— This is the script of CNBC's news report for China's CCTV on April 13, Monday.
Welcome to CNBC Business Daily, I'm Qian Chen.
As Asia grapples with the issue of urban over-population, governments in the region are embracing the concept of "smart cities" as the sustainable way forward.
But what makes a city smart? Is it technology, policy or its people?
Martin Soong has more in this first part of our "Urban Innovation" series.
People in cities - 92005 ASIA JAPAN/ 88861 ASIA JAPAN)
When it comes to urban population, Asia easily tops the list.
(Map from artwork)
Home to two thirds of the world's mega-cities -- there are now more people living in the region's urban territory, 90223 ASIA INDIA/89412 ASIA INDIA than the population of the US and EU combined.
Standupper Martin (we will film when Marty is in BKK for EA) -- insert on Friday, April 10
United Nations figures show about 40 percent of Asia's population that live in cities, make up 80 percent of the region's GDP
But while cities are a driving force of the economy, rapid urbanization also comes with many problems such as congestion and pollution
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To solve these problems, policymakers often turn to technology for answers, to create well-connected cities as urban dwellings for the future.
All sots search "Smart Cities Gordon & Sanjeer"
[Gordon FALCONER, Director, Smart Cities, Schneider Electric] "10:06:54 To me, the definition of smart cities is doing more with less, with the underpinning of technology."
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While technology is often seen as a panacea, some say there's a risk in thinking of a city's development... using today's technology.
[Sanjeev Sanyal, Global Strategist, Deutsche Bank] "11:12:08 Cities will exist for centuries, you have to think about technologies at least in terms of decades.// 10:12:30 you got to begin to think about how will these cities exist into the long future and adapt through tomorrow's technologies and the day after tomorrow's technologies, so we need to embed things to it that will last through a long period of time So thinking purely in technological terms, particularly in today's technological terms, is not what smart cities are about 11:12:52"
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Analysts say the most successful cities are those with clearly defined property rights, a good transport backbone, economic vibrancy and flexibility for growth -- such as Tokyo, Seoul, Hong Kong and Singapore.
[Sanjeev Sanyal, Global Strategist, Deutsche Bank] "11:14:22 Singapore, just 50 years ago, was basically a swampy British naval outpost. And look at it today, it's Asia's financial capital. So what is it that allows it to move up the value chain, the key thing was flexibility 11:14:37"
"11:15.27 Ultimately, cities are clusters of human capital 11:15:30 /11:15:39 Cities that succeed in the long run are those cities that maintain and sustain a cluster of human capital 11:15:48"
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With different countries and cities at different stages of development, there is no cookie-cutter approach to the planning of smart cities.
[Gordon FALCONER, Director, Smart Cities, Schneider Electric] "Everyone will be like a new suit, a bespoke new suit. You cannot cut and paste the template to be exactly the same, because the regulatory governance frameworks are completely different 10:13:54"
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Frost & Sullivan expect the global smart city market to be valued at over 1 trillion dollars in 2020.
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But sustainable smart cities will not be just about investment and efficiency, - alot will hinge on how technology is used as an enabler, to achieve a better quality of life.
CNBC's Qian Chen, reporting from Singapore.
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