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Siem Reap on track for smart city status with Japanese help

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An aerial view of Siem Reap town in July. The smart city project for Siem Reap was initiated in 2019. PUBLIC WORKS MINISTRY

Siem Reap on track for smart city status with Japanese help

A roadmap for the construction of a smart city in Siem Reap province has been drafted following research conducted by the Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) over the past year. JICA has also assisted with a study of how to go about mitigating impacts caused by the Covid-19 outbreak in the province.

The smart city concept refers to the development of intelligent and sustainable cities that use modern technology to address the impacts of rapid urbanisation such as traffic congestion, water and air quality or security and safety.

Provincial governor Tea Seiha said that in response to the studies, JICA and the Ministry of Land Management, Urban Planning and Construction – along with the Japanese Ministry of Land, Infrastructure, Transport and Tourism of Japan – have agreed to go forward on two projects.

The projects chosen are the smart city data collection and analysis programme and the CCTV system introduction plan for Siem Reap.

The smart city project for Siem Reap was initiated in 2019 in accordance with the plan provided by the ASEAN Smart Cities Network (ASCN). The provincial administration requested that JICA provide technical assistance for smart city planning and they agreed.

Seiha said the two projects had been agreed upon by the land ministries of both countries in coordination with JICA, but there would still be additional projects to come related to the Smart City concept.

“We have six more projects that we’ve proposed to the Japanese side. But these projects need to be discussed as well as researched further so we are not yet able to implement them,” he said.

He said these would bring positive benefits to Siem Reap and that the provincial administration has been using the lull in tourism to further develop infrastructure such as the recently finished 38-road improvement project.

“This smart city project involves many factors. It involves roads, parking lots, the environment, security cameras and more. It compliments projects like the improvement of the 38 roads. We still need to have more parking lots so that things can work smoothly and we especially need to be able to control traffic for the safety of passengers in the city,” he added.

Cambodia’s three largest cities – Phnom Penh, Siem Reap and Battambang – are included in the ASCN. The ASCN aims to increase regional connectivity and is made up of 26 cities from ASEAN states.

Cambodia Association of Travel Agents president Chhay Sivlin told The Post that these projects were very good because the state had designated the heritage sites, urban areas and the Tonle Sap Lake region as key areas for inclusion in the planning.

“If there are more plans as well as the addition of services, tourists will be able to extend their stay comfortably without running out of options for activities. We can turn the whole of Cambodia into a smart city as well as turn it into a main destination. In the past, the goal of Cambodia was to be an extension destination for people who were primarily visiting other neighbouring countries,” she said.

Seav Kuoy Yi

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