A smart city is a framework that uses information technology and communication solutions and architectural design solutions to solve the growing urbanization challenges faced by the people and the government. Another aspect of smart cities is their feature of using data-driven decision making as a core process. Read more to know how smart cities will transform India. To understand the impact of smart cities on our lives, let us briefly examine their four major components:
- Connectivity: Smart cities create an information nexus where technology-driven devices are interconnected to generate and share data
- Intelligence: Smart cities incorporate technology to utilize this information for smart decisions
- Efficiency: The ultimate goal of all smart city initiates is to enhance efficiency
- Sustainability: Resource conservation and optimal utilization while creating operational systems is a key goal a smart city
The consequences of these smart urban cities could be both positive and negative. Let’s explore some of these positive consequences or impacts:
Smart cities are known to be key drivers of economic growth by boosting the GDP and opening new employment opportunities. Urban centers in India are predicted to house 40% of India’s population and contribute to 75% of its GDP by the year 2030. The government’s smart city projects to cater to this future need has attracted numerous investments and growth opportunities. Smart cities incorporate technology and data-driven solutions to traditional city development models, and these new solutions open job opportunities in areas like Information and communication management, data management, analytics, e-governance, etc.
Changing Paradigms of Safety
Traditionally, safety for city planners was limited to the safety of citizens and the physical infrastructure of a city. For this, civic institutions like the police, fire department, and healthcare were put in place. However, the efficiency and availability of these civic institutions are often questioned in the Indian context. Smart cities will help alleviate this problem by transforming these institutions and their services. They will also incorporate information communication solutions to improve the efficiency and delivery of public amenities. One area that would require caution, however, is the protection of this information and communication solution in itself, to safeguard the privacy of citizens.
In a democracy like India, policies, developments, and other initiatives take a long time to get effectively implemented. Bureaucracy, human dependency and archaic institutions of implementation are some factors that lead to this delay. With smart cities, technology and data-driven tools and processes will implement solutions remotely and replace the archaic models, thus creating a seamless network from decision making to implementation.
Beyond the benefits in areas of safety, commerce, connectedness, and wellbeing, smart cities also lead to huge improvements in the areas of the environment. Solutions like air quality monitoring, water, and energy management reduce pollution as well as waste, thus improving the overall ecological footprint of these cities and leading to sustainable livelihoods. Only with an improved ecological footprint will India be able to maintain its leadership in its efforts to conserve the environment.
Development of smart cities would not only relieve pressure off the existing urban hubs, but also give a push to business opportunities, prevent migrations by retrofitting existing cities, give rise to flourishing markets and residential areas, and also incorporate traditional values in the new age transformations.
Smart cities are cities where technology and sustainability go hand in hand to improve the quality of life of their residents. They lead to numerous consequences for the citizens and the society in the form of positive impacts on social, economic, digital, and ecological aspects. By understanding and facilitating these positive impacts, we can make the best of these opportunities and assist not only our governments but also our fellow citizens.