Smart cities, a solution to urbanisation?
Thanks to rapid urban influx, India will need about 500 new cities in the near future
Across the world, the stride of migration from rural urban areas is increasing. By 2050, about 70% of the population will be living in cities, and India is no exception. India will need about 500 new cities to accommodate the rapid influx of population into its urban regions.
Interestingly, urbanisation in India has for the longest time been viewed as a by- product of failed regional planning. Though this is inevitable, and will only change when the benefits of urbanisation overtake the costs involved, it is an opportunity for achieving faster growth.
With increasing urbanisation and the load on the land in rural areas, the Indian government has now realised the need for cities that can cope with the inherent challenges of urban living and also be magnets for investment to catalyse the local economies. The announcement of 100 smart cities falls in line with this vision.
A smart city is an urban region that is highly advanced in terms of overall infrastruc- ture, sustainable real estate, communications and market viability. It is a city with information technology as its principal infrastructure and the very basis for providing essential services to its residents. A smart city offers a superior way of life to its residents, and one wherein economic development and activity is sustainable and rationally incremental by virtue of being based on successoriented market drivers such as supply and demand. The concept of smart cities originated at the time when the entire world was facing one of the worst economic crises. In 2008, IBM began work on a ‘smarter cities’ concept as part of its Smarter Planet initiative. By the beginning of 2009, the concept had captivated the imagination of various nations.
I n I ndia, t he cities t hat have ongoing or proposed smart cities include Kochi in Kerala, Ahmedabad in Gujarat, Aurangabad in Maharashtra, Manesar in Delhi NCR, Khushkera i n Rajasthan, Krishnapatnam i n Andhra Pradesh, Ponneri in Tamil Nadu and Tumkur in Karnataka.