To keep up with the growing population of India, future-looking urban planning has to be functional with changing times and lifestyles. One of the best ways to achieve this is through greenfield smart city issues like infrastructure, sustainability etc. These issues can be addressed from scratch and taken into account the changing urban lifestyles. While undertaking the planning for a smart city, it is important to put emphasis on green energy and self-sustainable model for city maintenance.
According to Ajay Pandey, Managing Director and Group CEO, GIFT City, “Some of the core features that a smart city must address are adequate and potable water supply, assured electricity supply, and sanitation, including solid waste management, efficient urban mobility and public transport, general housing as well affordable housing and state-of-the-art ICT connectivity that enable digital transformation.”
Forward looking planning
In addition, there is a need to have a forward-looking planning for the next 50 years. For example, roads have to be designed keeping in mind the petrol-driven and future modes of transport such as electric vehicles. Similarly, adequate infrastructure must be provided for proper water drainage and water harvesting. A greenfield smart city should look to eliminate the woes of current structure by providing world-class infrastructure that will improve the overall quality of life of its citizens.
At GIFT City, the Master Plan has meticulously accounted for the needs of the city once it is fully developed with infrastructure that will support the future needs of the growing city. GIFT is focused on being green, sustainable, implementing technology-centric solutions requiring minimal human interference for day-to-day maintenance with maximum impact to improving the quality of life of citizens of the city.
Urban centres drive economic growth of a country through job creation, investment opportunities, and avenues for economic participation. Good quality services and infrastructure can be an enabler for the growth rate of the economy, and in bridging social and economic divides. Pandey said, “Smart cities have been designed to maximise the socio-economic potential of the citizens with concepts such as work-life balance with walk-to-work and walk-to-school, etc.”
Greenfield smart cities increase efficiency and also propagate sustainability because they have the unique proposition of being built ground-up akin to a blank canvas, without the constraints of established cities. A greenfield smart city presents opportunities to all sectors to reinvent themselves with the aid of new technology and modern infrastructure that is functional, scalable and eco-friendly. This requires vision, meticulous planning and institutional commitment at various levels. Apart from being attractive to investors, smart cities, at their developing stage, are also job creators.
Decongesting existing cities
With a view to modernising India and enabling urbanisation, the government has launched two flagship schemes – the Smart Cities Mission and AMRUT (for urban renewal and retrofitting). The mission is to develop 100 cities across the country, making them citizen-friendly and sustainable with the use of latest technologies and techniques. The vision is to develop satellite towns of larger cities and modernise existing mid-sized cities, with the aim to:
i) provide world-class infrastructure and improving quality of life,
ii) manage the existing infrastructure with efficient use of available assets,
iii) support adequate economic activities, and
iv) boost investment and employment opportunities.