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The U.S.-ASEAN Smart Cities Partnership (USASCP) was launched by Vice President Pence at the 2018 U.S.-ASEAN Summit in Singapore.  The Departments of State, Commerce, and Transportation; National Science Foundation; USAID; USTDA; and others have launched 20 projects to improve transportation, water and resource reuse, and health system capacity for cities in the ASEAN Smart Cities Network (ASCN).

The USASCP is a key component of demonstrating our commitment to ASEAN and its role at the heart of the Indo-Pacific.  The USASCP seeks to harness U.S. public and private sector expertise to collaborate with the 26 ASCN participating cities to meet the varied challenges of rapid urbanization and to help improve the quality of life for people in the region.

The three main goals of the USASCP are to: 1) Promote U.S. private sector engagement in smart, sustainable city solutions and advance capacity of urban service delivery in ASEAN; 2) Share best practices and technical collaboration among U.S. cities, universities, and industry leaders with their counterparts in the ASCN; and 3) Strengthen the digital economy and cybersecurity capability in ASCN cities.


Private Sector Engagement:  The U.S. private sector and U.S. government shared best practices on smart, sustainable cities at the Third Indo-Pacific Business Forum and the ASEAN Smart Cities Network High-Level Forum in October 2020.  In early 2020, U.S. Embassy Jakarta organized an Indonesian delegation visit to San Antonio to meet U.S. industry experts and learn about power distribution systems for smart cities.  Additionally, U.S. private sector companies such as Mastercard presented their intelligent mobility solutions and innovative payment systems to over 130 ASEAN stakeholders during recent discussions on sustainable transportation.  USASCP is planning further sessions for U.S. businesses and Southeast Asian city authorities, as well as trade events and reverse trade missions for ASEAN cities.

Water Security:  City pairings between ASEAN and U.S. cities focus on delivery of essential urban water services, including improved access, stormwater management, treatment, and reuse.  These pairings strengthen water security through the exchange of knowledge, goods, and services between utilities and/or management districts.  The program, called Water Smart Engagements (WiSE), is implemented in conjunction with the Department of State and the U.S. Water Partnership.  In addition to the following city pairs, another two pairs will be announced in the coming year:

  • Phuket, Thailand, and Milwaukee, Wisconsin
  • Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam, and San Francisco, California
  • Johor Bahru, Malaysia, and Washington, D.C.

Transportation:  City pairs in transportation focus on policy, planning, and technology in smart transportation solutions.  The Department of Transportation is hosting a series of regional webinars in 2020 in advance of onsite activities.  The USASCP transportation partnership focuses on the following city pairs:

  • Phnom Penh, Cambodia, and Boston, Massachusetts
  • Jakarta, Indonesia, and Los Angeles, California
  • Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, and Dallas, Texas
  • Phuket, Thailand, and Las Vegas, Nevada
  • Johor Bahru, Malaysia, and Portland, Oregon

Innovation Research Grants and University Partnerships: USASCP partners with the National Science Foundation to support a range of technological and socio-economic innovations across sectors, including: renewable energy-generating bike lanes (Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia); assessing the socio-economic impacts of the digital/informal economy (Jakarta, Indonesia); biophysical and social data collection for decision-making in smart garden alleys (Makassar, Indonesia); and artificial intelligence for crowd and traffic analysis and congestion mitigation (Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam).

Health in Cities: USASCP is working with the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and our embassies in the region to increase resiliency of local health care infrastructure as part of the U.S.-ASEAN Health Futures initiative.  An initial grant will go to Cambodia for medical records digitization in three ASCN cities.

Integrated Urban Services: This program will demonstrate the socio-economic value and urban benefits of resource recovery and reuse through integrated systems (e.g. water, waste, food) that promote greater efficiency, improve water and energy security, and mitigate public health concerns.  It will be implemented in cooperation with Department of Energy’s National Renewable Energy Laboratory.

Energy Systems Modelling and Cybersecurity: USASCP in collaboration with the Department of Energy’s Pacific Northwest National Labs plans to promote renewable energy integration within existing power grids and apply socio-economic modelling to understand demand for urban services.  Human and system resources will be strengthened to mitigate cybersecurity risks to the energy grid.

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