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A well-designed smart city requires visionary planning, where one can anticipate the city’s future needs and put in place systems and infrastructure before the city requires it.

The impact of coronavirus has been hugely disruptive. Where governments around the globe are still accessing its impact, at an individual level 1.3 billion population of the country are trying to understand the effect the pandemic will leave. Already, there has been a huge shift in our approach to work and lifestyle. Our consumption pattern is witnessing a significant shift. Old routines have given way to new habits. Once the current pandemic is over, life in cities as we know it will change and; the changes that will come around will be long-term.

In history, mankind has seen that disease outbreaks have led to innovation in urban design. The design of Central Park in New York City is one of them. During the Industrial Revolution, cities became densely populated. As residential areas started getting crammed, there was a huge demand for buildings and outdoor areas that offered ample fresh air and sunlight. This led to the emergence of several public parks, including Central Park.

The ongoing pandemic has acted as a catalyst to bring changes in Indian lifestyles furthermore changing the home buying patterns. Developers now have to become more innovative about how they design and build commercial and residential real estate. The consumers ask is predominantly inclined towards high quality developments with integrated infrastructure. Developments with the availability of hospitals, schools, and other such facilities would attract more customers and there will be an unprecedented rise for integrated housing societies.

Lodha had the vision to start building something like this is 2008. We currently have multiple townships built on the premise of integrated living and over the last five years seen 60% of our sales in these community development projects. A recent global report by PWC also suggests that families in most of the emerging economics would prefer moving to a gated community, even if away from city centre. Buyers are now looking at homes as an integral part where they have to spend most of their quality time in. With this crisis across globe, it reiterates the importance of having a home in a development that is secured and provides a sustainable ecosystem.

A well-designed smart city requires visionary planning, where one can anticipate the city’s future needs and put in place systems and infrastructure before the city requires it.

One such city, result of intensive urban planning, is the Palava smart city in the KDMC area. The township was integrally built on planning and governance to promote the Live-Work-Play environment. During the time of crisis, the self-sustained city was ahead of the curve and quick to implement precautionary measures. Each neighborhood at Palava has instant access to security, grocery stores, medical facilities, and schools within a walking distance. Moreover, for a development to provide end-to-end solution to its residents, it’s important to have strong governance in place. Due to the existing infrastructure and right governance, day to day activities in Palava post the lockdown have been seamless. The city is witnessing smooth operations with just 20% of its manpower. From security with the help of 700 + CCV cameras and dedicated command centre, , sanitation, electricity, water supply to every essential activities, have been taken over by smart systems and processes with minimum human intervention. It was possible to quarantine and sanitize the township due to the presence of its central government model and its smart infrastructure at the core. A systematic process of disinfecting all common areas and regular temperature check at all gates was mandated to ensure safety of over 1 lac+ residents.

Online community channels like ‘Palava TV’ have kept the citizens updated and educated on how best to deal with the ongoing crisis. While on the other hand, residents have been duly following the social norms still finding ways to engage and help each other during these tough times, thus inculcating a strong sense of community and ownership. Beyond essential services and connectivity, Palava is built with great detailing that caters to the needs of all age groups and their convenience. From entertainment zones, malls, sports facilities to open spaces like parks, walking tracks, the city has an elaborate host of offerings. Some offerings seem basic, but during such unprecedented times makes one realize its value. For Eg: Within no time social distancing measures around the essential services stores were effortlessly possible because of planned broad roads and footpath around the stores coupled with apt governance by the in-house team.

So far, a closed gated community approach has been to target healthcare delivery and devote most resources to building better healthcare institutions to keep citizens healthy. But with the pandemic, it is observed, that a healthy city is, in fact, people’s behaviors, and the environments they live in, that contribute most significantly to their health.

A significant realization during these trying times is that we are interconnected more than ever. To feel part of a closely-knit social fabric is a source of comfort in times like these. The integrated township is not just a safe and secure, timesaving, and hassle-free option but will now also become the first choice of individuals giving a boost to the demand for this segment in the region. Developers will soon realize that it isn’t about smart cities being the future of planning as much as it is about smart planning is the future of cities.

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Autor(en)/Author(s): Shaishav Dharia

Quelle/Source: BW Businessworld, 19.05.2020

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