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What is a "smart city"?

There is no standardized definition as to what a Smart city really is. A city that meets the sustainability
criteria laid out by the United Nations (UN) that provide for an efficient and clean environment with
equal opportunities for all.
The concept of a Smart City (SC) is not entirely new. There has been continuous evolution of the concept
of a Smart City. There are tremendous regional variations and there is no one size fits all approach to
building a smart city.
Why is it required?
Since time immemorial cities have been the centers for economic growth, technological progress and
will continue to be so.
Urbanization is a worldwide phenomenon which has, of late, gained traction in the developing world.
With mass exodus of people from rural areas to urban, the basic necessities like accommodation,
energy, water and sanitation are found wanting.
Indian Context: Urban Trends and Characteristics
a.
b.
c.
d.
e.

Steady growth of population growth: Urban population to comprise 58% of total population
Metros and bigger cities stabilize and smaller cities to experience maximum growth
Deficient Urban Infrastructure conditions
Urban contribution more than 2/3rds of national economy
India is 4th largest emitter of Green House Gases (GHGs)

So, whats all the hullabaloo about the 100 Smart Cities Mission?
It was apart of present governments election manifesto. Initially the plan was to create 100 new smart
cities, later it changed to making existing cities smart (a shift from greenfield to brownfield).
A Smart City would be the one which plans judiciously to meet its aspirations and challenges in a
sustainable manner while fostering principles of good governance. These are achieved in a Smart City by
utilising the enhanced power of technology, engaging with a more aware and informed citizenry and
creating a more competent and capacitated set of people working within an accountable framework
In Indian context, it is the use of Information and Communication technologies (ICT) supported by policy
environment to achieve sustainability and good governance. The guiding principles in Smart City
Reference Framework are
i.
ii.
iii.
iv.

Well-being: Overall Sector Performance


Equity: Access to Poor and marginalized
Efficiency: Reliability and User friendly, Quality and Resource Optimization
Foresight: Robustness, Capacity and Long term goals

What is the progress?

What is to be done?
1.
2.
3.
4.
5.
6.

Conceptualizing Smart Cities for India


City Selection under Smart Cities Mission
Smart City Plan
Project Identification by Cities
Implementation of Plans and Projects
Monitoring and Evaluation

Note: Currently 1,2 have been completed. 3 is in progress


Opportunities
Efficient Urban Management Systems
Decentralization
Minimizing Conflicts in Urban Environment
Inclusive and Equitable Resource Distribution
Building adequate Urban Institutions

Challenges
Right Model
Social Acceptability, Liveability & Sustainability
Funding Strategy for Smart Cities
Capacity of Existing Institutions to Reform
Achieving Good Governance

Do Smart Cities exist?


Though there are several organizations that have tried to classify Smart Cities based on various indices,
there is little consistency in the indicators. Below are some of the rankings and Smart Cities:

Conclusion:
Making cities smart will take time and effort. It is critical to create an enabling policy and regulatory
environment.