The concept of a smart city has become a talking point across India and abroad, but there is actually not much clarity on what it means to be a “smart city”
Smart city is the new buzzword and everyone is trying to decipher what it means to be smart. While this has become a talking point across India and abroad, there is actually not much clarity as to what it means to be a smart city.
Ever so often, it is considered to be a city with technological innovations and solutions. In fact, what a smart city should be about is attaining a high quality of life for all residents, especially the most vulnerable. Technology, then, becomes the means to the end, rather than the end itself. Thus, we should define and understand smart cities as those which are innovating for solutions to improve quality of life.
Defined like this, a smart city won’t be synonymous to the cities with smart light poles or CCTV cameras. Rather, these innovations will be seen as contributors to improving the safety and people’s access to the street. If a smart city is concerned with innovating to improve safety and inclusion, the light pole and the camera will be seen as part of the solution, rather than the solution itself.
The Indian government launched the Smart Cities Mission in 2016, with the aim of including 100 cities in the mission as a model for other cities to eventually adopt. The official smart city document states that there is no single definition of a smart city, but it does use the terms sustainability and inclusion. These are important elements and need to be understood to give smartness a wider connotation.
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