Can we plan a city that is SMART as well as INCLUSIVE?
by Charve Jain, Final Year, Dept of Planning, School of Planning and Architecture, New Delhi
Globally, the population is increasing at an alarming rate accompanied with citizen’s demand for basic amenities such as infrastructure, energy and clean environment. The trend of urbanization is accelerating and it is straining the resources of our cities. A large part of the world’s population live in urban areas due to improved livability and a higher quality of life by 2050, it is estimated that about half of the country’s population will reside in urban areas. Hence, there is a great need for augmenting the infrastructure capacity of the city so that it is able to sustain the pressure exerted by the increase in population. In the light of this, the government has recently introduced the plan to develop 100 smart cities in India. These cities promise us to offer world class facilities and infrastructure. But will these cities be able to tackle the social issues that our cities are facing today? Our society is facing issues of social exclusion due to which individuals are not able to participate in all realms of their life with full dedication and capacity. The most vulnerable groups are the women, elderly and the physically disabled. Therefore, we need to plan cities that that are smart as well as inclusive, the cities that take care of its infrastructure as well all its citizens.
Inclusive city refers to improvement in the living standards of all residents of the city and infusion of varying aspects such as poverty alleviation and sustainable environment development, which lead to growth of all individuals of society into the development process with special emphasis on women, elderly and disabled friendly infrastructure and financial planning.
There are many parameters of an inclusive city. An inclusive city has governance which is fair and takes into account interest of all sections of society before arriving at a policy. It shall have inclusive sustainable development which shall not harm the environment and shall conserve resources for the future generations. To direct growth on sustainable manner, Environmental Impact Assessment should be essential part of development plans and projects. This city shall have access to healthcare and education for all the members of the society. Infrastructure plays an important role in growth and development of cities. It also promotes inclusivity in the society by means of easy access to services. For inclusive development of society, special attention to disadvantaged groups should be paid. Disabled and old-age friendly infrastructure is integral factor for improvement in quality of life of individuals. Women shall be promoted as agents of socio-economic growth and while including in decision making they should be provided autonomy. Poverty alleviation shall be the main goal of the city so that each individual can contribute towards the progress of the country.
Smart cities leverage technology and utilize existing and planned infrastructure investments to provide higher quality of living to residents, positive investment climate for businesses, and optimum resource utilization and transparency for governments. Smart cities are an organic integration of the IT, physical, social and business infrastructure. These systems collectively work to generate intelligent and actionable information for decision makers. Smart City uses information, communication and technology to enhance its livability, workability and sustainability.
There are six components of smart city which are smart economy, smart people, smart governance, smart mobility, smart environment and smart living. Smart economy refers to the ability of the economy to be flexible to the labor market conditions and capable of transforming itself into productive units whatever the conditions maybe. Smart people refer to people in the city who have adequate level of education and skill so that they can contribute to the development and progress of the country. Smart Governance refers to a transparent government which allows participation of public in decision making. Smart Mobility refers to safe and sustainable transportation system that is accessible to all members of the society and use of ICT infrastructure for reduction in travel time. Smart environment refers to the sustainable resource management and environmental protection. Smart living refers to good quality of life for all individuals who have easy access to health and education facilities and proper physical infrastructure. It denotes a society which is socially cohesive. All these components make a city more inter connected, efficient and intelligent.
Inclusive Smart City
In order to plan an inclusive smart city, we need to combine the parameters of inclusive city and smart city. This city has a transport government which is equitable and allows public participation before arriving at a decision. It aims at sustainable development without compromising the natural resources or degrading the environment. A city which gives equal access to physical and social infrastructure facilities to all individuals. It offers accessible sustainable transport system to all individuals. All citizens have adequate education and skill level which will lead to great productivity and innovation. Special attention will be provided to the most vulnerable groups to avoid social exclusion and achieve a culturally vibrant socially cohesive society.
1. T.M. Vinod Kumar, 2013 : Geographic Information Systems for Smart Cities. Ghaziabad : Copal Publishing Croup
2. Ministry of Urban Development, 2014 : Urban and Regional Development Plans Formulation And Implementation, Volume 1, Draft Report Version, 44-60