Have you ever thought of living in a technologically advanced, clean, and friendly city? If so, then your dream may very soon become a reality. The introduction of the Smart City project, providing a sustainable and livable environment for their citizens, takes you a step closer to achieving a better standard of living and contributes positively to your aspirations and needs.
The project aims at employing digital technology to improve the wellbeing of its citizens and effectively engage them in reducing costs and resource consumption. A smart city is also an attractive investment ground due to the advanced infrastructure and services available. Let’s take a look at some specifics.
What Is a ‘Smart City’?
A smart city is an urban ecosystem that is meticulously planned to enhance institutional, physical, social, and economic infrastructure using information and communication technologies (ICT). Simply put, a smart city is one that is sustainable, livable, and workable. It provides an optimum balance of resources and services.
A smart city is not just a standalone urban space; it is also a replicable model which will serve as an example to other aspiring cities. The smart city model should be scalable within and outside the city to ensure the creation of more such cities.
What Is the Need for Smart Cities
Urbanization is a major factor that contributes to a nation’s GDP. By 2030, about 40% of India’s population is expected to be housed in urban sectors and contribute to 75% of India’s GDP. These statistics foresee a rapid increase in urbanization that requires the development of smart cities.
Currently, the existing cities are bursting at the seams trying to accommodate the expanding population. New cities will reduce this burden and make the transition to other cities manageable.
Real estate will also boom in the wake of smart cities, thereby leading to better financing and technological growth.
Features of Smart Cities
Smart cities utilize advanced information technologies to include a comprehensive list of ‘smart’ services such as:
- Efficient government services
- Adequate water supply and electricity
- Sanitation and waste management
- Affordable housing
- Access to health services and education
- Good public transport system and connectivity
- Safety and security of citizens
- Robust IT connectivity and digitization
- Employment opportunities
- Management of real-time emergencies and challenges
Financing of Smart Cities
The central government has proposed to provide financial assistance to the tune of INR 48,000 crores over a period of 5 years. This averages to about INR 100 crore per city per year. The state/union territory will have to contribute an equal amount for the development of the city. The amount allocated will also vary depending upon the level of ambition and capacity of the city to execute the proposal successfully.
According to CommonFloor.com, IBM is keen to set up smart solutions in the chosen cities. Countries such as United States, France, Germany, Japan, Singapore, and Canada have offered to contribute to the development of smart cities such as Allahabad, Ajmer, Kochi, Varanasi, Nagpur, Pondicherry, and Vishakhapatnam among others.
This initiative by the Government of India is a small step in the development and improvement of the population’s standard of living. Investing in these sustainable and inclusive cities will strengthen the economy leading to a much stronger and stable nation.