Technology and the City: Foundation for a Smart Nation

Technology and the City: Foundation for a Smart Nation

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Lacking land and natural resources, the Singapore government has consistently turned to information and communications technologies (ICT) and innovation to transform Singapore into a highly liveable city. Starting with early computerisation efforts in the 1960s, the government launched a succession of national ICT masterplans and e-government masterplans. These guided the use of ICT to enhance Singapore’s international competitiveness, upgrade the workforce, attract knowledge-intensive activities, and improve public sector service standards. The application of ICT has also helped to shape the physical environment and development of the city-state, enhancing integrated planning and development in Singapore. Various ICT systems, data hubs and digital tools have been developed to support the work of the public sector in areas ranging from urban planning, land management, housing, transport, to municipal services. With the launch of the Smart Nation vision in 2014, many initiatives have been carried out by the public sector in collaboration with various stakeholders—the private sector, civil society and citizens. The digital revolution continues to influence the way we live, work, play and learn. This Urban Systems Study charts Singapore’s experience in developing and leveraging ICT in its development journey over the past five decades.

“Our Smart Nation initiative is actually not about technology. It is really about how we apply technology to enhance the quality of life for our citizens, to create greater opportunities for everyone to prosper and thrive in this new world where economic restructuring is occurring at an unprecedented pace and, to also strengthen community cohesion. In other words, it is about people, quality of life, opportunities and communities. Technology is only a means to an end.”

Dr Vivian Balakrishnan, Minister-in-Charge of the Smart Nation Initiative