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Economy and Business > Casa Asia turns to cooperation among Asian and European cities

Casa Asia turns to cooperation among Asian and European cities

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Asian cities bring together the greatest number of urban population of the world and they will still be the main contributors to the process of global urbanisation that, according to UN-Habitat will overcome 60% of world population by 2030. The explosion of urban population in Asian forces to work in a multilateral manner through global associations or projects that involve several cities of Europe and Asia or in a bilateral way with Asian cities through twinning on different levels, for example.

Among the global challenges within the field of sustainability we can find polution, urban sustainable mobility, acoustic polution, hydric and waste resource management, where city-to-city cooperation can be fundamental to find solutions. Regarding common challenges, we can highlight the improvement of citizens' life conditions, right to housing, promotion of efficient and sustainable economies that guarantee quality job creation such as start-up ecosystems.

New technologies can be a source of solutions for these global and shared challenges, which is why cooperation in knowledge transference regarding good practices and experiences of the main smart cities is essential not only to face these challenges but also to generate new opportunities.

One of Casa Asia's main work areas is cooperation among cities in these fields. Since 2015 it takes part in the programme World Cities of the European Union that manages the General Direction of Regional and Urban Policies devoted to the international collaboration of European cities with Asian cities. The participation in the programme International Urban Cooperation (IUC-Asia) was added to this programme, also by the European Union, devoted to strengthening urban cooperation with Asia regarding innovation in city management and sustainable development. And in 2017, thanks to the support of the State Secretary of Foreign Affairs and Cooperation and to the City Councils of Madrid, Barcelona and Valencia, Asia Innova programme has been devoted to cooperation with smart cities in Asia.

Within the framework of Asia Innova, more than 20 European and Asian specialists took part in the symposium of 2 days organised at the headquarters of Madrid City Council, representing multilateral associations (UN-Habitat), world city associations (CityNet or Metropolis), Asian cities of several countries (Singapore, Japan, China, India and Korea) and several private companies devoted to technological solutions for urban challenges (Everis or Telefónica). This double conference allowed to identify all the collaboration possibilities among Spanish cities and some Asian cities that are globally known as smart cities.

After the opening words by the State Secretary, Fernando García Casas, the General Coordinator of Madrid City Council, Luís Cueto, and the Director General of Casa Asia, David Navarro, the opening speech took place by the Director of Research and Ability Development of UN-Habitat, Eduardo López Moreno who centred his presentation in the implementation of the New Urban Agenda and the potential of City Initiatives, with specific references to the urbanisation process in Asia. This general framework served to then deepen into the diverse collaboration fields among urbs that participaing city associations offer, such as sharing tangible solutions for the sustainable development of cities in the case of CityNet, the inclusion of social and physical infrastructures for the development of smarts cities in the case of Metropolis, urban planning of metropolitan areas by Fundación Metrópoli, or direct cooperation with Spanish smart cities at the Congress of Smart Cities.

Regarding successful examples of Asian smart cities, Shinji Yamamura approached Tokyo's Japanese model; the Korean Jong Sung Huang explained how Smart Seoul initiatives have turned the city into a world reference; on the other hand, Yuan Feng analysed some of the reasons why Guangzhou is a reference regarding urban management on a world scale and the changes that new information and communication technologies are causing in Asian cities; Peter Yeung presented the Hong Kong case, which is still known as an example of successful technological innovation and integration ecosystem. The participation of the Assistant Director General of Innovation and Smart Cities, José Javier Rodríguez, managed to approach a successful Spanish case such as Madrid as an example of good practice.

The second conference as well as the encounter held in Valencia, thanks to the collaboration with its city council, followed the innovation linke in the Smart City field, but focused on start up ecosystemas as key economic actives to strenthen relations between cities and companies.

The Vice Mayor of Valencia, Sandra Gómez, opened the session highlighting the importance of young people and start-up ecosystems for the future of cities. Local representatives and Asian experts such as Kandarp Metha of IESE or Liwen Qin of Trendsea consultancy, stood out the great potential of Valencia in the sector thanks to the collaboration between the local government, universities and industry. So the program allowed to compare it to other Asian models that were presented, such as start-up ecosystems of Korea, Japan, Singapore, India and China.

Barcelona completed Asia Innova programme with a dynamic work session as a wrap up meeting, that allowed to review shared knowledge and best-practices among both sides during the edition of the event. The secretary of Metrópolis, Octavi de la Varga explained the complexities of metropolitan urban governance. The session also counted on the presence of Miquel Mateu, Director of the Asia-Pacific programme of Barcelona City Council, Joan Batlle, Director of the Digital Transformation of IMI and Sergi Saurí, Director of CENIT.

This encounter served to close this edition of Asia Innova Programme 2017 and to establish the following steps to be followed in collaboration among Asian and European cities.

 

 

Asia Innova in Madrid

 

Asia Innova in Valencia

 

Asia Innova in Barcelona

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