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Puri

The Government’s Budget 2014 announcement of 100 smart cities has been hailed by one and all. After all, these sustainable and hi-tech urban centres offer hopes of resolving the massive problems the global rush towards urbanisation will cause, with India being no exception

Across the world, the stride of migration from rural urban areas is increasing. By 2050, about 70 per cent of the population will be living in cities, and India is no e1-smart-momment xception. India will need about 500 new cities to accommodate the rapid influx of population into its urban regions.

Interestingly, urbanisation in India has for the longest time been viewed as a by-product of failed regional planning.  Though this is inevitable, and will only change when the benefits of urbanisation overtake the costs involved, it is an opportunity for achieving faster growth.

With increasing urbanisation and the load on the land in rural areas, the Indian Government has now realised the need for cities that can cope with the inherent challenges of urban living and also be magnets for investment to catalyse the local economies. The announcement of ‘100 smart cities’ falls in line with this vision.

A ‘smart city’ is an urban region that is highly advanced in terms of overall infrastructure, sustainable real estate, communications and market viability. It is a city with information technology as its principal infrastructure and the very basis for providing essential services to its residents. There are many technological platforms involved, including but not limited to automated sensor networks and data centers. Though this may sound futuristic, it is now likely to become a reality as the ‘smart cities’ movement unfolds in India.

A smart city offers a superior way of life to its denizens, and one wherein economic development and activity is sustainable and rationally incremental by virtue of being based on success-oriented market drivers such as supply and demand.  They literally benefit everybody, including denizens, businesses, the government and moreover the environment.

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SMART CITY ORIGINS

The concept of smart cities originated at the time when the entire world was facing one of the worst economic crises. In 2008, IBM began work on a ‘smarter cities’ concept as part of its Smarter Planet initiative. By the beginning of 2009, the concept had captivated the imagination of various nations across the globe.

Countries like South Korea, the United Arab Emirates and China began to invest heavily into research and the formation of smart cities. Today, there are a number of excellent precedents that India can emulate for its own smart cities programme

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Smart City Vienna in Austria

Aarhus Smart City in Denmark

Amsterdam Smart City

Cairo Smart Village in Egypt

Dubai Smart City and Dubai Internet

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City in the UAE

Smart City Lyon in France Smart City Malaga in Spain Malta Smart City

The Songdo International Business

District near Seoul, South Korea

 Yokohama Smart City in Japan

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Verona Smart City in Italy

By 2050, about 70 per cent of the world population will be living in cities. India will need about 500 new cities to accommodate the rapid influx of population into its urban regions

SMART CITIES IN INDIA

In India, the cities that have ongoing or proposed smart city projects include Kochi in Kerala, Ahmedabad in Gujarat, Aurangabad in   Maharashtra,  Manesar  in Delhi NCR, Khushkera in Rajasthan, Krishnapatnam in Andhra Pradesh, Ponneri in Tamil Nadu and Tumkur in Karnataka. Many  of  these cities will  include special investment regions or  special economic zones with modified   regulations  and  tax  structures  aimed  at making  is  easier and  more  attractive  for  foreign companies to invest in them.

This is an essential factor for success for smart cities in India, because much of the funding for these projects will  have to come from  private developers and from abroad.

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CHALLENGES

The smart city concept is not without challenges, especially in a country like India.  For instance, the success of  to   the  city  becoming actively involved in energy saving and implementation of new such  a  city  depends  on  its  residents, entrepreneurs  and  visitors  technologies. There are many ways to make residential, commercial and public spaces sustainable by ways of technology, but a high percentage of the total energy use is still in the hands of end-users and their behavior. Also, there is the time   factor   – such cities can potentially take anything between 20-30 years to build

Urbanisation in India has for the longest time been viewed as a by-product of failed re1ional planning. Though this is inevitable, and will only change when the benefits of urbanisation overtake the costs involved
There are many technological platforms involved, including but not limited to automated sensor networks and data centers. Though this may sound futuristic, it is now likely to become a reality as the ‘smart cities’ movement unfolds in India
A smart city offers a superior way of life to its denizens, and one wherein economic development and activity Is sustainable and rationally incremental by virtue of being based on success-oriented market drivers such as supply and demand
In 2008, IBM began work on a ‘smarter cities’ concept as part of its Smarter Planet initiative. By the beginning of 2009, the concept had captivated the imagination of various nations across the globe
There are many ways to make residential, commercial and public spaces sustainable by ways of technology, but a high percentage of the total energy use is still in the hands of end-users and their behavior

> The writer is Chairman and Country Head, JLL India <

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