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Explosive Innovative Growth in Asian Cities

Explosive Innovative Growth in Asian Cities

Urbanization has hit hardest in Asia and for the past decade, explosive growth in many Asian cities has continued to put strain on resources and infrastructures.  In fact, in at least thirty-six cities in world, the population exceeds 10 million citizens.  Astoundingly, twenty of these cities are in Asia with three in Southeast Asia including Jakarta, Bangkok, and Manila.  With this growth, many wonder what steps governments are taking to ensure Asia’s success going forward.

 

While the United States and Europe continue to experience a slowdown in terms of population growth, Asia is experiencing population growth that is more than double in size of Western and European nations.  Small cities are exploding into innovative hubs and city clusters that are covering five percent of the world’s surface.  Innovations from these city centers continue to dominate the world.  In fact, this urbanization is occurring at such a pace that many experts warn that this rapid expansion could create unprecedented problems.  It is predicted that Indonesia will reach almost ninety percent of total population by 2045.  This is twelve percent higher than the global average for 2050, estimated by the United Nations.

 

In Asian cities, governments have demonstrated a response to urbanization that includes citizen participation, flexibility, and adaption.  In Jakarta, a mobile-based application allows citizens to report concerns such as power outages, flooding, and waste control issues immediately to the government, which in turn is able to respond promptly and effectively.  The application then routes these reports to the appropriate official in charge, allowing them to delegate tasks to subordinates while also personally responding to citizen concerns.  There are over 30,000 users taking advantage of the application with over 100 daily reports.

 

Basic services are often overwhelmed when urbanization comes into play.  Housing, water, and transportation services can struggle to keep up with demand.  In Jakarta, citizens are already seeing that adequate housing is quickly becoming an issue while air and water pollution is rampant throughout Bangkok.  In many Asian cities, like Singapore, the solution to these problems has been the adoption of self-services, like Beeline.  Beeline is a mobile application that citizens use to indicate which route bus drivers should take, based upon demand.  This ensures the adequate and responsible use of services and resources while allowing citizens to obtain the best service possible.

 

But cities will need to think beyond mobile applications and self-services if they really want to combat potential economic growth problems.  Cities that encourage new business models and investments into infrastructure will need to be undertaken to ensure that this explosive and innovative growth does not falter.

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