At the onset, the government has not prescribed any particular format or model for preparing a Smart City Proposal, as it does not believe in the 'one-size-fits-all' approach. Hence, the Centre has given a free hand to city planners to formulate its own concept, vision, mission and plan for a 'Smart City' in line with its local content, resources and levels of ambition, while keeping in mind some the key below mentioned essentials.
The proposal should also contain a plan for mobilisation of resources and intended outcomes in terms of infrastructure up-gradation and smart applications. By intended outcomes, it means how the projects will be financed, operated and maintained over the life cycle, and more importantly how the cost will be repaid over a period of 8-10 years or more shall be explained.
Finally, application of Smart Solutions should be an integral part of the proposal – how will technology, information and data be used to make infrastructure and services better for the citizens.
1. Cover Core Infrastructure
Earlier 'Roti, Kapda & Makan' were said to be the basic needs of any human being living in a society. However, with the change of times today basic needs are more profound and hence become part of the core infrastructure in the society which we live.
Apart from affordable housing for the poor, adequate water & electricity supply, health, education, sanitation, efficient public transport, robust IT connectivity, safety-cum-security of citizens and good governance are some of the key ingredients of core infrastructure.
2. Three Models Proposed - Retrofitting, Redevelopment, Greenfield
The government has proposed the above three models on which a Smart City proposal has to be prepared viz – city improvement (Retrofitting), city renewal (Redevelopment) and city extension (Greenfield development) plus a pan-city initiative needs to be proposed.
a) Retrofitting – To achieve smart cities objectives in large areas of more than 500 acres but using smart solutions in existing infrastructure to make the place more efficient and livable. This can be done in shorter time-frame, so as to replicate the policy in other parts of the city.
b) Redevelopment – This would mean replacement of existing built-up environment and co-creation of a new layout with enhanced infrastructure covering areas in excess of 50 acres identified by local urban bodies in consultation with citizens. Plans can be prepared based on higher FSI and higher ground coverage.
c) Green development – New infrastructure with smart solutions to b built around cities on vacant land to address the needs of expanding population, shall include affordable housing.
Additional the government has asked to submit at least one Pan-city smart solution to not only make the proposal inclusive but also to please the city residents, by letting them know there is something in it for all.
3. Sustainable Smart Cities Solutions
Every city has their own set of worries and problem, some even at the basic core infrastructure level, while others at macro level which may be caused to higher migration in certain urbanised locations. Hence, technology is likely to play a crucial role in developing smart solutions. Here are some of the illustrations proposed by the government.
a) Water management – check water leakage, regulate maintenance, ensure quality monitoring, strom water reuse, rain water harvesting and introduce smart meters for proper billing.
b) Energy management – cut down on power theft by introducing smart meters, tap renewable sources of energy like – solar. At least 10 per cent of the city's power requirement shall be sourced from solar energy; energy efficient street lighting, green buildings.
c) Waste management – this is one of the biggest problem for densely populated urban cities. Measures to solve this are – solid waste management, waste to compost, waste to energy, fuel plants, waste water to be treated and recycled.
d) De-congest roads - efficient public transport, intelligent traffic management, non-vehicle streets/ zones, smart parking, encouragement to non-motorised transport (e.g. walking and cycling) and pedestrian friendly pathways.
e) E-governance and citizen services – public information, grievance redressal, video crime monitoring, citizen engagement and skill development centres etc.
The race has already begun, city planners will now have to come out with not just smart or smarter but the smartest plan to be selected for the Stage II of the Smart Cities Challenge.
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