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What is smart city?

What is smart city?

by Harshal Jain

P.M Narendra Modi, in this years budget said about developing 100 smart cities in INDIA .

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But what exactly are smart cities?

People migrate to cities primarily for employment. To support their happy and comfortable living, they also need good quality housing cost efficient physical and social infrastructure such as water, sanitation, electricity, clean air, education, health care, security, entertainment,etc. Industries also locate in cities because there are agglomeration economies that provide easy acces to labour and other factors of production. In this context, Smart Cities are those that are able to attract investments. Good infrastructure, simple and transparent online processes that make it easy to establish an enterprise and run it efficiently are important features of an investor friendly city. Without this a city loses attraction as an investment destination.

Pillars of a Smart City

 Institutional Infrastructure(including Governance)Physical Infrastructure and Social Infrastructure constitute the three pillars on which a city rests. The center of attention for each of these pillars is the citizen. In other words a Smart City works towards ensuring the best for all its people, regardless of social status, age, income levels, gender, etc.

  1. Institutional Infratsructure refers to the activities that relate to the planning and management systems in a city. The new technology has provided a ne dimension to this system making it efficient and transparent, It includes the systems of governance, the sense of safety and security, the opportunities for entertainment and sports, the open spaces and parks that are available
  1. Physical Infrastructure refers to its stock of physical infrastructure such as the urban mobility system, the housing stock, the energy system, the water supply system, sewerage system, sanitation facilities, solid waste management system, drainage system, etc. which are all integrated through the use of technology.
  2. Social Services relate to those that work towards developing the human and social capital, such as the educational, healthcare,entertainment and etc system.

What will smart cities have in it :-

  • Governance by Incentives rather than Governance by Enforcement
  • Improvements in public transport – metro rail, BRT, LRT, Monorail, etc
  • Improvments in infrastructrure of other motor vehicles – ring roads, bypasses, elevated roads, improvements in the existing road ways
  • Improvements in infrastructure for walking, cycling and waterways.
  • Safe and 24 X 7 water supply.
  • There should be a city wide sanitation plan and anetwork of sewerage which connects all parts of the city and all commercial and other public buildings should have clean and hygienic toilets
  • Solid waste management plants will be there for waste recycling.
  • Smart cities will have universal access to electricity 24 X 7.
  • There wiil be a 100 Mbps internet backbone coupled with 100% coverage of the area by cell phone towers and a high level of telephone penetration will be essential in a Smart City as most services will have to be offered online.
  • The city should have good quality educational facilities both for schooling and higher education.
  • High quality healthcare facilities are important factors in making a city liveable and attractive for people and businesses.
  • There wiil be good entertainment facilities make the people in a city happy. Good sports facilities, cultural centers, open spaces and plazas allow opportunities for creaton so important for healthy and happy living.
  • Energy efficient practices are adopted in transportation systems, lighting and all other services that require energy.
  • Smart Cities would also lay special emphasis on demand management, by creating incentives for savings and disincentives for excessive consumption.

This all about what are the features of smart cities. Now lets see what are the tools/instruments required to build a smart cities.

Instruments that make smart cities possible:-

  • Use of clean technologies because, as per the WHO report, Indian cities are amongst the most polluted in the world, creating severe health hazards.
  • Use of ICT(Information Communication and Technology) ,the extensive use of ICT is a must and only this can ensure information exchange and quick communication.
  • Participation of private sector( PPP) allows government to tap on to the private sector’s capacity to innovate.
  • Citizen participation, citizen consultation and a transparent system by which citizens can rate  different services is yet another instrument for improving performance.

All this is what we can find in our future smart cities of India.The concept is not without challenges, especially in India. For instance, the success of such a city depends on residents, entrepreneurs and visitors becoming actively involved in energy saving and implementation of new technologies.

The cities with ongoing or proposed smart cities include Kochi in Kerala, Ahmedabad in Gujarat, Aurangabad in Maharashtra, Manesar in Delhi NCR, Khushkera in Rajasthan, Krishnapatnam in Andhra Pradesh, Ponneri in Tamil Nadu and Tumkur in Karnataka. Many of these cities will include special investment regions or special economic zones with modified regulations and tax structures to make it attractive for foreign investment. This is essential because much of the funding for these projects will have to come from private developers and from abroad.



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