The government of India is expecting that the population in its cities is likely to increase by another quarter million people by the year 2030. In efforts to upgrade existing cities so they will be able to handle the increased capacity placed upon them by the pressures of population growth, the Indian government allocated $7.5 billion dollars to the new Smart Cities Mission. The program funds will be awarded to the 109 urban cities that submit the most innovative proposals in a national challenge competition. The government of India opened this competition because they wanted to make sure that the funds they had allocated would be used in the most effective way to benefit the most citizens.
Each city interested in competing in the Smart Cities Mission Challenge must submit a detailed proposal with a budget request that outlines the smart city development plan the city has come up with. It needs to outline the upgrades the city wants to make, a plan to implement the upgrades and a budget estimate showing how expensive the upgrades will cost to implement. They must also describe how many people will benefit from their proposed changes and describe how the life of the residents will be improved.
Citizens in the Indian cities competing in the completion are encouraged to get involved with helping to draft the Smart City Mission Challenge proposal for their city. The government feels that the more people that can be involved in the initiative, the more innovative ideas there will be. The government will review all city proposals received and they will select the top 109 best plans to fund.
WHAT IS A SMART CITY
There is no single definition that encompasses what makes a city a smart city. This is why there is so much room for innovation in this area. When developing a plan for a smart city, decisions must be made about what upgrades and technology they should introduce. Each city deploys technology to benefit the government and citizens in different ways, so all smart cities are not the same. All smart city plans will provide recommendations for infrastructure improvements and provide additional services for citizens. There are four essential elements considered by urban planners when they are considering a design for a smart city:
- Institutional Development
- Physical Development
- Social Programs
- Economic Infrastructure
How each city addresses each of these issues in their proposals will determine who will win this important competition.
COMMON FEATURES FOUND IN SMART CITIES
Although every smart city will be unique there are a few common features that can be found in most smart cities.
Utilize technology-All smart cities deploy innovative technology solutions that improve their infrastructure or the quality of the services they can offer to their residents. Most smart cities develop many different technological solutions that are designed to address different issues the city may wish to improve.
Give the City an Identity-The residents in smart cities often take pride in their city. If the innovations that were developed in the city are well-thought out and implemented effectively, other cities may choose to implement them as well. The city enhancements will aid the city in developing its own unique identity or brand.
Promote planned land use-Most smart cities plan for used space and unused space. They encourage mixed use of land in order to maximize its productivity. They generally plan for several open park spaces and playgrounds. These provide residents with a greater number of city services and it also helps the environment, by reducing urban heat.
Expanded Housing-Smart cities are designed to grow with a growing population. They all feature increased housing opportunities for all citizens.
Public Transportation-Smart cities are also designed in order to improve the environment. One way they do this is by including plans to implement a public transportation system. Often roadways are repaved and sidewalks are added or upgraded to encourage more pedestrian traffic and help reduce traffic congestion and pollution.
It will be exciting to see what new revolutionary ideas will be spawned and what new technological applications will be developed. The national Smart City Mission Challenge in India is sure to benefit the country, but the advancements developed there may end up being applicable in other cities as well.