In recent years, the term Smart City has been emerging in the country. There are currently 100 cities across India slated for development to become Smart Cities, and in this year’s Union Budget 2020, FM Sitharaman also announced the inclusion of 5 more cities to the plan. This initiative is called the Smart City Mission, and has potential to guide the country into the future.
The Smart City Mission entails the urbanised development of a city, to provide a greater level of convenience for the residents living there. According to a report published by the UN, approximately 70 per cent of the population will have migrated to urban cities by the year 2050, and this initiative will help in managing this demand. These cities are also known as eco cities or sustainable cities for the advancements that they are trying to incorporate for the betterment of the community, and the country at large. This is being done with the use of new age technologies and processes, that induce better planning for water, electricity, waste management, transportation, security, safety and more.
There are many new developments and trends that will dominate the Smart City initiative in the coming year. These can be broadly categorised under technological aspects, institutional aspects and human aspects:
Faster connectivity for everyone:-
5G technology is the latest trend in network and communications advancements. This emerging technology offers major benefits like higher bandwidth, delivery and performance guarantees, adaptability, energy efficiency, and real‐time capabilities. With its use, operations and processes can be carried out in half the time it takes now, as the speed of connectivity will increase considerably. This will also act as a strong link to run other technologies like Internet of Things (IoT), and Information and Communications Technology (ICT), which are instrumental in the development of these smart cities.
Data Analytics for better planning:-
Big data and data analytics are all set to create a splash in the smart city initiative. Every day data will be gathered from citizens from across the city, and analysed to help in identifying civic problems, zeroing in on opportunities and creating solutions. This will help the authorities gauge the needs and demands of their citizens, and plan for contingencies in a more organised fashion. This will be done in conjunction with IoT and ICT devices, which will help in determining the future course of action, basis the data received in real-time.
Citizen Engagement and Open Data:-
Among the ways that the city officials could get data for betterment of the city, one trend that’s gaining momentum is that of Open Data Forums and Citizen Engagement programs. Through these mediums, city residents could be encouraged to give knowledge about their problems, aspirations and hopes about their area, directly to the authorities. Direct data is more reliable, thus making it easier for these officials to understand shortcomings in the city and even gain a deeper understanding into the type of solutions that the residents need.
Since the Smart City Mission will be led on the backs of technological innovation, the governance must also advance in their way of working, to accommodate these new developments. This can be done with the help of e-governance. This type of governance makes use of ICT technology and devices to better address the needs, demands and grievances of the citizens. Its basic purpose is to use electronic technology to simplify processes for all – citizens, business and government officials at local, national and state level.
Safety and security are crucial elements in developing any new city. The trend that will dominate in this area is the use of IoT and ICT devices to aid authorities in keeping the peace and protection levels up in the smart city. This means employing the use of sensors across the city that could perform a range of functions, which include fire detection, waste collection notifications, fault in civic amenities like streetlights and more. The installation of CCTV cameras across the city will also be carried out in areas not frequently visited by public officials.
Smart Infrastructure Construction:
The Smart City Mission aims to carry out operations through the use of IoT and ICT devices. For optimised performance, it is necessary for the city planners to follow the trend of smart construction. This means understanding the city’s technological needs in advance, and carrying out the construction of infrastructure in a way that supports the use of these devices. An example of this would be installation of fibre optic cables in every building to support the attachment of IoT or ICT devices in the future.
The Smart City Mission is also an exercise in developing a sustainable and ecologically-conscious city. Thus, one of the biggest trends in smart cities is the allocation of green spaces at strategic points in the city. These are areas where any further construction is set aside indefinitely. These public spaces are meant to bring residents closer to nature and promote a sustainable lifestyle. These spaces can also be flourished through citizen participation.
No car zones:
The cities of the future must make efforts to curb their carbon footprint. One of the ways to do this is through utilisation of this trend. No car zones are specific spots in the city, where the use of any vehicles is prohibited. This helps reduce the pollution in the city, and also encourages the citizens to walk more, which is healthy for them.
Biophilic and sustainable designs:
Keeping in line with the current ecological scenario, the trend for development of new smart cities needs to carry out sustainable practices. This means, using sustainable construction techniques on the internal and external environments in projects. These include using organic paints, repurposed wood, large windows for promoting natural light, installation of energy efficient devices, and more.
Saily Lad, Director, Volksara Pvt Ltd and Krystal Group of Companies
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