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What Are Smart Cities?


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Across the world, the stride of migration from rural to urban areas is increasing. By 2050, about 70 per cent of  the population will be living in cities, and India is no exception. It will need about 500 new cities to accommodate  the influx.

Interestingly, urbanisation in India has for the longest time been viewed as a by-product of failed regional planning. Though it is inevitable, and will only change when the benefits of urbanisation overtake the costs involved, it is an opportunity for achieving faster growth.



With increasing urbanisation 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. There are many technological platforms involved, including but 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.

In a smart city, economic development and activity is sustainable and rationally incremental by virtue of being based on success-oriented market drivers such as supply and demand. They benefit everybody, including citizens, businesses, the government and the environment.

The origin

The concept of smart cities originated at the time when the entire world was facing one of the worst economic crises. In 2008, IBM began work on a 'smarter cities' concept as part of its Smarter Planet initiative. By the beginning of 2009, the concept had captivated the imagination of various nations across the globe.
Countries like South Korea, UAE and China began to invest heavily into their research and formation. Today, a number of excellent precedents exist that India can emulate, such as those in Vienna, Aarhus, Amsterdam, Cairo, Lyon, Málaga, Malta, the Songdo International Business District near Seoul, Verona etc.



Challenges

The concept is not without challenges, especially in India. For instance, the success of such a city depends on residents, entrepreneurs and visitors becoming actively involved in energy saving and implementation of new technologies. There are many ways to make residential, commercial and public spaces sustainable by ways of technology, but a high percentage of the total energy use is still in the hands of end users and their behaviour. Also, there is the time factor — such cities can potentially take anything between 20 and 30 years to build.



• According to the documents released on the Smart Cities website, the core infrastructure in a smart city would include:
• Adequate water supply
• Assured electricity supply
• Sanitation, including solid waste management
• Efficient urban mobility and public transport
• Adequate Water Supply
• Affordable housing, especially for the poor
• Robust IT connectivity and digitalisation
• Good governance, especially e-Governance and citizen participation
• Sustainable environment
• Safety and security of citizens, particularly women, children and the elderly
• Health and education


Where did the idea come from?


The concept of smart cities originated at the time when the entire world was facing one of the worst economic crises. In 2008, IBM began work on a 'smarter cities' concept as part of its Smarter Planet initiative. By the beginning of 2009, the concept had captivated the imagination of various nations across the globe.

Countries like South Korea, UAE and China began to invest heavily into their research and formation. Today, a number of excellent precedents exist that India can emulate, such as those in Vienna, Aarhus, Amsterdam, Cairo, Lyon, Málaga, Malta, the Songdo International Business District near Seoul, Verona etc.



Smart solutions

"In the approach of the Smart Cities Mission, the objective is to promote cities that provide core infrastructure and give a decent quality of life to its citizens, a clean and sustainable environment and application of 'Smart' Solutions," says the statement from the Ministry.



GOVT. ANNOUNCES LIST OF FIRST 20 SMART CITIES UNDER 'SMART CITIES MISSION'

The list of 20 smart cities out of the 98 shortlisted for the 'Smart Cities Mission' was released on Thursday. These 20 cities will be the first to receive funds, thus kickstarting the process of developing them into 'smart cities'. The next two years will see the inclusion of 40 and 38 cities, respectively.

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, including but not limited to automated sensor networks and data centers.

Of the 98 cities and towns that five years down will graduate into smart cities, 24 are capital cities, another 24 are business and industrial centers, 18 are culture and tourism influenced areas, five are port cities and three are education and health care hubs.



Here's the list: Smart cities


1. Bhubaneswar, Odisha
2. Pune, Maharashtra
3. Jaipur, Rajasthan
4. Surat, Gujarat
5. Kochi, Kerala
6. Ahmedabad, Gujarat
7. Jabalpur, Madhya Pradesh
8. Visakhapatnam, Andhra Pradesh
9. Solapur, Maharashtra
10. Davangere, Karnataka
11. Indore, Madhya Pradesh
12. New Delhi Municipal Corporation
13. Coimbatore, Tamil Nadu
14. Kakinada, Andhra Pradesh
15. Belagavi, Karnataka
16. Udaipur, Rajasthan
17. Guwahati, Assam
18. Chennai, Tamil Nadu
19. Ludhiana, Punjab
20. Bhopal, Madhya Pradesh



The success of the government's Smart City Mission is largely dependent upon the finance generation at the State-level as well as private investments.

The Center has set aside Rs. 48,000 crore for the mission and the money will be released to urban local bodies at frequent intervals in the next five years. The Center has asked the State governments to generate the rest of the `. 48,000 crore as the grand total of the mission is estimated at Rs. 96,000 crore.