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The first question is what is meant by a ‘smart city’. The answer is, there is no universally accepted definition of a Smart City. It means different things to different people. The conceptualization of Smart City, therefore, varies from city to city and country to country, depending on the level of development, willingness to change and reform, resources and aspirations of the city residents. A Smart City would have a different connotation in India than, say, Europe. Even in India, there is no one way of defining a Smart City.
Some definitional boundaries are required to guide cities in the Mission. In the imagination of any city dweller in India, the picture of a Smart City contains a wish list of infrastructure and services that describes his or her level of aspiration. To provide for the aspirations and needs of the citizens, urban planners ideally aim at developing the entire urban eco-system, which is represented by the four pillars of comprehensive development institutional, physical, social and economic infrastructure. This can be a long term goal and cities can work towards developing such comprehensive infrastructure incrementally, adding on layers of ‘smartness’.
In the approach to 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. The focus is on sustainable and inclusive development and the idea is to look at compact areas, create a replicable model which will act like a light house to other aspiring cities. The Smart Cities Mission of the Government is a bold, new initiative. It is meant to set examples that can be replicated both within and outside the Smart City, catalyzing the creation of similar Smart Cities in various regions and parts of the country.
Smart City Features -
Some typical features of comprehensive development in Smart Cities are described below.
1. 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;
2. Housing and inclusiveness — expand housing opportunities for all;
3. Creating walk-able 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;
4. 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;
5. Promoting a variety of transport options — Transit Oriented Development (TOD), public transport and last mile para-transport connectivity;
6. 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;
7. 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;
8. 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.
Core Infrastructure and Services –
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, specially women, children & elders
• Health and Education.
The strategic components of Area-based development in the Smart Cities Mission are city improvement (retrofitting), city renewal (redevelopment) and city extension (Greenfield development) plus a Pan-city initiative in which Smart Solutions are applied covering larger parts of the city. Below are given the descriptions of the three models of Area-based Smart City Development:
3. Greenfield development
4. Pan-city development
1. Retrofitting will introduce planning in an existing built-up area to achieve Smart City objectives, along with other objectives, to make the existing area more efficient and liveable. In retrofitting, an area consisting of more than 500 acres will be identified by the city in consultation with citizens. Depending on the existing level of infrastructure services in the identified area and the vision of the residents, the cities will prepare a strategy to become smart. Since existing structures are largely to remain intact in this model, it is expected that more intensive infrastructure service levels and a large number of smart applications will be packed into the retrofitted Smart City. This strategy may also be completed in a shorter time frame, leading to its replication in another part of the city.
2. Redevelopment will effect a replacement of the existing built-up environment and enable co creation of a new layout with enhanced infrastructure using mixed land use and increased density. Redevelopment envisages an area of more than 50 acres, identified by Urban Local Bodies (ULBs) in consultation with citizens. For instance, a new layout plan of the identified area will be prepared with mixed land-use, higher FSI and high ground coverage. Two examples of the redevelopment model are the Saifee Burhani Upliftment Project in Mumbai (also called the Bhendi Bazaar Project) and the redevelopment of East Kidwai Nagar in New Delhi being undertaken by the National Building Construction Corporation.
3. Greenfield development will introduce most of the Smart Solutions in a previously vacant area (more than 250 acres) using innovative planning, plan financing and plan implementation tools (e.g. land pooling/ land reconstitution) with provision for affordable housing, especially for the poor. Greenfield developments are required around cities in order to address the needs of the expanding population. One well known example is the GIFT City in Gujarat. Unlike retrofitting and redevelopment, greenfield developments could be located either within the limits of the ULB or within the limits of the local Urban Development Authority (UDA).
4. Pan-city development envisages application of selected Smart Solutions to the existing city-wide infrastructure. Application of Smart Solutions will involve the use of technology, information and data to make infrastructure and services better. For example, applying Smart Solutions in the transport sector (intelligent traffic management system) and reducing average commute time or cost to citizens will have positive effects on productivity and quality of life of citizens. Another example can be waste water recycling and smart metering which can make a substantial contribution to better water management in the city.
The Smart City proposal of each shortlisted city is expected to encapsulate either a retrofitting or redevelopment or greenfield development model, or a mix thereof and a Pan-city feature with Smart Solution(s). It is important to note that pan-city is an additional feature to be provided. Since Smart City is taking a compact area approach, it is necessary that all the city residents feel there is something in it for them also. Therefore, the additional requirement of some (at least one) city-wide smart solution has been put in the scheme to make it inclusive.