Growth of population is a very debatable and hot topic of discussion for general public, academicians and as well as world leaders. It is becoming more and more difficult to find a way to feed the ever growing population and provide the basic services to them. Various initiatives are taken by government and private entities to help in better management of this infinite human resource. It is for this reason that we need to plan our urban areas well and cannot wait any longer to do so. The relatively low base allows us to plan our urbanization strategy in the right direction by taking advantage of the latest developments in technology especially in ICT (Information and Communication Technology). Moreover, it also offers us an opportunity to create conducive environment for creation of many times more employment opportunities and economic activities while improving the quality of life substantially. It is in this context that the Government has decided on developing 100 “Smart Cities” in the country.
Cities would also aim at solving the housing need. This is necessary because housing is a basic need of man. In importance, it is third after food and clothing. The importance of housing was universally accepted from the dawn of history. Even the Neolithic man who lived between 10,000 and 2000 B.C. built durable habitation like pit dwellings, lake dwellings and beehive huts. However, its functions increased manifold over the years. Primitive men sought some kind of protection against wild animals and natural calamities. Housing protection is also sought against enemies as well. With the development of knowledge and the advancement of civilization, people became particular about sanitation, environment, privacy, location of house, etc.
Majority of the houses in India are constructed by the people themselves with their own resources. The main role of government at all levels is not to seek to built houses itself but to act as a catalyst and make appropriate investment and create conditions where the poor people may gain and secure good housing and to remove the existing difficulties in the housing system. For removing the existing impediments in the housing system national housing policy has framed certain well defined objectives. The main policy adopted by the Government of India to achieve the objectives of housing sector is to make provision for shelter needs of all and to take direct responsibility for the homeless and economically weaker sections of the society.
People are attracted towards cities due to various reasons such as jobs, better economic and income opportunity. This would help a Smart City in developing the required environment for creation of economic activities and employment opportunities. This is achieved by analyzing and processing data by means of various methods of data processing and information processing cycle.
Environment considerations cannot be overlooked when developing cities. Pollution in almost all the countries is increasing at alarming rate. Cities are also growing at an unprecedented pace. As per the WHO report cities are becoming more and more polluted. This has resulted in a high rate of air borne diseases in all age groups. To create a more livable and healthy environment, it is therefore important that smart cities that are planned are environmentally sustainable. This would mean not only improving the air quality but also reducing wastage of water, electricity, fuel etc. Steps have already been taken in this regard, however much more needs to be done. Star rating is being done for electrical appliances and in the building industry. All vehicles should also be star rated to indicate their energy efficiency. Also industries should be given incentives to reduce their carbon emissions.
So, in brief Smart Cities are those cities that have smart (intelligent) physical, social, institutional and economic infrastructure while ensuring centrality of citizens in a sustainable environment.