Episode Archive

SCP E110 Smarter and greener without over investing, with Chungha Cha

In this epsiode of the Smart Communtiy Podcast, Zoe has a fascinating conversation with Chungha Cha, the Co-founder and Chair of the Re-Imagining Cities Foundation. Zoe and Cha discuss his background in finance and how he became passionate about Smart Communities, plus some of the organisations he works with around the world. Cha tells us how he thinks Korea is currently embracing Smart concepts, projects he’s currently working on, and why accelerating Smart Communities is the most effective way to positively influence whole cities and regions. They discuss the gaps and the greenwashing that can exist between different disciplines, and some ideas for better integration. Zoe and Cha finish their chat discussing the emerging trend of overwhelm in the face of the urgent climate crisis, and why we need financial arguments, not just people- or planted-focused arguments, in order to achieve true sustainable solutions. As always, we hope you enjoy listening to this episode as much as we enjoyed making it.

Listen here:

What we cover in this episode:

  • Cha’s background in finance and how he became passionate about Smart Cities
  • Some of the companies Cha works with around the world
  • What a Smart City is to Cha and why it’s so important
  • The 3 global challenges that Cha’s work focuses on
  • How Korea is currently embracing the Smart Community concept
  • Zoe’s experiences and thoughts on Korea’s opportunities and challenges with regards to Smart Cities, Smart Mobility and Sustainability
  • Why accelerating Smart Communities is the most effective way to positively influence whole cities and regions
  • The gaps and green washing that can exist between different disciplines in Smart City and sustainability collaborations
  • Projects Cha is working on right now, including Lakeview Village in Toronto
  • Cha’s work with Switch Automation to increase profitability, drive down greenhouse gases and make a healthier environment inside the building for the people
  • The emerging trend of overwhelm in the face of the urgent climate crisis
  • The need for the financial arguments (not just the people- or planet-focused) for sustainable solutions


“What are cities going to do about all the energy…all the water they’re going to be needing, a lot of waste that they’re going to be creating, traffic, pollution, affordable housing, education? These are all the challenges that cities face today because of this phenomenon of [rapid urbanisation].”

“There are places in the world like Copenhagen who are demonstrating that economic growth can continue its increase while their greenhouse gases are decreasing, so they’ve been successful in decoupling economic growth and greenhouse gas emissions. We should try to apply that to all places in the world, right?”

“I think Korea is behind if we look at many places in Europe, the United States and even in Asia. Korea is a laggard in the Smart City space… [But] Korean companies do have a good chance of catching up in the race very quickly. We’re trying.”

“As soon as you’re monitoring these things [like levels of C02, BOCs], then you become aware and then you say ‘this is not acceptable, let’s do something about it’.”

“We have to integrate across disciplines, but we’re not doing that effectively. You need to have government and the private sector, and within the private sector you need some disciplines like architects, engineers and finance. They have the money, the know how and the skill sets.”

“We can’t [integrate] all over the world all at the same time…but we can create these little communities of better integrated platforms.”


Smart Cities Council based in Washington DC https://smartcitiescouncil.com/ 

Smart Cities Council ANZ https://anz.smartcitiescouncil.com/ 

GRESB Global Real Estate Sustainability Benchmark https://gresb.com/

Architecture 2030 https://architecture2030.org/

Switch Automation https://www.switchautomation.com/

MIPIM real estate conference https://www.mipim.com/ 


Connect with Cha on LinkedInor via the Reminagining Cities Website

Connect with me via email: hello@mysmart.community

Connect with My Smart Community via LinkedIn or Twitter and watch on YouTube

Podcast Production by Perk Digital


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