ISCN Global Mixer - Rethinking 'Smart': Insights for Community-Driven Innovation in Thailand

In the last ISCN Global Mixer of the Urban October Series Dr Non Arkara shared his experience as a smart city expert in Thailand and illustrated some key principles for developing smart cities.

Event details

30.10.2023, 11:00 - 11:30
Event type
Online (virtual)


Key take-aways

  • Smart cities are citizen centric. Technologies should work quietly in the background to solve problems and enhance lives, not drive cities' futures. 
  • Smart cities need public-private-people partnerships. Governments, companies, and most importantly citizens must collaborate to determine shared goals and solutions.
  • Smart cities should be data-driven, using data to identify issues and guide priorities, not beliefs or assumptions. 

Dr Non Arkara, Senior Expert at the Digital Economy Promotion Agency (depa) of Thailand, shared his experience with smart city development with the audience. He stressed that smart cities are not only about technology and funding, but about citizen participation and data. Smart city success requires consistency, and always putting people first - giving them awareness and agency to collaborate.

Mr Arkara cautioned against the “well-intentioned parent problem” – city governments have to make sure that innovation or technology they are applying really benefits its citizens. Consequently, a key factor is to not apply technology for its own sake, but for the wellbeing of people.

He illustrated his point with some illuminating examples on how to develop a real smart city. The city of Nakhon Si Thammarat in Thailand applied the principle of citizen participation and developed a crowdsourced app to report flooding problems, cheaply solving the root cause. This example showed in an impressive way, that innovative solutions can be simple