The core idea in Ha Noi's "smart city" plan is to build a "smart government," Phan Lan Tu, director of the city's Department of Information and Communications, tells Tien Phong (Vanguard).
Can you elaborate on Ha Noi's plan to become a "smart city"?
The "smart" concept is used very frequently these days in various contexts. I can say, though, that building a "smart city" is a global trend these days. It is considered a revolution in urban management.
Simply put, a smart city would be one where IT (information technology) and Communications are widely applied in all activities, making governance as well as development more effective in all areas including the economic growth, culture, education, healthcare and transportation. A smart city would use digital technology to enhance performance and well-being, to reduce costs and resource consumption, and to engage more effectively and actively with its citizens.
Ha Noi's IT development plan (until 2020, vision until 2030) shows that it is considered a top priority. IT application in infrastructure development is a key component of the plan.
Of course, in preparing the smart city proposal, we have tried to make the best use of international experiences.
The proposal awaits approval from the People's Committee.
What is the project's estimated budget?
The project's overall objective is to built Ha Noi into a smart city, focusing on "an IT administration" in all sectors, be it education, healthcare or transportation. The final goal of the project is to form and develop a knowledge economy and become a member of the international smart city forum.
The project document contains eight measures, including the building of a legal environment; financial measures to attract investment; and international co-operation.
As the proposal is still a draft, I can't talk about the proposed budget. However, I can say that the funding will come from different sources, including the State Budget and other sectors. Investment from the different sectors will be prioritised and the State Budget funds focused on infrastructure development, IT application and communication; and training the workforce.
Since the project is of great significance, will it need a directing agency to co-ordinate all its activities so as to avoid inefficiencies including wastage of money?
I would say so. It is a large scale project that covers many sectors. As I mentioned earlier, the project's core is to build a smart government. Fortunately, Ha Noi has completed an architectural framework, strategy and roadmap for this purpose for the 2015-25 period (vision until 2030).
What would be the key breakthroughs if the project is approved and implemented?
Each city decides its own focus in becoming a smart city, although there are general international criteria that apply.
For example, the focus in European countries is on energy saving and green environment, particularly their application in the transport sector.
Meanwhile, Asia-Pacific nations focus more on the application of IT and communications in governance, healthcare, transportation, education and urban management.
For Ha Noi, with building a smart government as the core, we'll focus on some other areas that directly affect the people, including the building of smart schools and classrooms; a "learning society"; tele-medicine, transport surveillance and so on. — VNS