After decoding the concept and to some extent definition of smart city, in this section, we will try to analyze what makes a city smart.
Though we have discussed a number of features which one could enroll to get on road for planning a Smart City, but what exactly makes a city smart?
Is it about upgrading the existing technology of a city to bring it at par with the best? .. or is it the well informed/educated and knowledge prone people whose responsible acts make a city smart?
What makes this question more relevant is the Center’s ambitious scheme to develop 100 smart cities in coming years.
We all have felt the level of stress because of various reasons. Let it be the traffic, unruly drivers, roads full of potholes, inequality in the society, vast difference in the socio-economic stature of different sections of the society, policies that help rich grow richer and makes poor poorer, corruption at all levels or growing health concerns because of increasing level of pollution.
Life in a smart city will be very different from present-day lifestyles. It will bring in harmony in the life of individuals by balancing their needs and that of the society by optimal use of technology mixed with good governance. Political will can handle atleast half of the city woes by itself.
What if most of the things could be done online from the comfort of your home. Let it be shopping, paying bills, and even for jobs that could be done from your PC or mobile / telephone. Though most of these are still possible but yet we have to travel for rest of the cases, adding traffic to the already overloaded roads. Better infrastructure and lesser need to travel would lead to lesser congestion and hence pollution. This could be easily achieved by better use of IT and by simplifying processes.
Why same set of information has to be provided every time you open up a new bank account, invest in mutual funds, or go for any other scheme. A govt controlled centralized system can be an answer to this which could be referred using some unique id, such as, aadhar card, PAN No, or even license no. to get the details. This will also eliminate need to update several instances every time there is a change in some information, say, your current address… So?? Less Stress!!
Those were just examples of how just by understanding the issues and by using technology effectively to one’s aid lives could be made better and hence achieve goal of smarter cities.
Regional challenges could be handled using regional competitiveness. Carefully studying all chapters in depth and integrating them with Information Technology would make them better accessible, in turn improving quality of life and will have direct social, human and economic impact. Increasing participation of citizens in the governance of cities will make them more responsible and accountable.
In our next section we will discuss about the Core infrastructure required to build up a smart City.
Below is the link to the first part of this series.