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Great expectations about smart cities

There are lots of expectations from Smart cities concept coming in

India. Many of the proposed smart cities in India lack basic infrastructure and the decision to include them is defeated with the drawbacks particularly shortage 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. It is a city where information technology is the principal infrastructure and the basis for providing essential services to residents. 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 mentioned below:-

India needs to augment its 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 gets disrupted everything goes haywire.

In our roads, the pedestrians should be given a pride of place. We need to have better planning to make our dream 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 and indulge in lot of activities on streets. Availability of adequate parking is the need of the hour as 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 is a reliable revenue for the cities, which can be used to further strengthen public transportation system in cities. Managing the on street parking will reduce traffic congestion, increase effective carriage way width available for the vehicles to commute, reduce fuel consumption.

As we propose to have a safe and sound living with hassle free civic services initiatives such as installation of LED lights to ensure pedestrian safety, video surveillance to monitor crime in the city with an effective common control centre to monitor the traffic violations and to ensure efficient on street parking management.  Most importantly, these steps will enable citizen’s engagement in all aspects of city functioning as the data sharing or transparency between government and citizens will be a forum for them to understand the know-how of their city.

It is necessary to have efficient disaster management cell. Disasters are inevitable, however human interventions in taking up precautionary measures will help in minimising the loss to a great extent. Clean and healthy neighbourhood is a blessing in disguise.  Solid waste management through smart solutions to make roads clean and to ensure a healthy environment is considered as an important factor for smart cities. Recycling of waste will produce renewable energy, ensures safe disposal of solid waste, prevents soil and environmental pollution and reduces depletion of resources.

There is a need for easy access to all basic infrastructure with best quality cent per cent efficiency. Cities are focusing on developing more lung spaces for citizens. As a part of smart city initiatives, smart components like cycling, street furniture, jogging track, space for hawkers etc., will contribute a lot in enhancing aesthetic of the city.  Green spaces will get a new dimension with new soft and hard landscape with WI-fi hot spots, which will be an interesting sport for citizens to relax, exercise and interact.  It also plays a major role in creating a healthy and sustainable environment.

Now it is time to make sure that the city is clean and green to give the much needed ambiance required for setting up a smart city. The city will have to take up the additional responding of providing quality education, dependable power supply, health consciousness, e-governance, affordable housing for poor, water supply and several other sectors would be the centre of focus under the project. Smart city tag will bring cheers to the citizens of the country and we dream of becoming a place to behold in the world.

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

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