Smart city construction needs more market players and society

Construction of a smart city should rely more on efforts from market players and society, government officials and scholars.

“We have witnessed an unexpected booming development of cutting-edge tech in China, thanks to companies that have been taking advantage of new tools to tap the strong demand from Chinese market, ” Li Tie, president of the China Center for Urban Development under the National Development and Reform Commission, said during a forum held in Tianjin.

The companies are taking a major role in the construction of smart cities everywhere in China, including the Xiongan New Area, with the government, Li added.

The event, the 2019 EU-China Forum on Urban Scientific Research and Innovative Industry Development, was held Friday and Saturday to expand and deepen cooperation in green and sustainable urbanization between cities in the European Union and China.

“We have long passed the age when the city was built solely by the government,” Li added. “Every citizen has a role in it now. With the help of the internet and other high-tech, their roles are getting bigger and bigger.”

Annemie Wyckmans, a professor in smart and sustainable cities at the Norwegian University of Science and Technology, agreed.

“Government units should enhance ties with market players and together tackle problems emerging during the development of cities,” Wyckmans said.

In addition, Wyckmans, who is a member of the EU-China Partnership on Urbanization project, called for a deeper partnership relationship between China and the EU.

“Both the EU and China have achieved many successes in sustainable development and accumulated much experience, such as the recycling economy and zero-waste production chain,” Wyckmans said. “A deeper cooperation between the two parties will be mutually beneficial to the healthier urbanization of both cities.”

According to the China Center for Urban Development, 34 pairs of cities from China and the EU have established sister cities under the project, with the cooperation scope covering several varieties of green projects, including carbon emission reduction and green finance.

As part of the EU-China Partnership on Urbanization project, which was launched by EU and Chinese leaders in 2012, this year’s EU-China Forum on Urban Scientific Research and Innovative Industry Development has attracted more than 100 European and Chinese city representatives, experts, and high-tech and corporate leaders to discuss and exchange ideas about urban development of scientific research and innovative industry.