The business conference: “Smart Cities” took place in Hanoi on Wednesday 27th September 2017 as the last event in the series of thought leadership events on emerging topics in Vietnam, which are initiated and co-organized by the Vietnamese Ministry of Industry and Trade (MOIT), the German Embassy in Vietnam, and Siemens. This prestigious event attracted more than hundred delegates, who are senior government policy and decision-makers, business leaders, specialists and media to come together and discuss emerging challenges and solutions for the development of smart and sustainable cities in Vietnam.
We live in an age of urbanization. More than half of the world’s population already lives in cities – even as millions more migrate from rural environments each year. The latest UN forecast predicts that 70 percent of the world’s population will be living in cities by 2050. At that point, the world’s total urban population will be almost equal to the earth’s entire population today. This trend will also lead to the rise of more and more megacities — cities that have more than ten million inhabitants. Whereas there were 28 megacities in 2014, there are expected to be 41 by 2030. Smaller cities are also expected to grow considerably. In 2016 there were about 500 cities with more than one million inhabitants; by 2030 there could well be more than 650.
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.
The good news is that cities can become healthier, more comfortable, and more relaxed. But to accomplish this, cities will need to become much more efficient – in short: smarter.
Vietnam is also facing many challenges as a result of city booming and vigorous urbanization countrywide. The country is also in utmost need for promoting smart cities as many cities, such as Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh City, are struggling to cope with overstretched infrastructures.
At the business conference, participants had a great opportunity to hear senior representatives from Vietnamese government share useful information about Vietnam’s urban master plan development. They also received an update of technological solutions, which are already available from today to support Vietnam on their way to develop sustainable and smart cities. At the same time, they were able to involve in the panel discussion and open dialogues with respected panelists featuring Ministry of Construction, EVN Hanoi, Viettel Group and SIEMENS.
Representative from Ministry of Industry and Trade said: “The Government of Vietnam has paid a lot of attention to the on-going urbanization process. We understand clearly the role and importance of urban centers in supporting the integration of Vietnam’s economy to the world’s economy as well as in promoting sustainable growth in the region. We have also identified the development of smart cities our best choice and in alignment with the global megatrend. We believe smart urban technologies are essential to supporting economic growth while also keeping under control the ecological, infrastructural and social impacts associated with continuing urbanization”.
Mr. Jörg Rüger, First Secretary for the Environment, Nature Conservation, Building and Urban Development at the Embassy of Germany in Hanoi said: “Digitalization will fundamentally change the way we live and work in our cities. Smart cities are not an end in itself. Instead, it is intended to serve the sustainability goals at all levels, be it social, ecological or economic. With New Urban Agenda the United Nations sets worldwide standards for urban development, thereby, putting the needs of people at the center of action.”
“We understand very well the challenges which Vietnam is facing, and we are working with cities such as Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh on new city districts and urban mobility options to help overcome these challenges. We have a unique digital offering for infrastructure needs of a city. We are working directly with the city to ensure that digital technologies are integrated into planning so it benefits immediately by reducing congestion, improving air quality and increasing energy reliability. Providing cities with the best possible products, solutions and services is a strategically important task for Siemens. We are very excited to help make cities in Vietnam smarter thus being more liveable and sustainable”, said Siemens Vietnam President and CEO Thai-Lai Pham.