SEOUL, Nov. 24 (Yonhap) — The Republic of Korea said Sunday it will build the country’s first “smart city” in the southern port city of Busan by 2024, where all infrastructure facilities will be maintained and controlled based on big data collected through internet of things sensors.

In the Busan Eco Delta City (EDC) on a lot of 2.8 square kilometers, a cluster for five innovative projects such as healthcare will be formed. Big data, the internet of things, artificial intelligence (AI) and robots will be utilized to improve the quality of residents’ lives and tackle urbanization challenges, according to the Ministry of Land, Infrastructure and Transport.

The groundbreaking ceremony was held earlier on the day ahead of the 2019 South Korea-ASEAN summit scheduled to take place in Busan from Nov. 25-26.

President Moon Jae-in and Transport Minister Kim Hyun-mee attended the event and met with officials from ASEAN countries.

In January last year, the ministry designated EDC and a residential sector in Sejong, the country’s administrative hub, as the nation’s two pilot smart cities. The Sejong smart city project has yet to take off.

EDC will focus on water management and recycling services as well as robotics services for delivery, facility checking, crackdowns on illegal parking and measurement of fine dust, the ministry said.

The government will have 56 households move into EDC’s residential complex at the end of 2021, while speeding up the construction of infrastructure required to apply the cutting-edge technologies, it said.

“As smart infrastructure and innovative technologies will be applied to the Busan smart city from the outset, it will help resolve energy, traffic, safety and environment issues involving rapid urbanization,” a ministry official said. Thailand’s Digital Economy Promotion Agency and Singapore’s urban and infrastructure consultancy Surbana Jurong showed their interest in the Korean smart city project, according to the ministry.

On Saturday, Moon and Singapore’s Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong signed a deal in Seoul to strengthen partnerships in various fields that include smart cities. As ASEAN nations’ urbanization ratio jumped to 48 per cent, or 310 million people, in 2017 from 18 percent, or 40 million, in the 1960s, demand for advanced smart infrastructure in cities has been on the rise.

As a result, they gathered in Singapore in November last year to launch an ASEAN smart city network aimed at transforming 26 ASEAN cities into smart cities, it said.  

To win smart city projects in the region, Seoul has signed initial deals with Indonesia, Malaysia, Singapore and Thailand and is in talks with Brunei and Cambodia for the projects.

KPL