Creating Smart Cities begins with investing in smart technologies to increase economic activity and job opportunities - Mr. RK Mishra, Founder Director, Center for SMART Cities
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At Schneider Electric, we define a smart city as efficient, liveable and sustainable.
Efficient means improving the efficiency of a city’s underlying urban infrastructures – its water network, its gas network, its electricity network, its transportation systems, its emergency response systems, its buildings, its hospitals, its public services etc.
Liveable means becoming a more pleasant place to live, work and play – for its residents as well as for its visitors and commuters. Attractiveness matters – it means building the talent-pool the city needs, the housing market its people needs, providing the cultural events that bring the spotlights.
Finally Sustainable means reducing the environmental consequences of urban life – reducing the city’s carbon emissions, regenerating some districts, planting trees, creating parks, planning the city differently.
Cities today are 2% of the earth surface; 50% of world population; 75% of global energy consumption; and 80% of global CO2 emissions.
And cities are growing: by 2050, they will be 70% of world population – this means that we must build the same urban capacity in the next 40 years as in the past 4000 years. Although most urban growth will take place in new economies, urban challenges are the same all over the world: congestion, blackouts, unemployment, crime…
Yet just like companies, cities need to attract and retain jobs and investments, while reducing their costs and managing their debt.
So cities need to solve their challenges to remain attractive – and survive. They also need to become resilient, i.e. be able to recover fast from unexpected damaging events (earthquake, hurricane, heat wave…) or even major event (Olympic Games, world Cup…)
This means getting resilient and smart which for us means: efficient, liveable, and sustainable (economically, environmentally and socially).
There are many paths to ‘smart’.
In some cases, a city becomes host to a demo project (in a district for instance), where one or a few companies will test some of their most innovative solutions such as digital innovations in New Songdo City, South Korea; smart buildings and smart grids in Issy, France etc.
In other cases, a city plays host to a major event (London for the Olympics, Rio for the World Cup) and prepares for this by investing massively in new infrastructure, regenerating old districts etc.But in most cases, a city will become smarter by:
The key is to understand that every single city can – and should – get smarter
We’re here to help them!
The 21st century is called the urban century because for the first time since dawn of civilisation, more people are residing in urban areas than in rural areas. India is an integral part of this process. In 2010, India accounted for 11% of the world’s urban population; the United Nations projects it to be 15% by 2030.
India’s economic reforms have already unleashed huge investment and growth, offering citizens rich economic opportunities. India’s urban population grew from the 290 million reported in 2001 census, to an estimated 340 million in 2008, and McKinsey Global Institute (MGI) projects that it could grow further to 590 million by 2030. A report from Indian Urbanization Econometric Model says that by 2030:
MGI projects that, to meet urban demand, the economy will have to build between 700 million and 900 million square meters of residential and commercial space a year. In transportation, India needs to build 350 to 400 kilometers of metros and subways every year, more than 20 times the capacity-building of this type that India has achieved in the past decade. In addition, between 19,000 and 25,000 kilometers of road lanes would need to be built every year (including lanes for bus-based rapid transit systems), nearly equal to the road lanes constructed over the past decade.
Although, over the last two decades, the growth trajectory has been steep, sustaining this momentum will be a critical challenge for the next decade. Undoubtedly, cities are the fulcrum of India’s economic development model and the existing urban cities would soon be crunched on resources and infrastructure and the quality of life is bound to decline. To accommodate the dramatic growth, our city infrastructure needs to be scalable, agile and nimble.
A critical element in maintaining this momentum and ensuring true and sustainable development is to reach out to all sections of the society and ensure inclusive development. In India, first world and third world challenges coexist and the need of the hour is to bridge both and cater to a diverse set of needs and aspirations. For instance, solving food shortage problems and a Mars mission coexist and both have their own importance.
We have to increasingly do more with less, optimise resources and improve all round efficiency. This provides impetus for the creation of Smart Cities which leverage technology and best practices in creating efficient infrastructures to greatly improve productivity, lifestyle and the prosperity of citizens.
By leveraging green energy and eco-friendly technologies we can build cities at scale and yet ensure they are environmentally sustainable cities. Though the concept of Smart Cities is relatively new in India, we are well on the path to creating them.
There are three fundamental layers of a Smart City concept that impact the livability, sustainability, efficiency of a city
A truly Smart City is one that not only has effective and efficient infrastructure in each layer but is also able to impact lives across the economic & social strata. We at Schneider Electric are focused on building Inclusive Smart Cities by reaching out to all sections of the society, by holistic application of technology to solve a diverse set of challenges and by involving and collaborating with all stakeholders and governing bodies at the central, state and municipal levels.
We deliver all-round, measurable and sustainable performance across technology infrastructure with Government as leader, Citizens at the centre, Technology as an enabler and Schneider Electric as a partner.