Lead: Mr Poon King Wang (LKYCIC, SUTD)
Team: Dr Andy Zheng, Dr Samuel Chng, Ms Julienne Chen, Mr Norakmal Hakim bin Norhashim, Ms Sarah Gan Li Hui, Mr Mohamed Salihin Subhan, Dr Gayathri Haridas, Mr Thijs Willems, Mr Galvyn Goh Zi An, Ms Holly Lynn Apsley (LKYCIC, SUTD)

How can cities become and stay smart? The Smart Cities Lab under the Chen Tianqiao Programme on Urban Innovation at the Lee Kuan Yew Centre for Innovative Cities aims to answer this question by focusing on three thrusts :

  1. Smart People
    How can smart cities develop smart people through work and education?
    A city is only as smart as what its people do. They need to be smart too. Moreover, recent economic, social and political changes around the world has made one thing clear: even as we build better buildings, more intelligent transport and smarter homes, we must also innovate in the social institutions of work and education. Together, they develop the long term capabilities that will secure a smart city’s future.‌
  2. Smart Tools
    What tools do smart people need to build smart government, businesses, and communities?
    A city is only as smart as what its people do with technology. It is not what technologies are, but what technologies do, and what we do with them that make them useful. Smart cities result from people transforming technologies into tools that deliver social and economic outcomes. These tools empower people, make more responsive policies, build more productive businesses, and enable more inclusive community engagement. All these can in turn ensure a society stays strong and prosperous, and not efficient but divided.‌
  3. Smart Scaling
    How can smart tools scale across a network of smart cities for greater impact?
    Many smart city technology test-beds have difficulty scaling beyond the pilot phase. Cities and companies – especially small ones – also find it challenging to scale their innovations to the region and beyond. The faster and easier such tools and innovations can propagate across a network of cities, the greater their likely impact, and their potential to attract the resources needed.
1 May 2015
Chen Tianqiao


The above three thrusts guide the projects that will be pursued. It is envisioned that each of the projects pursued will fall into at least two of the above thrusts.

    • Smart Work and Education
      Lead: Mr Poon King Wang
      Collaborator(s): team members from Living with Technology: Future of Work, Education, and Healthcare

      This project will explore a task-based approach to work and education, with the goal of helping people thrive better even as technology disrupts economy and society. It will build on the work in the NRF/MND-funded project Future of Cities – Living with Technology: Future of Work, Education and Healthcare.The project will have two components:

      • Examining in detail the relationship between tasks, skills, work, education technologies, and their contribution to employment growth;
      • Building prototypes of tools and databases to demonstrate their efficacy to help workers and students better prepare for disruption, and to better transition if and when they are displaced.
    • Smart and Scaleable
      Lead: Dr Andy Zheng
      Collaborator(s): project-specific – see below

      This project will explore how cities and companies can scale their innovative solutions (e.g. smart tools) from pilot phase to other cities. It will build on the experiences of a small set of emerging smart tools; it will also examine emerging models in areas such as the globalisation of expertise networks, sharing economy and e-commerce.To explore the question for scale with speed, this project will convene discussions with interested entrepreneurs, scholars and policy makers, in an effort to search for answers. For the initial set of smart tools, the project has identified a few potential projects:

      • IDC project on Smart Recycling with Dr Lyle Fearnley (building on the work in the LKYCIC Future of Cities – Sustainable Futures project, and the LKYCIC Future of Cities – Living with Technology project);
      • Potential collaboration with Aspiring Citizens Cleantech, on its data exchange for mobility services;
      • Potential collaboration with a sharing economy company.
    • Community Engagement
      Lead: Ms Julienne Chen

      This project will explore how digital tools can expand community engagement, specifically how they can be used increase the number and representation of people engaged and the ways they are engaged. Research may range from understanding and leveraging the intrinsic motivations for people to engage, to explorations of the effectiveness and impact of different engagement digital tools – from simple tools such as text messaging and chatbots, to more elaborate platforms focused on urban informatics and using volunteered geographic information, sensors and digital technologies as a way to understand how people are engaging and interacting with the city in their everyday lives.

      See here for a collection of engagement practices that will serve as a starting point to inform this work, and that we will continue to add to as we go.‌
    • See also projects under Future of Cities — Future Digital Economies and Digital Societies.