Creating a smart city for all requires effort, focus and an inclusion-oriented mindset. The Singapore of the future must keep this in mind.

SINGAPORE (Aug 12): When Natasha (not her real name) visited San Francisco for the first time in June, she was excited to see what the beating heart of the world’s tech industry looked like. A senior executive at a global Big Tech company, she was on a work trip and decided to do some sightseeing. Silicon Valley was all gleaming machines and glass windows, so nothing prepared her for what she would see on the streets of downtown San Francisco.

Everywhere she went, there were displaced and homeless people sleeping on the street or squatting on corners, begging for food and money. The city smelt awful — of human excrement and trash rotting in the 40°C heat. Meanwhile, well-heeled executives, not unlike herself, would zoom past the rough sleepers on the sidewalks on e-scooters, AirPods plugged in, with nary a second glance at their fellow residents. “It made me very uncomfortable,” she tells The Edge Singapore. “I never imagined it would be that bad.”

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