Smart Cities, a term well used now-a-days as a feature of smartness, a symbol of developed world and symbol of future growth. The word itself steps up for the next century. We all should know that, the actual smart city concept started long back in India. It started nearly 4040 years back in Harappa and Mahenjo Daro cities on the bank of Sindh River, which are the first signs of civilization. One has to study the details executed in those cities years back considering the need of people at that time and the infrastructure required now to make a smart city as per the need of the people of today. It has to take care of essential infrastructure required to fulfill the need of people and how those infrastructure can be well maintained by those people only.

One very important fact is that while making the main city smart city, the adjacent cities have to be given equal attention as the main city is very much dependent on the adjacent cities. So, smart villages, smart panchayats, smart nagar palikas are equally important to make the complete smart city.

Following points need to be considered while making footprint of a smart city:

  • Selection of cities:While selecting a city among thousands of developing cities, we first consider its geographical location, resources available, earthquake zone and acceptance of local people towards modernization.
  • Open space availability or chances of redevelopment:It is very much easy to find a location with good open space available compared to a congested area. But only open space availability cannot be the only criteria. While making new infrastructure, the open areas will help, but it is very difficult to generate revenue from such a city. One can make the city infrastructure ready by appointing good contactors and investing money in time, but making it business friendly is very difficult. One can find that 80% of India’s current business getting done in heavily populated locations (or say congested areas) such as Mumbai, Old Delhi, Surat, Lucknow, and so on. In this scenario, making a new location and diverting the entire business to that location is not that much easy. It will take years for people to get adjusted to a new location. In fact, it is always easy to develop a business friendly city into smart city.• Connectivity:Today, every town in India is having a rail connectivity and road network. Government needs to make this rail and road network stronger and increase number of trains and increase road length between cities. Water transport and air ways also very important for carrying goods and business delegates respectively.• Connectivity within the City: It is seen that 30% of our daily valuable time goes in travelling from our home to the workplace. In all major cities in the world, people prefer to stay at a walking distance from the office. We understand that staying at a walking distance is not possible but the distance should be covered within 30 to 40 minutes. Secondly, for the service industry, one has to travel within the city itself. So, it is very important to have local transport for travelling within the city. It will increase efficiency as the time consumed in travelling can be utilized in valuable works.

    • Pocket development: While developing a smart city, care has to be given to reduce the travelling time within city. To facilitate this, pocket developments have to be done within the city. We can call it as small cities within a big city. Every pocket should comprise of one or two commercial activity and ten core functional businesses such as textile plaza, it hubs, automobile hubs, insurance hubs, pharma and healthcare units, tourism hubs, building services hubs with system providers of basic services in any building etc. The above list can be move on considering the need of the market. While defining these locations we need to respect past history of each locality of the city such as if some area is well-known for silver threading works or some area might well known for bronze statue works and so on. While making new commercial hubs, these old traditional business units should be given respectable position. It will help in gaining local people’s support in making the smart city.

  • Media and Cultural Units:In today’s cash flow ratio, media and cultural units also play a very important role. This not only gives better cash flow to the market, it attracts youth towards the city and give revenues to the government also. So, in every smart city, space should be provided for movie shooting, sound recording, movie production, and local entertainment proposals and so on. It will help in making hundreds of Bollywood units and local actors will get opportunity in their area itself.
  • Educational Hub:Every smart city should have a dedicated educational hub which will have schools, colleges, management schools, engineering colleges, pharmaceutical institutes etc. So, all the local students will get their education and the local entrepreneur can take education as a profitable business.
  • Development of nearby cities:In the history of civilization, it is seen that whenever a smart city gets developed up to some extent, the support comes from the nearby areas such as food, milk, education, man power supplies etc. However, less importance was given to these sectors. This discrepancy ended up in loading the main city and its infrastructure. By the time people realized, the main city get loaded and collapsed. This widely seen when city like Mumbai collapsed when local train halted somewhere or Chennai came to a standstill when there was heavy rain for three days. So, when we develop city ‘X’ as smart city, the other populated cities within 100 kms of the smart city to be given proper thought so that milk production units, processing houses , food production units don’t rush to the main city to open their units to get their customers where the actual demand is. In fact, they should remain in the nearby ‘Y’ or ‘Z’ cities and keep supplying services to the main city. It reduces the burden on the infrastructure of the main city such as water demand, drainage, electrical receiving stations etc. it will help the smart city grow much faster and the nearby cities keep growing along with the main city.

Requirements of a Smart City

For self and uninterrupted functioning of a smart city, adequate quantum of water storage and distribution, electrical distribution and availability in the inter state grid, proposed requirement of water and electricity for next 30 years has to be in place for proper functioning of the smart city.

Energy efficiency and water saving models

While structure of the building gets ready in few years and all the building get structural guarantee of 50 years, the other services has to be guaranteed for same period too. This can be possible only when proper energy efficient and water saving models get installed in the building. Maximum losses have found in past buildings in terms of water losses, water leakages, electricity losses which resulted in heavy losses to the building. Once the structure is finished, there is no running cost into it. But the basic supplies such as water and electricity have a running cost. So, while installing these services, proper design has to be done. MEP services costs one third of the structure cost. But if not checked properly, it might have to be replaced 10 times in 50 years of lifespan of the building. Energy audit needs to be conducted within a span of three years.

Fire detection and protection system

While designing a smart city, firefighting system plays very important role. This starts from the fire generations. Fire may take place from electrical units or from cooking gas or man-made fire such as physical fire by negligence. Second is the detention. When there is a fire, it has to be detected within seconds of the fire so that occupants get an alert. Proper fire evacuation system and preserve open space is very important in each cluster of the smart building. The city should be given with proper fire stations. One fire station should be there in each 10 km of area or 20 minutes of travelling time.

Now, at each building level, proper firefighting system should be provided for each building as per national building code guide lines.

The city should be ready for operation after fire as well. Once there is a fire, the system should work along with fire brigade officer and from next day the building should be operational again so that the regular business doesn’t get affected.

Conclusion

From the brief, we all have understood the different factors of a smart city. We will have more idea when we will study each chapter separately. The basic thing is that we need to give equal preferences to each and every aspect of a smart city and adjacent cities should also be developed as support system of the smart city. It may take 20 years to make a smart city but it should work for 200 years ahead.

AUTHORS CREDIT & PHOTOGRAPH

Firoj Jena
CEO
Clancy Global Consulting Engineers
Mumbai