How to make our cities smarter? – Part I

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There are lots of expectations from Smart cities concept which is being launched in India. Many of the proposed smart cities in the country lacks basic infrastructure and the decision to include them is defeated with the drawbacks particularly lack of drinking water and other amenities. With increasing urbanization and the load on rural land, the government has now realised the need for cities that can cope with the challenges of urban living and also be magnets for investment. The announcement of ‘100 smart cities’ falls in line with this vision. A ‘smart city’ is an urban region that is highly advanced in terms of overall infrastructure, sustainable real estate, communications and market viability.

A ‘smart city’ is an urban region that is highly advanced in terms of overall infrastructure, sustainable real estate, communications and market viability. It is a city where information technology is the principal infrastructure and the basis for providing essential services to residents. There are many technological platforms involved, but they are not limited to automated sensor networks and data centres. Though this may sound futuristic, it is now likely to become a reality as the ‘smart cities’ movement unfolds in India.

There are 10 basic needs for achieving the yardstick and Citizens expect those basic amenities. The main and the major ones are commented upon here:-

We need to have better public transport system to be at par with world’s best cities. The growing urbanisation has increased the number of private vehicles thereby creating traffic congestion in almost all cities of India. In Mumbai, we look upon local trains as our lifeline and if its services are disrupted then it causes huge inconvenience to commuters.

In our roads, the pedestrians should be given a pride of place. We need to have better planning to make our dreams come true. Citizens will enjoy wide pathways with street furniture at regular intervals with easy mobility to differently-abled. Car free Sunday will make streets available for citizens to interact as they can perform several activities on streets.

Availability of adequate parking is the need of the hour as large number of vehicles are plying on the roads. With more and more heavy vehicles on the street, manoeuvring through the heavy vehicular traffic is a tough task. On street parking management will act as major source of revenue for the cities, which can be used to further strengthen public transportation system in cities.

(This is the first part of the article and the remaining portion will continue tomorrow)

(The views expressed by the author in the article are his/her own.)