Foreign Service at Georgetown University. He has held Senior Research Fellow positions at the National University of Singapore’s Lee Kuan Yew School of Public Policy and the New America Foundation. Dr Khanna has served as an adviser to the US National Intelligence Council’s Global Trends 2030 program and to the United States Special Operations Forces. He was the Global Governance Fellow at the Brookings Institution from 2002–2005, having previously worked at the World Economic Forum in Geneva and the Council on Foreign Relations in New York.
Dr Jonathan Bright is a political scientist specialising in computational and ‘big data’ approaches to the social sciences. His major interest concerns studying how people get information about the political process, and how this is changing in the Internet era. He is currently working on the role of social media in the diffusion of political news and information; the extent to which information seeking behaviour on Google and Wikipedia can be used to predict electoral outcomes; and the possibility of creating large scale transnational publics at the European level.