Wednesday, August 12, 2015

What is a Smart City ?

Understanding a Smart City. This year June, we had a family holiday in Barcelona, little did I know till then that we were visiting not only a Smart City but also the world’s first Smart City.

The Smart City is a new concept, defining a city that works to improve the quality of its citizens' lives by guaranteeing sustainable social, economic and urban development. A smart city is based on the use and modernisation of new information and communication technologies (ICT), to provide more efficient management of the city's services and resources.

The smart city concept means the development of a city with a higher quality of life. It is a broad concept integrating many of the interacting areas of a city: from mobility, energy and environment to governance. A type of city that is more liveable, functional, competitive and modern through the use of new technologies, the promotion of innovation and knowledge management, bringing together 6 key fields of performance: the economy, mobility, the environment, citizenship, quality of life and, management.

Smart city is a city in which all the initiatives are aimed at improving the quality of life, the sustainability and the efficient management of services, innovating with technology in materials, resources and models. Smart cities should be regarded as systems of people interacting with and using flows of energy, materials, services and financing to catalyze sustainable economic development, resilience, and high quality of life; these flows and interactions become smart through making strategic use of information and communication infrastructure and services in a process of transparent urban planning and management that is responsive to the social and economic needs of society.

Smart city uses new technologies to make it more efficient, functional, competitive, modern and liveable for its citizens. Underlying characteristics of the city, its old heritage and culture, have to be integrated as a part of the new development, this facilitates its evolution into a smart city and as a destination (i.e. the starting position of the city). Projects and policies put in place by the various city stakeholders, which act in the right direction for a future evolution into a smart city.


In practice, a smart city has the capacity to meet the needs of its citizens (in terms of the environment, mobility, businesses, communications, energy and housing) and it thereby improves their daily lives. It is a city that facilitates the interaction of its citizens with its administration; where open information is available in real time; and where it is possible to be enterprising. Smart city is definitively a place that supports and fosters personal and business development.

Our PM, Mr. Narendra Modi has announced and given the vision of such smart cities in India, and New Delhi shall also be one of these projects in times to come. We associate ourselves with the dream project of our PM and look forward for its turning into a reality. It would require lot of efforts and above all the innovation, involvement and participation of each Delhiite’s in its own unique way. 

A city that wishes to aspire to being a truly Smart city must develop all of its key areas (transport, energy, education, health, waste management, security, economy…) simultaneously and transversally. Essentially the following three ideas establish the criteria that differentiate a Smart City:
• Efficient management of services and resources
• New tools and places for people, groups and institutions to interact with each other
Use and integration of new technologies (ICT)

Some key elements on Barcelona ́s Smart City strategy-
Some learning’s from Barcelona ́s experience:
1. Government, Mobility, website for procedures and council services (Virtual office of the City Council).
2. “Open Data Multi-ayuntamiento”, a common site for the data diffusion of each municipality
3. Fiber optic installation in the whole city
4. Establishment of a public bicycle sharing system
5. Promotion of the electric car through the development of the necessary infrastructure (e.g. charging points)
6. The impulse of economic advantages (e.g. subsidies for the circulation tax)
7. Sensors to facilitate the parking search.
8. Free public Wi-Fi (the biggest network in Spain and one of the biggest in Europe)
9. Free Wi-Fi service for the users of the three railway stations of the Generalitat in the Eixample district
10. Intelligent traffic lights, with audio for blind people
11. Optimized traffic control through sensors for flow control
12. Trash containers sensors that optimize the collection routes
13. IT equipment for safety

14. First electric bus in Spain
15. “Manzanas autosuficientes” project: a new model for the construction and rehabilitation of buildings aimed at more energy autonomy and a more sustainable management.
16. Touristic guides through apps (e.g. Official Guide to BCN, Barcelona Restaurants, official audioguides, iBarcelona-Smartour, etc)
17. Touristic buses with Wi-Fi
18. Underground transport system guides, such as Barcelona Metro AR and Barcelona Metro
19. Augmented reality apps linked to the touristic buses
20. Videomapping sessions in emblematic buildings
21. Public-private collaboration
22. Vision and Long term Strategy
23. An integrated approach to drive change within the City Council organisation
24. Innovation and citizen ́s involvement
25. International promotion

If experts are to be believed, Spain has come forward to assist in transforming Delhi into a Smart City and a MoU may be signed shortly between the two countries accordingly. We look forward for a Barcelona in New Delhi.

1 comment:

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