THE government will spend Bt40 billion to develop a smart city in the Phahon Yothin district of Bangkok that will serve as a pilot project for 76 other such cities to be established across the country within five years.
In support of this programme, the government has joined with JETRO Thailand on a seminar entitled Towards Asean Smart City Network Development. The seminar is the product of collaboration between Thailand and Japan and envisages the development of smart cities in Thailand and elsewhere in the Asean region.
Deputy Prime Minister Prajin Juntong said that the government this year would develop seven smart cities – in Bangkok, Phuket, Chon Buri, Chiang Mai, Rayong, Chachoengsao and Khon Kaen provinces. For the smart city in Phahon Yothin, the project would be completed within three years.
The government has appointed the Project Management Committee (ICT) and the National Smart City Committee to drive the smart city initiatives, which it says, must correspond to local contexts. The projects will incorporate smart living as part of smart communities, smart environment, smart mobility, smart energy, smart economy and smart governance in order to enhance the efficiency of city management and services.
The projects will also help to enable cost savings and the better use of resources. The smart city in Bangkok will focus on smart mobility. For Chiang Mai and Phuket, the focus will be on smart tourism, smart safety, smart environment and smart economy.
The project in Khon Kaen province will focus on smart health as part of a plan to set up a medical hub designed for the needs of the elderly. Prajin said that the government’s Bt40 billion budget for the pilot smart city in Bangkok would cover measures to facilitate transport, logistics and business opportunities. Under the programme, the government will develop 10 other smart cities next year. The government will develop 30 other smart cities in as many provinces over the next three years on the path to covering 77 provinces in five years.
Prajin said the smart cities will foster collaboration between the government and private and state enterprises as part of efforts to encourage public-private partnerships (PPP). The goal is to produce sustainable outcomes and improved quality of life for people in diverse communities over the long term. Prajin said that, regarding the Asean smart city seminar, the 10 members of the regional bloc had agreed to establish Smart Cities Network (ASCN) “in order to enhance experience, knowledge, technology and to cooperate on smart city development in 26 cities among Asean members”.
Among other cities in Asean that are destined to become smart cities are Singapore, Hanoi, Manila, Bandar Seri Begawan, Siem Reap, Vientiane, Jakarta, Naypyitaw, and Kuala Lumpur. Tsuyoshi Fujita, director of the Social Environment Systems Research Centre under the National Institute for Environment Studies, said that Japan started to develop smart cities in 2008. The government has since developed 23 cities as eco-model cities with the aim of reducing carbon emissions.
The country’s Ministry of Environment aims to reduce carbon emissions by 80 per cent by 2050. Fujita said the model applied for the smart cities in Japan could be used in Thailand, covering areas such as energy management system, eco-industrial innovation, government service innovations and smart city innovations.