The “Smart City” is now a fairly popular concept in urban development with the myriad of smart cities in Europe and around the world but Malaysia is pioneering one of the most extensive smart cities in Asia-the Iskandar Malaysia. This is a massive urban development project which will incorporate several facets of 21st century urban life and is built on the three key pillars of the economy, the environment and social factors. The project aims to create sustainable and inclusive communities that live in a smart, connected and technological ecosystem and assures residents of a very high quality of life along with social cohesion. The Iskandar Malaysia is located in Johor, a key growth Corridor in South East Asia, facing Singapore and the smart city is expected to accommodate some 3 million people by 2025.
Smart cities optimize the use of resources to deliver sustainable and livable cities. In case of Malaysia’s Iskandar Smart City, there are several factors that will be synergized to deliver South East Asia’s first smart city. For example, the concept draws on smart economy, smart governance, smart environment, smart mobility, smart people and smart living in a holistic approach to a urban development.
A smart economic development will be realized through innovation in economic development, entrepreneurship, an equitable distribution of wealth, and value creation in economic development. Iskandar Malaysia hopes to be the catalysis that will attract global businesses to this South East Asian economic corridor and also ensure that these businesses operate in a smart way in congruence with the vision of the city.
On the environmental front, the Iskandar Malaysia is planning to roll out a set of incentives for developers who conserve the environment and incorporate green technologies in urban development. Under its smart environment program, the Iskandar Malaysia hopes to simulate a green economy, create a clean environment, support environmental protection initiatives, develop green infrastructure and ensure a smart growth underpinned by socially and environmentally responsible approach to development and business.
Iskandar smart mobility involves creating a greener and more efficient urban infrastructure to facilitate smooth and environmentally sustainable flow of traffic and information. Smart mobility in Iskandar Malaysia will mostly be about connectivity and ICT development. This will entail the development of efficient public transportation systems and road accessibility, non motorized accessibility for city residents and the building of a sound IT infrastructure for the city residents.
There are is also a key human aspect of Iskandar Malaysia smart city development. The city plans to create smart people and smart living, but how will it achieve this? There are several proposed initiatives which will make Iskandar a great place to live in. For example, there is great emphasis on cohesion, skilled human capital and a caring community. The smart living aspect will aim at creating a secure low-carbon lifestyle, quality housing, education and cultural institutions.
The Iskandar smart city model is expected to accelerate growth in the Johor economic corridor and even complement Singapore, transforming this region into a key global business corridor with a high standard of living and innovative approaches to economic development. The ultra modern project has already received $30 billion in commitments.