Since “smart city” seemed to be the “in” thing, i had a fair idea about what it actually meant. But i thought of asking my 6 year old kid if she knew what a smart city was. At first she said that it meant it was an A+ thus relating it to “smart kids having an A+). Then further i explained to her what she would like to see nice in her city. After thinking a little bit, she had alot to say which basically enveloped down into clean water rivers, no over-flowing garbage bins everywhere, lot many more gardens and grounds to play, and being allowed to play carefree without me screaming – “Be to one side, there is a bike coming towards you all”, so basically what she meant was not so much traffic. Innocent words saying quite alot.
Then i decided to further find out from elder kids their opinion on Smart Cities. Since they were a little more knowledgeable and aware of things they said that there should be more educational facilities. And thus awareness of these facilities in public and private schools. They mentioned that public healthcare should be more accessible and easily available without having to wait in endlessly long queues to be able to meet a doctor. They too mentioned sanitation, security etc. but most of them definitely mentioned the drastic need for transport. Providing examples that many of their parents spent a chunk full of time in commuting to their workplaces which was both extremely time consuming and very tiring.
With so much of input from the younger kids, i decided to find out what the younger generation i.e. basically graduating students)wanted in a smart city. It was very interesting to find out that they had their own agenda chalked out. Generation of jobs was their priority followed by the critical need of smoother transport, curb on pollution and to top it all they mentioned that there should be transparency in the government activities, thus they just be aware of future projects being taken up by the government. Certain few also very smartly added that the infusion of technology and communication into the systems would prove to be a solution or atleast a beginning to solving several issues in the functioning of the city and driving it towards becoming a smart city.
After hearing all these opinions and views, i decided to see what the official definition of Smart City was and thus landed upon – “A smart city (also smarter city) uses digital technologies or information and communication technologies (ICT) to enhance quality and performance of urban services, to reduce costs and resource consumption, and to engage more effectively and actively with its citizens.
Thus, it looks like we all want to be a part of and work towards becoming smart”er” cities.
Reading further found out that the government is highly devoted towards forming smart cities. All states will get atleast one smart city. A “Smart City Council” has been formed
Smart Cities Council India- It is part of the US-based Smart Cities Council, which is a consortium of smart city practitioners and experts, with a 100-plus member and advisor organizations operating in over 140 countries.
After government announces the guidelines, states will be asked to nominate names of cities for a ‘City Challenge Competition’ and the chosen ones will get Central fund of Rs 100 crore each year for 5 years.
We have also found out that the basic criteria for selection of a city/municipal area.
Finding out all this we have a fairly good understanding about what a smart city basically is, thus wishing the government all the very best in this initiative.