The future of the cities

23 / 09 / 22 - 3 minute read

As populations expand, more and more people will gravitate towards cities. But how should urban centres be shaped to improve life for the people living there while simultaneously addressing global challenges?

Jaewon Peter Chun first realised just how different cities could be after a visit to Amsterdam in the early 1990s. Chun was amazed how back then the Dutch capital excluded cars from the city centre and chose to build bike paths instead. As Chun co

Rebuilding Ukraine

As President of the World Smart Cities Forum (WSCF), a non-profit organisation based in London, Chun now advises governments worldwide on establishing smart city initiatives using his tech sandbox model. Expertise gathered along the way includes being nominated as a master planner for a $4 billion South Korean Smart City national pilot project.

Since 2020, Chun has also been working on smart city projects in Hanoi and, more recently, in the Ukrainian cities of Kyiv and Lviv. Even during wartime, Ukraine is brimming with potential and is keen to discuss how to rebuild cities using the best tech solutions and architecture.

Chun wants to try and build bases for healthcare and help digitally design regenerated cities in the country. “A smart city requires a lot of money and resources. But we can provide a better way forward and secure more financial aid by gaining government support from countries and creating a peer group of cities to share their resources. We plan to host promotions in more than 15 countries by the end of 2023.”

You must spend time defining the problems of an urban area and working out which problems should be prioritised. We try to work out whose solution or technology could best work so that we can test it and build a blueprint.

Jaewon Peter Chun

A new smart social city concept

In the aftermath of COVID-19, cities need to seek new ways and adapt to lure people back downtown, admits Chun. “In New York, some 420,000 people exited the city during the pandemic to care for their kids and because everything shut down. Many of these won’t come back post-COVID as they don’t see the relevance or the benefits.” Thankfully, the pandemic plus the war in Ukraine highlight the importance of cities that are resilient, liveable and sustainable. Cities now must work out how to allocate resources to support these ever more concrete issues while placing people at the heart of their solutions. As Chun points out, people are the most essential aspect to take care of when it comes to smart cities. In Chun’s view, the core stakeholders in an urban area constitute the cradle of the data on which to build future cities.

“Computers can work out these algorithms so that we can achieve greater synergy resulting in better experiences for those living in cities.”

Nikki Greenberg

Tech solutions can help the elderly

Nikki Greenberg, thought leader and founder of Real Estate of the Future, views technology as a way of silently, in the background, optimising the places where we live. "At the end of the day, it’s about quality of life – a combination of high-tech, low-tech, and no-tech solutions. What you want to have is a place that is wonderfully designed.” Technology can, for a start, adapt cities better for an ageing population. Voice technology solutions, where the elderly just talk to a device rather than having to grapple with unfamiliar technology, can be applied to help them navigate a city and its total services and amenities. Smart cities can also bring about greater efficiencies. Take, for example, sequencing traffic lights to ease traffic flows. Or guiding people into parking spots, so they’re not endlessly circling, causing more pollution. Greenberg comments, 

Jaewon Peter Chun

President of of the World Smart Cities Forum (WSCF)

Investment Horizons 2022 – NEXT NOW for Cities and Communities

Nikki Greenberg and Jaewon Peter Chun are among the thought leaders appearing at this year’s Investment Horizons. Held on 17 November this summit will focus on infrastructure innovation and real estate investment intelligence to unlock tomorrow’s value through advanced, sustainable living solutions for today’s and tomorrow’s smart cities. Learn more:

Nikki Greenberg

Thought leader and founder of Real Estate of the Future