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Samstag, 24.02.2024
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Imagine a city that breathes—not with the smog of a thousand cars, but with the clean air of rooftop gardens and electric buses gliding silently through tree-lined streets. A city where energy flows not from distant fossil fuels, but from the sun dancing on its buildings and the wind whispering through its turbines.

A city where waste is not a burden, but a resource, transformed into new life through composting and recycling. This is the vision of the smart city, a metropolis not just of steel and glass, but of innovation and sustainability.

It is a vision that is no longer a futuristic fantasy but a pressing necessity. According to a United Nations report more than 68% of the world’s population is projected to reside in urban areas by 2050. The burgeoning cities face an unprecedented strain on infrastructure and resources.

The world’s urban population is expected to double by 2050, putting immense strain on our planet’s resources. Climate change is already wreaking havoc on our cities, from rising sea levels to extreme weather events. We can no longer afford to build our cities in the same old way. We need to build them smarter, more sustainable, and more resilient.

Integrated Smart Infrastructure: The Backbone of Smart Cities

At the heart of every smart city lies an integrated and interconnected infrastructure. From smart grids and intelligent transportation systems to sustainable waste management, these cities seamlessly integrate technology to optimize resource utilization. This integrated approach enhances operational efficiency and contributes to the reduction of carbon footprints, thereby aligning with the principles of sustainability.

Smart cities prioritize energy efficiency through the implementation of renewable energy sources and smart grids. Implementing SCADA-based systems and deploying energy-efficient equipment (LED streetlights, energy-efficient water pumps, etc.) ensures tangible reduction in energy consumption, thereby reducing the carbon footprint.

The seamless integration of Information and Communication Technology (ICT) is fundamental to smart cities. This Internet of Things (IoT) enabled real-time data analysis helps in prompt decision making for fostering informed urban planning.

Pimpri Chinchwad, one of India’s major Auto, Pharma & IT hubs, has been at the forefront of integrating technology into urban planning. The Pimpri Chinchwad Smart City uses a network of air sensors to track real-time pollution levels.

This data feeds into a central dashboard at the Smart City Data Center which monitors and triggers specific actions like dust control or industrial restrictions depending on the severity of the air quality in line with their Graded Response Action Plan (GRAP). This data-driven approach helps Pimpri Chinchwad make informed decisions and improve air quality for its citizens.

Kochi in Kerala, has developed an ICT based solution for early response system for reporting an incident related to flash flood, drain clogging etc. and deploying response teams for immediate on-ground action. The real time monitoring and response system helped in mitigating the impacts of urban flooding to reduce economic and human loss.

Paving the Way for Sustainable Transportation

The presence of vehicles within urban environments significantly contributes to a substantial portion of greenhouse gas emissions, leading to a decline in air quality. The integration of smart public transportation systems based on cleaner fuel systems is key to moving towards low-carbon mobility and mitigating future greenhouse gas emissions.

Further, the increased focus on developing infrastructure for non-motorised transport (walking, jogging, and cycling) addresses the transportation-related challenges (last-mile connectivity) while serving as a proactive measure to combat climate change and enhance air quality, thereby laying the foundation for more resilient cities.

Chandigarh has developed India’s largest & densest pan-city Public Bike Sharing System saving 350 tonnes of CO2 emissions and enabling last mile connectivity. Pimpri Chinchwad is working on developing and piloting a Connected Greens Master Plan – “Harit Setu” for implementing sustainable NMT infrastructure.

The Government of Odisha has recently initiated the Location Accessible Multi-modal Initiative (LAccMI) to connect Gram Panchayats to Blocks and Blocks to District Headquarters. Apart from bridging the connectivity gap between remote villages and urban centers, the long-term vision of the scheme includes electric buses and renewable energy sources to power the fleet, further minimizing environmental impact and aligning with India’s clean energy goals.

Community Growth & Engagement

Beyond the technological aspects, the success of smart cities in shaping a sustainable urban future also hinges on transparent community engagement. Citizens play a pivotal role in addressing specific community needs, enabling the bottom-up planning approach.

Smart cities deploy various tools such as mobile apps and social platforms to involve diverse stakeholders in decision-making processes. This engagement fosters a sense of responsibility and ownership, creating a culture of sustainability that goes beyond infrastructure and permeates every aspect of urban life.

A great example of a community-focused approach has been taken by Pimpri Chinchwad Municipal Corporation (PCMC), which has systematically integrated Information and Communications Technology into its internal processes and Citizen Service Delivery.

This well-thought-out implementation has consistently propelled PCMC to excel in e-governance, securing the top position in Maharashtra’s ‘City e-Governance Index’ for three consecutive years.

PCMC has also achieved the highest accolades in the National Data Maturity Assessment Framework (DMAF) evaluations carried out by the Smart Cities Mission of the Ministry of Housing & Urban Affairs (MoHUA), highlighting its proficiency at the national level.

Smart Cities, Cleaner Future

As our world becomes increasingly urbanized, the concept of smart cities emerges as a promising solution to address environmental challenges. By integrating cutting-edge technologies such as IoT, data analytics, and renewable energy sources, smart cities optimize resource usage, reduce emissions, and enhance overall environmental sustainability.

The vision of a cleaner future through smart cities reflects a commitment to harnessing the potential of innovation for the benefit of both urban inhabitants and the planet.

The city of Surat in Gujarat has embraced the Smart City concept to address its unique challenges, such as rapid population growth and environmental concerns. Surat has implemented smart solutions for waste management, including the use of RFID tags for tracking waste bins and optimizing collection routes. PCMC has also adopted a SCADA-based water supply system and a GIS-based waste collection system featuring real-time vehicle tracking.

Fostering Equity and Inclusivity

Smart cities thrive when they prioritize equity and inclusivity. By tailoring technological advancements and urban initiatives to address the diverse needs of all residents, irrespective of socio-economic backgrounds or other demographics, cities can establish environments that prioritize inclusiveness and harmony.

Active engagement with a variety of perspectives in the planning stages allows for the identification and addressing of unique community needs, fostering a sense of belonging and shared benefits. Beyond enhancing individual quality of life, an emphasis on equity works to diminish existing socio-economic disparities, ensuring equal access to essential resources and services.

In line with these principles, PCMC’s Navi Disha community toilet initiative actively involves women’s Self-Help Groups in design, operation, and maintenance. They receive training and income, promoting livelihood creation and economic empowerment. The toilets are designed for accessibility and use eco-friendly technologies for sustainability.

Similarly, Bangalore launched the Nirmal Bengaluru Abhiyan program, focusing on slum-free sanitation, providing toilets and waste management solutions in underprivileged areas, ensuring basic hygiene and health for all.

These initiatives showcase the tangible benefits of integrating equity and inclusivity into smart city projects, fostering community participation, and addressing the unique needs of diverse populations.

Key Takeaways on Future Trends in Smart Urban Development

  • Climate change mitigation and adaptation: Cities will prioritize renewable energy, green infrastructure, and efficient resource management to fight climate change and build resilience against environmental challenges. Green spaces, vertical gardens, and urban forests will become essential for improving air quality, managing heat islands, and fostering biodiversity.

  • Technology and innovation: The use of Artificial Intelligence (AI) will come out as a major solution for more efficient urban landscapes. While AI is being increasingly used for various activities like pothole detection and road resurfacing quality checks, it is important to note that for effective implementation of city planning, substantial and comprehensive datasets are essential.

  • Urbanization in transportation: The advent of autonomous vehicles is set to revolutionize urban transportation. Many cities worldwide, including several in India, are actively exploring innovative approaches. For instance, the Delhi Metro is currently engaged in developing driverless trains, showcasing a commitment to cutting-edge advancements in public transportation.

    Smart cities are exploring ways to integrate these technologies, reducing traffic congestion, and promoting eco-friendly modes of commuting.

  • Equity and Inclusivity: Equity and inclusivity will remain central to smart city development. Technology should not widen existing inequalities but instead bridge gaps, ensuring fair access to opportunities such as affordable housing and public services.

    Inclusive decision-making involving citizens and targeted investments in digital infrastructure and skills development are vital to addressing community needs and narrowing the digital divide, ensuring widespread benefits from smart city initiatives.

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Autor(en)/Author(s): Amit Patjoshi

Quelle/Source: Geospatial World, 06.02.2024

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