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
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
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
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.