Is smart city healthy city?

Cheming Yang

I recently went to Hong Kong to attend a meeting. Like most business trips that I had in HK, in and out quickly with no time to peek around.

HK is a highly efficient city and quite popular for international meeting organizers due to many reasons, the convenience of flying there for one. It has been a hub for quite a number of international flight companies and its international airport is quite cozy and entertaining. The transportation is visitor friendly as well. Street cars, buses and taxis abound. The airport express is easy to access. Passengers can check in their bags in the HK station and keep exploring the city in the final minutes before departing. And you can see the breathtaking view of the Victoria Harbor from roof tops.

Hong Kongis no doubt a smart city of some sort at this age. You can stroll the city in the controlled environment of connected buildings and subways without going outdoors in Hong Kong island. Looking out the glass walls or ceilings, you can see high rises surrounding you or meandering upward and downward. If you look really hard, you will find there is one thing that is difficult to find, green.

Hong Kong island is a very rocky island geologically. In this small area of land, a lot of tall buildings are erected. It is indeed a jungle of concrete. People can stay in buildings and get every thing done therein to satisfy the physiological and psychological needs without setting foot on the soil.

A smart city denotes the idea that it is well controlled. From the creation of city, people long for living in an environment free from natural threats ranging from flood to bugs. When computers are imbedded with concrete, we feel that we have more control over our living environment. In order to accommodate both availability of technology and economy of scale, more and more people depend on living and working in high rises packed together in crowded cities globally. As such, we are more and more removed from the green.

However, we cannot stay healthy by merely staring at the green scenery in display panels. It is also important for a smart city to help its residents to stay healthy. Not just store their health data in the clouds or monitor their health from the clouds. Put people back in physical touch with the mother earth. That is really one of the many important factors that a smart city should take into consideration.


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