Very few ideas have evoked as much global interest and support as Prime Minister Mr. Narendra Modi’s intention to create 100 new “Smart Cities” in India, a country which houses one in every six human beings on the planet. From London to Dubai and Seoul to Tokyo – “Smart Cities” is the flavour of the season.
Smart Cities offer a right to better life with focus on people, land and housing, transport and communication, water, energy and waste management, education and healthcare, safety and security, care of environment, business, commerce and livelihood. Smart City promotes innovation and entrepreneurship, provides for better public service, smart governance, disaster management, etc.
Smart Cities focus on managing complexity, increasing efficiency, reducing expenses and improving quality of life. Complex ICT networks are geared to provide savings in time and energy and provide higher reliability.
A Smart City is a combination of smart economy, smart mobility, smart people, smart living, smart governance, smart environment and smart money. In such cities, technologies make the disparate strands of everyday life sync with each other. Network of ultra-sensitive low power sensors, wireless networks and mobile-based applications, intelligently interpret and trigger responses to provide a seamlessly better quality of living experience. Seamless transacting using cash free methods like plastic money, e-wallets and e-money will be the order of the day.
Resilient Smart Cities
“Resilience” is best defined as the capacity of individuals, communities, institutions, businesses and systems within a city to survive, adapt and grow despite the chronic stresses and shocks they face. Simply put, resilience enables people to live better in good times and bounce back stronger aftershocks, stresses and emergencies. The focus is to pre-empt catastrophes as well as shape responses to it.
Our Smart Cities must be designed to be resilient to physical, social and economic challenges, address emergencies (like earthquake, fire and floods) and stresses (unemployment, inefficient transport, road rage and violence, food and water shortages and waste disposal). The city must be able to respond to adverse events and overall be able to deliver basic amenities and services in good and as well as bad times to all citizens.
Smart Cities internalise and learn from past experiences and innovate new solutions. They rebound rapidly after disruptions, and prevent failures from ripping into systems. They cater for spare capacities and resilience resources and have flexible strategies and high standard of preparedness to respond to any kind of situations.
Global Smart Cities
Among the better known cities, Vienna, Toronto, Paris New York, London, Tokyo, Berlin, Copenhagen, Hong Kong, Barcelona and Singapore exhibit smartness to varying degrees.
Masdar City near Abu Dhabhi is being designed as a future-ready urban living complex. Here your smart device with access to hi-speed internet where the special, easy click local neighbourhood dashboard allows you to see your daily energy usage, confirm your appointment with your doctor, top up the balance of your all-purpose e-wallet, order groceries and leave messages for your child’s teacher and lot of other utility based applications.
Song do IBD, a new Smart City or Ubiquitous City built from scratch on 1,500 acres of reclaimed land along Incheon’s waterfront, 65 km Southwest of Seoul in South Korea boasts of the wide boulevards of Paris, New-York city like central park, canal system inspired by Venice and convention centre inspired by famed Sydney Opera House, is truly one of the smartest cities and is likely to cost over US$ 40 billion.
In India, the industrial city of Dholera (903 sq km), located approximately 100 km from Ahemdabad is all set to become one of India’s first Smart Cities. The city, which is expected to be ready by end of this decade, is to be developed in six phases. A global company known for ICT technologies and routers, Cisco has already finalised the information & communication technology (ICT) master plan on ICT integration into the civil infrastructure. Singapore has already offered help to India in building Smart Cities and so is support and assistance pouring in from every developed nation around the world. All of this augurs well for vision India 2050.
The author is currently Director,
Homeland Security at MitKat Advisory,
India’s leading premium risk