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The McKinsey report forecasts that 46% of Indians will live in cities with over a million people by 2025.
With increasing population, urbanization, pollution, and congestion, we must design, plan and rebuild cities to accommodate growing requirements over time. Smart City is a viable solution to address and upgrade the cities in sync with present-day requirements.
The government of India has undertaken a comprehensive urban renewal initiative called “Smart Cities Mission” that aims to make 100 cities “smart” by 2023.
Design plays a pivotal role in the development of Smart Cities. Architecture and urban planning aid in making cities liveable and enhancing the quality of life of its residents.Smart city design principles extend to proper visualization, planning, designing, implementation, and maintenance.
Over the past few decades, design implications in smart cities have witnessed a paradigm shift from implying architectural and spatial domains alone to building futuristic cities by integrating their infrastructure, technology, and people. According to Deloitte's research, ensuring the participation of residents and various stakeholders is a vital component in Smart Cities 2.0.
Here are a few facets wherein smart city design principles can be applied:
Sustainability: The design of amenities in a smart city should reduce carbon footprints and mitigate the adverse effects of climate change. For instance: residential and commercial development should incorporate eco-friendly provisions such as solar energy, rainwater harvesting systems, smart metering, etc. An NDRC (Natural Resources and Defense Council) -ASCI(Administrative Staff College of India) report estimates that adoption of stringent building efficiency codes and participation in programs for rating commercial buildings can save 3,453 terawatt-hours of electricity in India by 2030. Energy efficiency will be the key driver for achieving India's goal of reducing greenhouse gas emissions by 33-35 percent below 2005 levels of its GDP by 2030.
Privacy and Safety: The proliferation of technology has re-imagined the relationship between the physical and digital environment. The construction of safe and secure buildings and public spaces necessitates an integrated design process entailing the collaborative approach of a team of designers. The crucial step here is to identify the asset's expectations and requirements (wherein the safety principle are to be used) vis-a-vis risks and hazards such as fire, natural disasters, and human health hazards. The increasing penetration of the Internet and growing user privacy concerns have reaffirmed the significance of the data protection framework. The draft Personal Data Protection Bill mandates public information systems to have a clear and comprehensive policy detailing the use of personal information and that too, with the consent of individuals.
Transport and traffic management: Traffic congestion is a critical problem in cities. A robust public transportation system is a solution to this challenge.The role of design is imperative in ensuring accessibility, safety, multi-modal integration, and investment in complementary urban spatial developments like subways and underground metro stations to encourage more residents to adopt public transport.
The role of IoT (Internet of Things) in smart cities, among other technologie is especially relevant in facilitating real-time traffic management. This advanced system measures traffic density through ultrasonic sensors and can also be deployed to track traffic violations and facilitate an automated system for payment of fines.
Connectivity and information accessibility: Smart cities must form the epitome of information connectivity and accessibility by deploying cutting-edge wired and wireless connectivity with the highest standard of bandwidth with a possibility for improvisation. The design of information technologies should be geared to provide wide accessibility with no or minimal cost to residents. Additionally,design of information systems assumes significance in ensuring interoperability between IT systems and between the physical infrastructure and built-environment.
Governance and Community Building: The discipline of design plays a vital role in developing products, methodologies, and mechanisms to ensure efficient management. In India, e-governance is viewed as an enabler for improving service delivery, reducing costs, and ensuring accountability to citizens. Design plays a pivotal role in strengthening the support components of e-governance, including enterprise architecture, user interface of various public applications, social media, etc.
Community building is among the key objectives of urban living. Design professionals are indispensable stakeholders in the development process of smart cities to fully leverage the power of digital technology, social media, and physical infrastructure to facilitate a sense of community among residents.
In a nutshell, smart city design principles should empower the local community at the grassroots, encourage their participation in the development process and foster an inclusive ecosystem. Planned visualization and design of cities has a cascading effect on industrial growth, employment generation, tourism potential, economic development, and citizen's quality of life.Globally, Smart Cities such as Amsterdam, Singapore, Copenhagen, etc., have set a benchmark in excellence through the integration of various intelligent components to foster a citizen-led, collaborative ecosystem, making these cities habitable for generations to come.
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