Today I had a meeting with the Indonesian government to talk about smart cities. Indonesia's smart city initiative started in 2013 with Bandung and Jakarta, and then the 100 Smart Cities Initiative was officially launched as a national policy to create 100 smart cities by 2045. In 2018, the ASEAN Smart Cities Initiative launched, and Singapore is already a very advanced smart city from Indonesia's point of view. In Bali, Denpasar and Badung will be working on smart cities.
Much of this smart city initiative is about information technology. Since Jakarta and Bandung already have government organisations, universities and other research institutes, businesses and populated communities, it is understandable that smart cities have started here.
The activities to be undertaken are similar to the traditional sustainability concept of balancing and integrating the three pillars of the economy, society and environment: smart economy, smart living and smart environment. And to make it easier to identify the institutions in charge, the other three pillars are divided into Smart Government, Smart People and Infrastructure and Mobility. Specific activities described in the concept include the digitisation of official documents, electronic libraries and online education using mobile phones.
Unlike in developed countries, where official documents are often unreliable, or there are no libraries in many areas, the digitisation of official documents and libraries in smart cities is more than just a way to improve efficiency in developing countries. Even if developed countries do something similar, official documents are already trustworthy, and libraries already exist in most local governments. So, there is only a financial benefit of such digitisation in developed countries to make the existing services more efficient.
And while I mentioned that, understandably, the smart city concept was launched in big cities like Jakarta and Bandung, it is even more understandable that in the current Corona era and beyond, there are smart city concepts in places like Bali.
This is a book chapter I wrote a long time ago. You can read an explanation of it here. The short version of what I wrote is that information infrastructure should be much faster and cheaper than other infrastructure such as sewage treatment, building high-speed motorways, energy supply, etc. These existing infrastructures are the answer to how comfortable it will be for people to come to live in urban areas, and information infrastructures are the answer to how people can live and work without having to come to urban areas. So, instead of being stuck in a small flat in the city and enjoying the smart city, we can make the smart city more comfortable by living a bit more in the countryside and getting the same services through e-commerce and online education as if we were living in the city.
Having said that, our discussion today was not only about information infrastructure but about improving the existing infrastructure. It's exciting to think that this could happen.