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Morten Kabell Mayor of Copenhagen and others are in Singapore to discuss smarter sustainable cities

The Ministry of Foreign Affairs from Denmark and the Mayor of Copenhagen Morten Kabell are in Singapore this week to meet with the Foreign Minister of Affairs, Singapore to discuss clean energy, smart grid, big data, transport and much more to share their experiences, best practice and future initiatives on their journey to becoming smart nations. 

The two nations are coming together to discuss a common vision. The real Smart Sustainable Nation!

In recent years, both Singapore and Denmark governments have launched ambitious initiatives and made bold moves towards becoming Smart Nations, rewarding them leading smart city reputations in Europe, Asia and the rest of the world. The main focus is to offer a better quality of life to their citizens through more efficient and sustainable solutions in regards to energy, water management, smart grids, buildings, intelligent transport systems as well as securing the foundation for continued economic growth in the years to come.

Singapore is a city-state with a population of 5.4 million and a total land area of about 716 km2. Despite Singapore having no natural resources the nation has within a few decades developed from a third world country to a first world country with one of the highest standards of living for its citizens and represents a success model of Asian economic development.

Singapore is also the world’s third most densely populated nation with the number of elderly people aged 65 and above is expected to swell to 900,000 by 2030, yielding a 1 in 5 ratio - putting pressure on the healthcare system, transport networks and to ensure provision of sustainable resources such as water, food and energy.

This gives Singapore an even greater focus to meet the goals of Vision 2020 to become a Smart Nation. In order to achieve this status, the Singaporean government is investing heavily in ICT (US$1.44 billion in 2014 and a planned US$1.63 billion in 2015), putting in place the policies and building the infrastructure and ecosystem to support and enable the Smart Nation vision.

Denmark has a population quite close to that of Singapore - 5.6 million. They also have ambitious goals, and one is to have 100% renewable energy nationwide by 2050.

One third of their electricity consumption is based on wind energy. And not only that Denmark is already home to ⅓ of all Smart Grid projects in Europe. Since the 1970’s the danish government has been focusing on water management and successfully rolled out many innovative programmes.

Denmark has already much experience with smart grid, water, energy efficiency in buildings, smart mobility, data handling and health and Singapore has a particular interest to work with Denmark and Danish companies, public authorities, organisations and academia to learn more about citizen involvement, urban planning, integrated solutions and clean energy projects.

Quality of life, citizen engagement, public governance, sustainability and climate adaptation are the key foundations of the Danish smart city approach focusing on innovative use of technology and data to make better lives for its people.  Singapore government is investing heavily in ICT, putting in place the policies and building the infrastructure and ecosystem to support and enable the Smart Nation Vision. A programme which is fostering a new ‘smart culture’ that centres on citizen involvement and integrates the public and private sectors.

Singapore and Denmark are both small but ambitious nations, they have shared visions and at the same time shared challenges. Both are on the cutting edge of Smart City development and also face similar urban and climate related issues.

However, the ways in which smart city solutions are deployed to ensure this are radically different; in Singapore, the development of the smart city approach is mainly top-down, commencing from a tech point of view, moving to policy to increasingly focusing on the people. In Denmark, the approach is more bottom-up, characterised by a societal-need-driven model often involving triple helix collaboration. That being, addressing climate changes through holistic urban planning and citizen involvement are the key driving factors in the development of Danish smart city solutions.

These two countries have complementary strengths and share similarities in challenges and, goals and visions. This is strong foundation for building close collaborative ties between Denmark and Singapore to solve  their urban and climate related issues. Both nations are at the cutting edge of smart city development and are rolling out numerous innovative initiatives to reach that goal, both having the potential to show the world how to be “SMART” now and in the future.

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