T09P04 - Smart Cities in Asia

Topic : Governance, Policy networks and Multi-level Governance

Panel Chair : Yu-Min Joo - sppjym@nus.edu.sg

Panel Second Chair : Yee Kuang Heng - Heng@pp.u-tokyo.ac.jp

Objectives and Scientific Relevance of the panel

The objective of this panel is to bring together analytical and innovative studies on smart cities that have become a rising trend in many Asian countries and cities today. While politicians and policymakers eagerly launch smart city initiatives, exactly what these projects and their relevant policies entail remain ambiguous. What is substantially different about smart city initiatives compared to other urban development policies? What are some of the key social, economic, and even political impacts of smart city projects on urbanizing Asian societies?


Asia comprises diverse countries at different stages of development, which sets the scene for exploring why and how smart city policies are implemented across varying economic, social, and political contexts. For example, there are smart city initiatives by developed Asian countries, such as Singapore’s Smart Nation initiatives and South Korea’s smart city Songdo, seeking new future development paths or to reinvent their cities with the advancement of science and technology. Such effort to bring high-technology and urban management/development together under the umbrella of smart cities is not limited to the developed economies only. Today’s globalization facilitates the flow of policy ideas and technology and knowledge transfer, which provides opportunities for cities to borrow ideas and to connect to each other via various networks, across national borders. Japan’s active exporting of smart city development know-how to other Asian cities is a case in point. India recently announced to develop 100 smart cities (in collaboration with Singapore), with an eye to find new solutions for their difficult urban challenges. Despite the numerous projects, the study and comparative analysis (let alone critical analysis) of smart city policies are scant, which this panel seeks to address.

Call for papers

This panel invites papers on smart cities in Asia. We welcome conceptual papers or specific case-based empirical studies that will help us better understand smart city projects and relevant policies. Comparative studies within Asia, or Asia with the West, are also welcomed. In particular, we would appreciate paper submissions that discuss one or more of the following issues:


·      What is a smart city? How precisely is it defined and do definitions vary across cities/countries? What are some of the key drivers, processes, and outcomes of smart city initiatives?  

·      Why is there an increasing trend of smart city projects in Asia? What is particular about these projects?

·      How do a wide range of stakeholders- from governments of different levels, private sector, to civil society- interact in smart city projects? What governance issues and challenges arise?

·      What kinds of policy interventions are launched as part of the smart city initiative? How are they substantively different from previous urban development policies? What are the social, economic, and political implications of smart city projects? 

·      What are the conditions and policies that make ‘successful’ smart cities? How can we define ‘successful’ smart cities?


We hope to publish selected articles as a special issue of a journal or an edited book.

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