Vietnam needs to settle fundamental problems before it can think of building smart cities, experts say.
The Da Nang City People’s Committee has announced it will spend VND2.1 trillion to implement a smart city project from now to 2025.
To date, more than 30 cities and provinces have been implementing or have begun preparing for similar projects.
Meanwhile, some analysts say that local authorities have been too hasty to build smart cities, though they think agree with the concept.
Nguyen Van Ngai, vice rector of Hoa Sen University, said that there was a ‘smart city rush’ which follows the ‘airport rush’, ‘university rush’ and a movement to build administration centers.
He said while local authorities have called on to build smart cities, their understanding about smart cities remains vague.
Authorities need to develop modern, clean and safe cities. Local people want authorities to gather strength on settling urgent problems such as pollution, flooding, traffic jam, accidents and robberies before thinking of smart cities.
An analyst, agreeing with Ngai, said it is easy to attract foreign investors. “They will come if they can see promising profits. However, before inviting them to Vietnam, local authorities need to think about how to program the development of the cities, and how much to budget for smart city plans and other issues.”
He said Vietnam needs to learn a lesson from the heavy-industry development plan initiated in the 1970s. It was too hasty to implement the plan when it lacked capital and technologies.
“Smart city sounds ‘fashionable’. But in the context of a scanty budget,” he said, “local authorities have to prioritize to spend money on the most essential needs.”
Meanwhile, Vo Kim Cuong, former deputy chief architect of HCM City, said there was no need to worry about ‘smart city rush’, saying that it is the era of IT and digital technology application in urban area management.
Cuong pointed out that there will be obstacles in building smart cities.
First, the IT era is an era of communication, but the ability of Vietnamese to cooperate and exchange information is poor.
Second, to have smart cities, it is necessary to have information systems for exchange. Agencies and individuals need to have the desire to provide information and get shared information.
Third, it’s necessary to re-train and upgrade people’s knowledge in science and technology. Fourth, financial capability is limited.
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