Experts say that to make cities smart, it is necessary to make them “predictive” by integrating social, political, environmental, economic and sustainable parameters that are powered with technology.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi has brought the focus on Indian urban revitalization by means of Smart Cities Mission.
In order to make the cities smart, local civic leaders should have data analytics to identify patterns of events/ issues to come up with the most effective least-cost solution.
The first step is to generate awareness among civic leaders as to the city’s state of affairs – its impediments and its potential. The planners must have clear goals towards job expansion and output, financial inclusion, and sustainability and flexibility.
The plan must identify the city’s strengths and weaknesses, and have strategies leveraging exclusive industry specializations, modernism, education and skills development, land and infrastructure, and governance and public services.
A city Cockpit with Integrated Decision Support System should be established to help authorities in handling the growth of a city as measured by indicators including potable water, clean air, social security, efficient buildings and reliable power grid.
From real-time traffic management to reducing hazards and costs associated with water and lighting, to locating available parking spots, to managing energy in real time with smart meters on smart grid, to wearable health monitoring sensors – this is what essentially enriches the quality of life of people living in Smart Cities.
It is imperative to break down the traditional silos inhibiting the delivery of next-generation citizen services. For example, there should be a department that coordinates all of the services on a city street, from lighting to parking to road repairs, as opposed to different departments having responsibility for each area.
India should emulate global best practices, learn from their mistakes and adapt to local conditions such as in the case of Special Purpose Vehicle (SPV). It should be given the autonomy and power to plan, build, contract, operate and maintain projects.
Technology will play a major role in this, as the SPV will help not only itself but also the city, state and the Central leaders to monitor its health and support its operations.