Smart Technologies Transforming the Way We Live
Ms. Simone Thorne Mora Quinones, Permanent Secretary of the Ministry of Housing and Urban Development accompanied by Ms. Marie Hinds, Deputy Permanent Secretary of Planning and Development just returned home from attending the 2018 Korea-LAC Future Cooperation Forum, held in Conrad, Seoul. The forum which was held from June 28-29, 2018 had as its theme, “Smart Cities and Urban Regeneration”. The conference was well attended with participants from the Korea, the Caribbean and Latin America.
Both PS Thorne-Mora and PS Hinds spoke on existing and potential projects the Government has advanced in order to regenerate our aging cities, namely Port of Spain and San Fernando. PS Thorne-Mora’s presentation spoke to smart solutions driven by an ICT platform that have been implemented over the last few years by public sector entities, namely the Ministries of Trade and Industry, Works and Transport, Public Utilities and National Security. The PS articulated the importance of these solutions in creating greater efficiencies in the delivery of government services to improve the lives of all citizens. The GORTT’s National Universal Service Policy is therefore viewed as an opportunity to accelerate growth and investment in the Information and Communication Technology (ICT) sector which in turn will stimulate innovation in other sectors.
PS Thorne-Mora noted in her presentation that, “while Trinidad and Tobago has definitive plans regarding regeneration of its urban spaces, the country planners are now in the process of conceptualising a smart city model specific to this country’s unique reality. Nevertheless, some strides have already been made in key sectors to introduce and integrate some smart solutions into our urban and peri urban spaces to facilitate greater connectivity, seamless transfer of e-government services, more energy efficient use of utilities, better road and traffic management, as well as safety and security measures”.
PS Hinds’ presentation focused on new projects in Trinidad and Tobago that could benefit from bilateral and multilateral cooperation from partner states. The event provided an excellent opportunity for the exchange of ideas and learning experiences as countries acknowledged their specific and communal challenges towards realising sustainable development. It is expected that the learnings from the Forum can be translated into components and features of the projects presented and used to replicate a future smart city model and urban regeneration projects.
The focus of this 2018 Forum is consistent with the goals of Trinidad and Tobago’s National Development Strategy (Vision 2030) which seeks to address issues such as low adoption rates of ICT services, connectivity throughout the country and also directly addresses the need for quality infrastructure through the use of “smart technologies”.
The Ministry of Housing and Urban Development has a mandate to develop the urban centres and to undertake urban renewal, ensuring our town and cities become modern and sustainable communities. Currently, the Ministry is undertaking the regeneration of East Port of Spain. Further, the Ministry of Planning and Development is involved in an urban regeneration project – the San Fernando Waterfront Redevelopment Project – and will greatly benefit from the exchanges, case studies and presentations delivered at the Forum.