Building Back Smarter Key to Shock-Proofing Southeast Asia's Urban Centers



To prepare for future shocks, Southeast Asian cities should adopt a human-centered approach to planning and development and take advantage of smart and evidence-based solutions to address urban challenges, said experts at the Asian Development Bank's (ADB) Southeast Asia Development Symposium (SEADS) 2021. 

At the session, "Reinventing Smart Cities after COVID-19," the experts said such an approach can enable cities to tunnel through learning curves on their path to achieving truly green, inclusive, competitive, healthy, and resilient societies—cities that can respond to future shocks and stresses, such as global economic recessions, health epidemics, natural disasters, and security threats.


  • Søren Hansen, Team Leader, ASEAN–Australia Smart Cities Trust Fund; Project Director, Rambøll
  • Amit Prothi, Regional Director, APAC, Resilient Cities Network
  • Wendy Leong, Founder and CEO, Mobiva
  • Wiwandari Handayani, Associate Professor, Department of Urban and Regional Planning, Diponegoro University
  • Donna Tabangin, City Planning and Development Coordinator, Baguio City
  • Moderator: Joris G. Van Etten, Senior Urban Development Specialist, ADB

SEADS aims to help crystallize thinking on relevant and critical issues in the region, and support countries in becoming prosperous, knowledge-based, and sustainable.

SEADS 2021, Innovation through Collaboration: Planning for an Inclusive Post-COVID-19 Recovery, was held on 17–18 March.