Southeast Asia is the next big thing in the high-end urban development arena with experts strongly suggesting that the bustling region, where several of the world’s most liveable cities can be found, “is only set to soar.” It is not far-fetched that in due time a metropolis in the exploding region will be counted as among the best in terms of global liveability index.
Andrew Staples, global editorial director of the Economist Corporate Network (ECN), appears firmly convinced that from Southeast Asia a city will soon barge into the elite Top 10 circle of the Global Liveability Index. Per Property Report, ECN is the same entity that published the 2018 edition of the index, in which Singapore is listed as the best performer in the region.
The Lion City, however, only made it to slot number 37 though it notably enjoys a commanding lead over other cities in the region. Kuala Lumpur in Malaysia was also included in the 2018 index but way below at 78th spot.
Yet according to Staples, “there’s huge positive potential to really leapfrog ahead of some of the urban environments that we see elsewhere in the world if there’s commitment to innovation and investing in infrastructure.”
And for Southeast Asia’s liveability index to climb higher in the future, Staples said city planners in the region need to make use of creative approach, specifically to employ “lateral thinking in terms of mobility, public transportation, and addressing demands by urbanites.”
Staples said that over the coming decades, Southeast Asia will likely see a massive migration that would lead to overpopulation of cities in the region. This means that governments will be hard-pressed to address rapid urbanisation, which is only among the great challenges that await them.
As the economies of these cities grow in parallel with the expanding population, authorities will have to offer concrete solutions on congestion and pollution, and ultimately make the cities in the region more liveable amidst the issues expected to arise due to climate change, Staples added.
Resilience is the key to take on these challenges head-on, Staples stressed, indicating too fortunately that technology is at the disposal of regional governments to make the task easier and ensure success.
Future Smart Cities
The use of available technology, Staples said, could potentially solve or mitigate most if not all of the challenges posed by rapid urbanisation. Such a scenario would be best manifested in the building of so-called smart cities that in turn could generate economic activities costing tens of billions of dollars plus the likelihood of seeing real-life benefits.
In a report by McKinsey Global Institute, Property Report said, cities that were designed to operate on smart environment stand to improve quality of life by up to 30 percent.