Smart City to Smart Region
Smart City has been a hot topic in Hong Kong for a couple of years. It is an all encompassing topic covering work, living, education, transportation, utilities, environment, to name a few. In March this year, China's National Development and Reform Council called for the development of the Pearl River Delta, including Hong Kong and Macau, a prototypical regional development. For the rest of this post, PRD includes HK and Macau.
Unlike regional developments in the US and Europe, Asia has most of the most populated mega-cities (population over 10 million). The total registered population of the PRD (incl HK and Macau) is about 60M and near 70M if temporary populations are included.
Both opportunities and challenges are unique in that no western reference is available. The San Francisco Bay Area, where the Silicon Valley is located), has a population a little over 7 million. By population, the PRD is about the same as large countries in Western Europe such the UK, France and Germany.
When viewed in the light the PRD as an economic powerhouse and likely a key port of the Maritime Silk Road, a fascinating leap of vision emerges: The PRD as a Smart Region. Can HK be a leading example of smart city for a Smart PRD? This vision can be a driver of economic and innovation developments for the region in general, HK in particular, the next 10 years.