What makes a city smart?

What makes a city smart?
Highlights

The Centre cleared Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s pet projects — 100 smart cities spread across the country on Wednesday. India`s plan to build 100 smart cities by 2022 has drawn support from the likes of France and the United States, but urban policy experts are pessimistic about the project`s scope and plausibility.

The Centre cleared Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s pet projects — 100 smart cities spread across the country on Wednesday. India`s plan to build 100 smart cities by 2022 has drawn support from the likes of France and the United States, but urban policy experts are pessimistic about the project`s scope and plausibility.


The bold commitment, announced just months after Modi`s election victory last year, aims to transform India`s developing satellite cities and major urban centers from "a reflection of poverty and bottlenecks" to "symbols of efficiency, speed and scale."


The project aims to accommodate India`s swelling urban population - one of the fastest growing in the world - increase employment and attract foreign direct investment. Smart City remains loosely-defined in India and around the world, but many say the adoption of technology is a crucial element.


Ambitious initiatives to build "smarter" cities include the use of data and digital infrastructure to manage energy and water usage to the creation of intelligent transport networks, according to a Brookings report earlier this year. However, India will likely focus on fixing the lack of basic amenities and infrastructure such as housing, water supply, sanitation, and electricity in existing urban regions.


"A large part of this initiative is just to get the existing cities working in a more efficient way," said Nicholas Holt, Asia Pacific head of research at Knight Frank. He noted that at least 50 of the 100 planned smart cities will be brownfield - existing cities. Cyberabad is an example of a brownfield smart city in progress. Jayesh Ranjan, managing director of the Telangana State Industrial Infrastructure Corporation (TSIIC), describes the area`s retrofitting programme as, “Converting large buildings into green, energy-efficient, and zero-waste units; promoting the idea of cycling to work and implementing a water conservation strategy.


These interventions can be considered low-hanging fruits in the sphere of smart cities. There is no use of sophisticated technology in any of them." This retrofitting model is "symptomatic of what lies ahead when full-scale Brownfield smart cities development will be undertaken," he adds. Avinash Gautam, CEO of Silvan Innovation Labs, talks about the 10 things that are needed for a Smart City.


Smart Governance

This aspect is high in public consciousness, especially with disconcerting news on the safety of women, road rage, robbery attacks on the elderly and juvenile delinquency. Clearly, networks of video-cameras, brightly lit public areas, intensive patrolling and surveillance, identity-verified access, and rapid response to emergency calls are all on the expectations list


Smart Energy

A pollution free city is the best thing a smart city can have. Minimising the carbon footprint and eco-friendliness should be mandatory. Use of renewable energy and efficient usage of available energy will go a long way in energy sustainability of a city.


Smart Buildings

Buildings are important units of a smart city, and the smartness has to start there. Technology can go a long way in ensuring that the buildings are secure, energy efficient, and generate actionable data for larger city planning.


Smart Mobility

The huge trend towards urbanisation has put tremendous stress on inter-city mobility, the stress for which can be seen in most urban areas like Bengaluru. And out of the box solution is needed to handle such a massive urbanisation without causing the city to come to a grinding halt.


Smart Infrastructure

The roads, railway stations, airports, electricity, telecommunication and other utilities need to work in much more organised, cohesive and efficient manner so that they become the back bone of the Smart City.


Smart Healthcare

Massive urbanisation causes a stress on every aspect of city, and healthcare is no exception. However a sustainable living in a city is possible only cost effective and quick healthcare is made available to all. A massive paradigm shift is required to achieve this objective, and technology will have a big role to play.


Smart Security

A smart city needs to be a safe city. There is much more to security than just deploying CCTV cameras all over. A truly integrated security and response system which integrates technology aspects of security to security agencies, communities and law enforcement agencies is required to ensure a safe city.


New business models

The scale of work requires to make a city smart will require massive investments, and government will not be able to absorb it all. Innovation business models need to conceived and implemented where appropriate services can be deployed in a financially sustainable model.


Active participation by all stakeholders

Any new initiative will have its own set of teething issues. It would be very important that all the stakeholders like government, service providers, utility companies, citizens etc. participate actively to make it happen.


Long terms vision

Implementing a Smart City is going to be a long drawn activity with moving goal posts. A real long term view is required to ensure that and actionable plan with intermediate milestones are implemented without losing sight of the big picture.

Show Full Article
Download The Hans India Android App or iOS App for the Latest update on your phone.
Subscribed Failed...
Subscribed Successfully...
More Stories


Top