Making cities smart and sustainable

Source: The post is based on an article “Making cities smart and sustainable” published in Business Standard on 17th November 2022.

Syllabus: GS 2- Governance

News: Urban cities are now converting into smart cities but there is a need to look at sustainable development.

What are the requirements for a sustainable smart city?

Urban design: A proper urban designing or urban planning is needed to make cities smart and sustainable.

It should provide socio-economic opportunities for its expanding labor force along with quality of life, and a safer and more secure environment.

It should also provide an environmentally friendly infrastructure and unique identity for each city along with greater adaptability to changing climatic, economic, and social factors.

Use of ICT: A smart city combines information and communication technology (ICT) with numerous physical devices linked to an Internet of Things (IoT) network that provide effectiveness in local operations and services.

It also helps municipalities to engage with people, keep an eye on the happenings of the city, improve the quality of services and improve citizen-government interaction.

Gathering data: It is beneficial for a smart city to gather data and information that could be further used to improve the processes, operations and governance systems of the city like monitoring and managing power plants, water supply, etc.

The concept of smart cities in India, under the Smart Cities Mission, is based on six fundamental principles –

  1. putting the community at the core of planning and implementation,
  2. optimal use of resources that generates more outcomes using fewer resources,
  3. cooperative and competitive federalism,
  4. adopting innovative methods for sustainable solutions,
  5. using technology as a means to achieving goals and financial convergence.

However, there are also challenges with the smart city.

What are the challenges?

Rapid Urbanization:  Currently, 54 percent of the world’s population lives in cities, and it is predicted to rise to 66 percent by 2050.

According to the World Bank, smart cities make the process of urbanization more inclusive through the integration of migrants, bringing together the formal and informal sectors, and providing services for both the rich and the poor.

Therefore, smart cities will attract people for settlements which would cause urbanization and put pressure on resources.

What is the way forward?

First, smart cities need to be sustainable smart cities with environmental, social, economic, and cultural dimensions.

Second, it must also integrate the newest technology with governance and enhance innovative socio-technical, socio-economic, and sociocultural aspects of growth.

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