As of the end of last year, Vietnam had 800 urban areas whose rate of urbanization increased from nearly 24% in 1999 to 37% in 2017. Most are now facing traffic jams, water shortages, flooding, and environmental pollution. Developing smart cities will be the key to solving these problems.
According to the UN, more than half of the world’s population live and work in urban areas. It’s expected that more than 70% of the population will be living in cities by 2050.
There are 813 urban areas across Vietnam. Hanoi and HCM City, Vietnam’s two biggest cities, have 30% of the country’s urban population. The high population density there has put great pressure on state agencies charged with managing environmental pollution, safe water, energy, natural resources, and traffic infrastructure.
Ngo Trung Hai, Secretary General of the Vietnam Urban Areas Association, said smart cities address the problems caused by expansion of urban areas.
“Smart cities are based on smart government and smart people. The model should be supported by good urban infrastructure planning,” he said.
In 2014, Da Nang’s municipal People’s Committee initiated a project to build a smart city by 2020 with priority given to inter-city connections, transportation, water supply, water drainage, and food safety and hygiene.
Last year, HCM City approved a smart city project until 2020 with a vision to 2025 focused on an open database ecology, a center for research, simulation, forecasting and building of socio-economic development strategies, a smart city operations center, and an information security and safety center.