The Government of India launched the Smart City Mission (SCM) in 2015 with the purpose of improving the governance and infrastructural deficiencies in the Indian cities. The smart city movement started from an ideology of neo-liberalization involving national and global corporations and their constellations. Efficiency, productivity and profitability are considered as the central pillars of SCM. Academic journals, books and the Internet are overloaded with different definitions but none of them are completely accepted by practitioners and scholars. The most common definitions of the smart are envisaged as “… territories with a high capacity for learning and innovation, which is built into the creativity of their population, their institutions of knowledge production and their digital infrastructure for communication” (Hollands 2008: 306).
Smart cities are based on six axes: “a smart economy; smart mobility; a smart environment; smart people; smart living and finally smart governance. These axes are based respectively on the theories of regional competitiveness, transport and ICT economies, natural resources, human and social capital, quality of life, and the participation of society members in cities” (Caragliu et al. 2011: 70).
Smart City Mission: Vision, Objective and Strategy
SCM was envisioned because of the increasing urban population and rapid expansion of areas. The motive was to manage complexities of urban life, increase efficiencies and improve the quality of life. The challenges faced by the cities have created the need to monitor and integrate infrastructure and to offer better services to the people.
The objective of SCM is to provide “Smart” Solutions for the development and maintenance of infrastructure and services; give a decent quality of life to its citizens and ensure a clean and sustainable environment to live.
The policy lists 21 solutions ranging from smart water metres through to smart parking, integrated multi-modal transport and telemedicine and tele education. A smart city infrastructure involves ‘adequate water supply, assured electricity supply, sanitation including solid waste management, efficient urban mobility and public transport, intelligent traffic management, affordable housing, especially for the poor, robust IT connectivity and digitization, good governance especially e-governance and citizen participation, sustainable environment, safety and security of citizens particularly women, children and the elderly, and health and education.
The strategic components of Area-based development in the SCM are city improvement (retrofitting), city renewal (redevelopment) and city extension (Greenfield development) plus an added Pan-city initiative in which Smart Solutions are applied covering wider parts of the city. Following are the descriptions of the three models of Area-based Smart City Development:
I. City improvement (Retrofitting) will introduce planning in an existing built-up area to achieve the objectives along with other objectives to make the area more suitable to live. In retrofitting, an area consisting of more than 500 acres of the will be considered after consulting the citizens. Depending on the existing infrastructural services and the vision of the people, the cities will prepare a strategy to become more efficient and smart. Since existing structures are largely to remain intact in this model, it is expected that more intensive infrastructure service levels and a large number of smart applications will be incorporated into the retrofitted Smart City.
II. City renewal (Redevelopment) will replace the existing built-up environment and approve the co-creation of a new format with enhanced infrastructure involving mixed land use and increased density. Redevelopment takes into account an area of more than 50 acres, identified by Urban Local Bodies (ULBs) in consultation with the citizens. For instance, a new plan of the identified area will be prepared with mixed land-use, higher FSI and high ground coverage. Saifee Burhani Upliftment Project in Mumbai (also known as Bhendi Bazaar Project) and East Kidwai Nagar in New Delhi are the two examples of the redevelopment model.
III. City extension (Greenfield development) will introduce most of the smart solutions in a previously vacant area (more than 250 acres) with innovative planning, planned financing and plan implementation tools (e.g. land pooling/land reconstruction) with provision for affordable housing especially for the poor. Such developments are required around cities in order to address the necessities of the expanding population.
IV. Pan-city development envisages application of selected Smart Solutions to the existing citywide infrastructure involving the use of technology, information and data to make infrastructure and services better. For example, applying Smart Solutions in the transport sector (intelligent traffic management system) and reducing average commute time or cost of people will have positive effects on productivity and quality of life of the people. Waste water recycling and smart metering can also contribute to better water management in the city.
List of Smart Cities nominated by the States
A total of 100 smart cities have been identified distributed among the States and UTs on the basis of equitable criteria. Based on the formula of equal weightage (50:50) to urban population of the State/UT and the number of statutory towns in the State/UT, each State/UT will have a certain number of possible smart cities with each State/UT having at least one smart city. Port Blair, Vishakhapatnam, Tirupati, Guwahati, Muzzafarpur, Bhagalpur, Chandigarh, Raipur, Diu, New Delhi, Panaji, Ahmedabad, Surat, Srinagar, Jammu, Mangaluru, Kochi, Bhopal, Indore, Greater Mumbai, Thane, Pune, Imphal, Shillong, Aizawl, Kohima, Bhubaneshwar, Rourkela, Amritsar, Jaipur, Ajmer, Coimbatore, Chennai, Madurai, Tirunelveli, Warangal, Agartala, Meerut, Kanpur, Varanasi, Dehradun, New Town Kolkata, Haldia, etc are some of the recognized cities allocated to States based on Urban Population and number of statutory towns.