Smart Cities- the latest innovation to redevelop our country

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A doctor in the dust

The urban life is all about the glamour and the fast lane. You cannot stop for a second or else your out of the game. It is all about how quick you are and how fast you win the race. But besides all of this, there are many great things about living in the city. A city has the best restaurants in the world and you get to meet the most interesting people.

A lot of people have the misconception that the cities have already been developed in our country, but nothing could be more wrong. There are so many places of improvement- both in terms of infrastructure and technology. The roads, buildings, economy, tech, etc can all be amped up to create the greatest thing you have ever seen.

The other big problem with being an urban dweller is the distance you feel from everyone else. Unlike small towns and villages, where everyone knows everyone, cities have modernised to develop a distance between its citizens. Making the cities more friendly and community-friendly is going to be another aspect to develop in the near future.

In order to get ahead on this process, the government has started the initiative called “smart cities” aimed to do the same. This article will have a detailed description on the same.

What is the “Smart Cities” project?

The Smart Cities project is an urban renewal retrofitting project taken up by the government of India for the development of cities and modernising them more. The aim is to create around 100 smart cities at the end of the project and make them more citizen-friendly and sustainable.

There was a competition held in which the cities had to compete in order to gain the benefits of this project. The main idea was to develop the cities and have these cities induce development in the neighbouring one- sort of like a “ripple effect”.

The selected cities received a contribution of 72 million dollars from the governing bodies.

The competition

A competition was held to select cities which would represent their states/areas and receive the funding. Each state or designated area send In their city of choice and will compete. In 2018 99 such smart cities were selected as a result of this competition.

Cities like Mumbai and west Bengal cities have withdrawn from the initiative.

A total of 99 smart cities have been chosen after 5 rounds of competition.

“Smart cities” project features

  1. Making land-use more efficient by introducing more by-laws to make them more flexible.
  2. Improve housing opportunities for all
  3. Work against pollution and congestion on roads to make it more citizen-friendly. This will create more walkable roads making the living environment much better
  4. Development of open parks playgrounds and recreational spaces and reduce the carbon footprint
  5. Improving public transport
  6. Improving fine arts in the city and the quality of life in terms of restaurants, pubs, recreational spaces and beautification
  7. Applying smart solutions to infrastructure to make them more technologically adept

Strategic components

1) Retrofitting

This is development in a pre-planned area and apply smart solutions to improve all aspects. This will help create a more citizen-friendly and efficient environment boosting general standards of living.

Communities will come together and decide on an area to be retrofitted. Community-based participation is validated and asked for, making the project more people-friendly.

2) Redevelopment

This is the replacement of an existing building or structure. This will also enable the building of a structure coexisting with the present one to make it more efficient and beautiful.

3) Greenfield development

This is the use of the previously thought of smart solutions by the community to create affordable housing for the less fortunate.

4) Pan city development

This is an additional component added to the strategies and doesn’t form an integral part. While the rest of the components focus on sections of the cities and form compact communities, this focuses on the entire city as a whole- the use of the smart solutions and advances in technology and other fields and its benefits to the city as a whole.

Since the project doesn’t just focus on urbanisation, the satisfaction of citizens has to be taken into the account. All in all, it is more of a people-centred approach to development instead of focussing on the political approach.

Benefits

  1. The citizen-centred approach is going to palatable to everyone. I think it is a good initiative taken up by the government to satisfy their population.
  2. Community opinion is taken which improves awareness and participation
  3. They also focus on improving the environmental condition
  4. The standard of living will drastically improve if really worked upon
  5. Working against poverty by providing affordable housing

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