Musings: Smart City + Arts and Culture = Wholesome city


The objective of the “Smart Cities Mission” is to promote cities that provide core infrastructure and improve the quality of living of citizens, develop a clean and sustainable environment, and facilitate application of “Smart” Solutions, thereby driving economic growth.

The cities will be operated as Centrally Sponsored Schemes where the Central Government will fund the development of the city. There is also an establishment of creative clusters or art and cultural districts within Smart Cities that help attract, retain and foster the creative labor that the cities need to be successful and competitive.

images from the KLIAF’s September 2017 production “Bon Voyage

Creative clusters or cultural districts are defined as well-recognized, labeled areas of a city in which a high concentration of art and cultural facilities and programs serve as the main attraction for tourists. These clusters or districts help to enhance the local economies, to increase the depth of local cultural capacity and to create and foster a sense of pride and belonging to a city. It can create a large number of activities such as visits to art and craft galleries, public spaces for performing arts and other city’s culture to be available for public access at all time.

Cultural districts may also have unique visitor services such as boutique hotels or venues such as performing arts center that can facilitate a meeting, convention, group tour or event hosted due to its attraction as a destination in a creative environment. Each city can highlight what is unique for its city at the cultural district and local and foreign visitors will be attracted to visit and use the facilities and infrastructure prepared.

Based on a report prepared by Ernst and Young for the Federation of Indian Chambers of Commerce & Industry (FICCI) highlighted these essential characteristics of creative clusters:

– Locally available community that has unique character and resources

– Act as a city’s focal point that can brand its unique cultural identity and historical significance

– Has the potential to attract economic tax incentives and provide a further boost to the sector

– Help to support and publicize the local non-profit cultural organizations

– Help to improve the living condition and quality of life of its neighborhoods

– Provide a significant economic impact on cities, attracting businesses, tourists, and local residents

For the creative clusters in the Smart City mission to be effective, the private sector also needs to participate as it is crucial to establish a creative cluster that has skills in consulting, data analytics, project implementation, and management. This is where the collaboration between people with creativity and structure will produce benefits that can increase the tourism industry, develop skills nurture innovation and foster growth in the commercial creative industries, improve country’s productivity and enhance overall economic growth. Thus, this shows that not only the government organization but also private sectors to play a role in this initiative.

For effective implementation of creative clusters in the Smart City mission, the participation of the private sector would be crucial. Private players can be involved in establishing creative clusters or creative districts in the following ways:

An example of this can be seen in our neighboring country, Singapore, where FutureEverything under CityVerve is the UK’s demonstrator for the Internet of Things (IoT) and smart cities.

Future Everything collaborated for two years with the Singapore Government and local communities such as the designers, technologists, artist, and urbanists to come up with innovations to develop the capability of a city.

These shows that not only strategists are needed but also artists as the collaboration between people with left brain and right brain will produce an innovation that people has never seen before.


This note was written by Nura Adila Asri, who is also the author behind Nura’s Estetik ( Based in Kuala Lumpur, her curations explore on her love for buildings and fashion. Currently, she is a Summer Associate for Kuala Lumpur International Arts Festival , working on an economic impact assessment report. Who knows what her next move will be?

pictures taken from KLIAF’s September 2017 production of “Bon Voyage

CSR (Community Outreach Program) Partner

LendLease Foundation
Main Sponsor
Yayasan Hasanah Tulips Movement PTPK Caring Pharmacy A-Day ElleForElle

Subscribe to KLIAF newsletter