Smart Cities and solutions

Smart City means aligning information technologies to citizens’ needs in order to enhance their day-to-day lives by increasing efficiency, lowering costs, and engaging more directly with city dwellers. Developing a smart city is the next generation urbanization process for improving the efficiency, reliability, and security of a traditional city. This paper discusses about the economic benefits, cost of implementation and challenges towards a Smart city. It also focuses on its building blocks, history, advantages and disadvantages of Smart cities.

The core infrastructure elements in a smart city would include:

i. adequate water supply,

ii. assured electricity supply,

iii. sanitation, including solid waste management,

iv. efficient urban mobility and public transport,

v. affordable housing, especially for the poor,

vi. robust IT connectivity and digitalization,

vii. good governance, especially e-Governance and citizen participation,

viii. sustainable environment,

ix. safety and security of citizens, particularly women, children and the elderly, and

x. health and education.

The Smart Cities Mission requires smart people who actively participate in governance and reforms. Citizen involvement is much more than a ceremonial participation in governance. Smart people involve themselves in the definition of the Smart City, decisions on deploying Smart Solutions, implementing reforms, doing more with less and oversight during implementing and designing post-project structures in order to make the Smart City developments sustainable. The participation of smart people will be enabled by the SPV through increasing use of ICT, especially mobile-based tools.

Most of the Indian cities are lacking infrastructure, social awareness, and skills to upgrade into the Smart Cities. Further to this, while some of the cities have ICT infrastructure, they are not utilized up to its optimum. There need to be an effective plan or layout by the city governance and government implementing agencies to build awareness, skills, and infrastructure to develop existing cities into future Smart Cities.

The purpose of the Smart Cities Mission is to drive economic growth and improve the quality of life of people by enabling local area development and harnessing technology, especially technology that leads to Smart outcomes. Area based development will transform existing areas (retrofit and redevelop), including slums, into better planned ones, thereby improving liveability of the whole City. New areas (greenfield) will be developed around cities in order to accommodate the expanding population in urban areas. Application of Smart Solutions will enable cities to use technology, information and data to improve infrastructure and services. Comprehensive development in this way will improve quality of life, create employment and enhance incomes for all, especially the poor and the disadvantaged, leading to inclusive Cities.

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