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|The central city of Danang where the 25th APEC Economic Leaders' Week took place last year|
The idea of forming ASEAN smart cities network was proposed by Singaporean PM Lee Hsien Loong, who visited all the three Vietnamese cities last year and were very impressed with rapid urban development there.
“Their inclusion in the smart cities network will add to ASEAN's vibrancy," according to PM Lee.
The network aims to better connect digital infrastructure and services like e-payments across the region.
According to the leaders’ Concept Note, most of ASEAN’s growth has been, and will continue to be, driven by urban centers, with 90 million more people expected to urbanize by 2030 and “middleweight” cities of between 200,000 and two million residents forecast to drive 40 per cent of the region’s growth.
However, this rapid urbanisation is not without its challenges as it has implications on important isues such as city congestion, water/air quality, poverty, rising inequalities, urban and rurval divide, citizen security and safety.