The Centre on Thursday announced the names of 98 cities selected for the flagship smart cities project but Mumbai, Bengaluru and Patna don't figure in the list. The names of the cities selected for the Rs 48,000-crore smart city project was released pending a nomination each from Uttar Pradesh and Jammu and Kashmir.
We take a look at what does a smart city means and how it will affect the lives of its inhabitants.
A smart city is a urban area represented by the four pillars of comprehensive development - institutional, physical, social and economic infrastructure. In the long term, cities can work towards developing such comprehensive infrastructure incrementally, adding on layers of 'smartness'.
The Narendra Modi government aims 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.
According to the government, the smart cities to be developed in the country will have the following features.
The core infrastructure elements in a Smart City would include:
- Adequate water supply
- Assured electricity supply
- Sanitation, including solid waste management
- Efficient urban mobility and public transport
- Affordable housing, especially for the poor
- Robust IT connectivity and digitalization
- Good governance, especially e-Governance and citizen participation
- Sustainable environment
- Safety and security of citizens, particularly women, children and the elderly
- Health and education.
Some typical features of comprehensive development in Smart Cities are described below.
- Promoting mixed land use in area-based developments - planning for 'unplanned areas' containing a range of compatible activities and land uses close to one another in order to make land use more efficient. The States will enable some flexibility in land use and building bye-laws to adapt to change;
- Housing and inclusiveness - expand housing opportunities for all;
- Creating walkable localities - reduce congestion, air pollution and resource depletion, boost local economy, promote interactions and ensure security. The road network is created or refurbished not only for vehicles and public transport, but also for pedestrians and cyclists, and necessary administrative services are offered within walking or cycling distance;
- Preserving and developing open spaces - parks, playgrounds, and recreational spaces in order to enhance the quality of life of citizens, reduce the urban heat effects in Areas and generally promote eco-balance;
- Promoting a variety of transport options - Transit Oriented Development (TOD), public transport and last mile para-transport connectivity;
- Making governance citizen-friendly and cost effective - increasingly rely on online services to bring about accountability and transparency, especially using mobiles to reduce cost of services and providing services without having to go to municipal offices; form e-groups to listen to people and obtain feedback and use online monitoring of programs and activities with the aid of cyber tour of worksites;
- Giving an identity to the city - based on its main economic activity, such as local cuisine, health, education, arts and craft, culture, sports goods, furniture, hosiery, textile, dairy, etc;
- Applying Smart Solutions to infrastructure and services in area-based development in order to make them better. For example, making Areas less vulnerable to disasters, using fewer resources, and providing cheaper services.