Mod­ern ur­ban­i­sa­tion: chal­lenges ahead

The need of the hour is to de­velop in­no­va­tive and vi­able mech­a­nisms to se­cure funds for smart cities

HT Estates - - HTESTATES - San­jay Dutt

In­dia is rapidly ur­ban­is­ing and the ur­ban pop­u­la­tion in 2031 is ex­pected to in­crease to 600 mil­lion, which is al­most two times the pop­u­la­tion fig­ure of 2001. In 2031, at least 50% of the pop­u­la­tion will live in the ur­ban ar­eas and their con­tri­bu­tion to the GDP will be at least 62% to 63%. Ur­ban ar­eas will be cru­cial to the coun­try’s eco­nomic growth and they will re­quire mas­sive re­struc­tur­ing to sup­port the fu­ture pop­u­la­tion. Smart cities pro­pose a so­lu­tion to mit­i­gate the prob­lem of ur­ban­i­sa­tion. They in­te­grate In­for­ma­tion and Com­mu­ni­ca­tion Tech­nol­ogy (ICT), en­ergy ef­fi­ciency and sus­tain­abil­ity to pro­vide a qual­ity of life than can sup­port fu­ture gen­er­a­tions.

Smart cities can be of three types: new cities, ex­ist­ing cities retro­fit­ted with smart tech­nolo­gies and pur­pose-driven cities de­signed around a core ac­tiv­ity. Ir­re­spec­tive of the cat­e­gori­sa­tion, all smart cities in­te­grate ICT into dif­fer­ent com­po­nents. Th­ese com­po­nents in­clude en­ergy, trans­porta­tion, smart build­ings, governance, and so­cial in­fra­struc­ture. How­ever the scope and ex­tent of this in­te­gra­tion and ap­pli­ca­tion may greatly vary be­tween cities. Smart cities de­pend on non­re­new­able re­sources for gen- er­at­ing power, pro­mote mixed use de­vel­op­ments to en­cour­age walk­a­bil­ity and re­duce wastage of re­sources. Ef­fi­cient en­ergy man­age­ment though smart grids and smart me­ter­ing are an im­por­tant fea­ture. Th­ese cities pro­vide seam­less in­te­grated pub­lic trans­porta­tion that al­lows ef­fi­cient and swift mo­bil­ity across the city. Smart cities will con­sist of en­ergy-ef­fi­cient build­ings that re­duce the over­all car­bon foot­print. Ev­ery cit­i­zen will have ac­cess to qual­ity so­cial and phys­i­cal in­fra­struc­ture. In ad­di­tion to this, re­formed governance struc­ture with ac­count­able and em­pow­ered ur­ban lo­cal bod­ies will sup­port ef­fec­tive im­ple­men­ta­tion and fu­ture sus­te­nance of the cities.

In order to im­ple­ment an ex­ten­sive un­der­tak­ing such as a smart city, five cru­cial el­e­ments are nec­es­sary: power, in­fra­struc­ture, funds, tech­nol­ogy and so­cial cap­i­tal. Smart cities re­quire clean and con­tin­u­ous sup­ply of power and for this there is a need to de­velop al­ter­na­tive en­ergy sources to make the cities fi­nan­cially and eco­log­i­cally vi­able. Both phys­i­cal and so­cial in­fra­struc­ture de­vel­op­ments will be cru­cial. Up gra­da­tion and maintenance of the ex­ist­ing in­fra­struc­ture is nec­es­sary. De­vel­op­ing in­no­va­tive and vi­able mech­a­nisms to se­cure funds for smart cities is es­sen­tial.

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