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Credit: Hong Kong University of Science and Technology

Credit: Hong Kong University of Science and Technology

HKUST hosts its first symposium on Smart Cities

The GREAT Smart Cities Center of the Hong Kong University of Science and Technology (HKUST) recently hosted its Inaugural Symposium of GREAT Smart Cities to provide a platform for experts from China, Hong Kong and the rest of the world to share information and ideas on the development of smart cities.

According to the announcement, GREAT is an acronym for Green, Resilient, Empowering, Adaptable, and Transformative – which are the key qualities for a smart city.

The GREAT Smart Cities Center was established to advance the underpinning science and technology for smart city development, develop relevant expertise and nurture professionals, facilitate the formulation of policies, develop and apply smart tools for GREAT infrastructure planning and development, and form a broad platform for developing large-scale projects and inter-disciplinary collaborations.

The opening ceremony was officiated by Prof Wei Shyy, Acting President of HKUST, Prof Tim Cheng, Dean of Engineering at HKUST, and Prof Christine Loh, former Under Secretary for the Environment of HKSAR Government, and Chief Development Strategist of the Division of Environment and Sustainability of HKUST.

At the Symposium, Prof Hong K Lo, Director of GREAT Smart Cities Center, gave an introduction on the Centre and its objectives. He emphasised that no single entity could single-handedly create smart cities, and hence the main objective of the Center is to serve as a platform among academia, industry, and government to achieve inter-disciplinary collaboration.

Prof Christine Loh, Chief Development Strategist in the Division of Environment and Sustainability, HKUST, emphasised that HKUST has much to contribute. She said, “HKUST has a lot of distinguished capabilities in areas such as slope management, water management, and air quality control, which have achieved national importance. We can contribute our expertise to the Mainland and the world, both in terms of project management and in policy making. And our Business School can help bring all of these together in terms of financing.”

Prof Renzhong Guo, Member of Chinese Academy of Engineering, and Vice-President of both China Land Science Society and Chinese Society for Urban Studies, made the case of using Virtual Geographic Environment (VGE) as a big data platform for smart city development and shared the experience of Shenzhen.

Prof Dongping Fang, Chair of School of Civil Engineering and Executive Director of Institute for Future Cities and Infrastructures, Tsinghua University, focused on how to enhance urban resilience in the face of natural and man-made disasters. He argued that a smart city should be viewed as a system of systems comprising physical, social and cyber infrastructures, and proposed the development of a city simulator integrating various disciplines for modeling, analysing and visualising urban resilience.

They were joined by academics and professionals from Japan, Korea, Singapore and the US, providing perspectives on the development of smart cities in the region, and government officials from the Hong Kong Government on the city’s experience.

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