Onward, Singapore: Setting the New Standard for Urban Innovation
For all the unprecedented urban development taking hold of Asia lately, China has a way of hogging the limelight. But the often undercelebrated city-state of Singapore has quite a few programs underway that place it at the forefront of smart cities across the globe, Cohen writes.
With ownership-oriented public housing, unheard-of personal vehicle tax rates (well in excess of 100%), world-class mass rapid transit, leading-edge water management, and high-tech traffic monitoring, the city has quite deservedly earned a reputation in the region for aggressively (and effectively) implementing forward-thinking technologies.
On the flip side, Cohen notes that there's room for improvement: "the culture appears to be quite risk averse... I do not believe Singapore is doing enough to encourage local innovation to meet the needs of its smart infrastructure. It appears the bias is much more on tried and true products from branded multinationals."
But in the end, he concedes that the current state of the city is astonishing, all considered. "Given that it was relatively poor only a few decades ago, it is impressive to see how Singapore is now a robust, vibrant, multi-cultural, clean, and safe place to be."