On 17 March, IURC Asia & Australasia and RMIT University hosted a webinar on Innovation Precincts, featuring four guest city speakers: Madrid, Incheon, Melbourne, and Sejong. Each city focused on the topics of urban structure, innovation, social, or sustainable precincts and shared case studies of said urban innovation precincts. Through CityNet, Sejong is participating in the IURC project, while Incheon is participating in the ICP-AGIR project.
Madrid brought the webinar to a strong start by introducing the Madrid Nuevo Norte (MNN) project. The MNN project contains the city’s master plan to merge sustainability all around the city. Some focuses from MNN include Mobility Strategy, Energy Systems, Universal Accessibility, Circular Economy, and SuDs (water footprints). The city expands and applies these focuses into creating energy buildings, prioritizing low-carbon mobility, integrating nature-based solutions methods, maximizing bio-based materials, and incentivizing systems around the city of Madrid.
Moreover, the city emphasizes both green and blue infrastructures, which help to integrate nature into the city directly. The city of Madrid is currently experiencing barriers specifically in technical, regulatory, and financial aspects; however, they believe that the MNN project will bring positive aspects and give an opportunity to restructuring the supply chain, to aggregate demand, and to create innovative finance to resolve project barriers.
While Madrid focused on sustainable cities, Incheon highlighted harmonized infrastructure around new port implementation. Incheon’s regeneration project also delivers wide implementation approaches around the city, such as recreating historical parks, renovating pedestrian roads, and delivering shorter transportation routes around the city. However, the main focus of the development is on the port area. The city created a smooth connection to the port by connecting pedestrian underpasses, clearing detour overpasses, and rerouting an open-port bus road. The result of these implementations showed the city’s efforts to not only create a smart and sustainable city but also the weight it places on citizens’ wellbeing in general. Incheon develops technology while consciously balancing the needs of its citizens.
The city of Melbourne shared on three big categories from innovation precincts: Strategic Partnership, Creating and Spaces for Innovation, Innovation and Enterprise. The project Arden Renewal Area and Innovation Hub is a renewal precinct. It brings new infrastructure, such as a new metro and a hospital. It also brings economic benefit to support 34,000 jobs and 15,000 residents. The Arden Renewal Area and Innovation Hub project supports the city’s goal to become a city more focused on life science industries, education, and digital technology. Other projects will also be applied in the city, hoping to bring a positive wave to Melbourne.
Finally, Sejong showed its plan to advance the city by merging nature, people, and even technology all at once. Sejong was built as a planned city and was selected as one of two National Pilot Smart Cities. Now the city is using its advantages to apply the newest technology around the city. As one of the examples, Sejong shared about their tech test bed that utilizes 4th Industrial Revolution technology, demonstrating smart technology from over 400 domestic & international companies. The city touched on various platforms in Energy & Environment, Culture & Shopping, Mobility, Education, Jobs, and Healthcare. With its citizens, Sejong plans to grow and become a leading World-Class Smart City.
Throughout the four cities’ presentation on innovation precincts, each city distinguished their cities with their unique styles and focuses on plans and projects. However, the one thing that all the cities shared was the intention and effort to bring a better life to their citizens, whether through sustainability, innovation, or technology. All of their projects started with people and continue to focus on benefiting citizens’ wellbeing and lifestyles.
Doeun Summer Kim is a Program Assistant at CityNet, where she helps coordinate EU programmes in the Republic of Korea. She is currently serving as Helpdesk Support for IURC Asia & Australasia and ICP-AGIR Asia. Prior to joining CityNet, she worked in the public sector in the United States and for private companies in the Republic of Korea. Summer obtained a Bachelor of Science in Human Resource Development from the University of Minnesota – Twin Cities, with a minor in Human Resources Industrial Relations.