Top experts exchange views on urban development with AI and digitalisation

Cathy Choi


(Right, from 6th to 2nd) Mr Yi Fei, Professor Li Wenjung, Professor Zhang Wenjun, Professor Thomas Ng, Professor Eric Ma; and Professor Cheung Tin-cheung (4th from left)
(Right, from 8th to 2nd) Professor Cheung Tin-cheung, Ir Ricky Lau, Mr Yi Fei, Professor Li Wenjung, Professor Zhang Wenjun, Professor Thomas Ng and Professor Eric Ma


Academic and industry experts shared their insights on the use of AI and digitalisation to drive a paradigm shift in the construction industry and urban development at a symposium hosted by City University of Hong Kong (CityUHK) on 17 May.

The event, which was co-organised by the Department of Architecture and Civil Engineering (ACE) of CityUHK and the Hong Kong Green Building Council (HKGBC), attracted over 100 participants.

Titled “Revolutionising urban development with AI and digitalisation: climate change-resilient planning, design, and maintenance towards net zero carbon”, the symposium covered a wide range of topics, including AI and digitalisation in construction and sustainable urban development, digital twin-enabled solutions, and typhoon risk assessment.

Joining the event were the Guests of Honour Mr Yi Fei, Deputy Minister and Senior Inspector, Department of Educational, Scientific and Technological Affairs, Liaison Office of the Central People’s Government in the HKSAR and Ir Ricky Lau Chun-kit, JP, Permanent Secretary for Development (Works) of the HKSAR Government.

In his opening speech, Professor Zhang Wenjun, Associate Dean (Research and Postgraduate Education) of the College of Engineering at CityUHK, explained the importance of seeking innovative ways to safeguard the urban environment against extreme weather. “Leveraging data-driven insights, innovative technologies and sustainable design principles, we can start to enhance the resilience of built environments in the face of changing weather patterns,” he said.

Sr Professor Cheung Tin-cheung, Chairman of the HKGBC, pointed out that the symposium highlighted the interdisciplinary efforts of the innovation and technology sector and the building and construction sector, showcasing the exciting dynamics and unlimited possibilities of AI and digitalisation in the net zero carbon transition.

As one of the keynote speakers, Ir Ricky Lau elaborated on how to leverage AI and digitalisation for sustainable infrastructure development. He showcased some examples of digitalisation and AI applications in public works, such as digital planning and design systems, asset management systems and AI cameras, which enhance efficiency, productivity, site safety and green performance.

He also introduced some of the Government’s decarbonisation strategies and said that the success of sustainable development in Hong Kong requires the joint collaboration and commitment of many different sectors, and that the symposium demonstrates UGI (University-Government-Industry) collaboration to make Hong Kong a smarter and greener city.

The symposium also featured online talks by two other keynote speakers, namely Professor Dimitri Mavris, a Regents’ Professor, and Professor Perry PJ Yang, of the Georgia Institute of Technology, USA. Professor Mavris talked about digital twin-enabled solutions for sustainable energy and mobility infrastructure development, and Professor Yang elaborated on enhancing carbon neutrality through urban systems design.

Also attending the symposium were Professor Li Wenjung, Vice-President (Talent and International Strategy) of CityUHK; Ir Professor Thomas Ng Shiu-tong, Head of ACE at CityUHK; and Ir Professor Eric Ma Siu-cheung, Chairman of the ACE Departmental Advisory Committee.

Aligning its work with national priorities, ACE at CityUHK is poised to make impactful contributions towards sustainable, resilient cities of the future. Their strategic, holistic approach positions the department as a leader in addressing urban challenges through innovative research and advanced facilities.

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