The Smart Cities Mission of the Government is a bold and new initiative. The purpose of the Smart Cities Mission is to catalyse economic growth and improve the quality of life of people by enabling local area development and harnessing technology. Areabased development will transform existing areas (retrofit and redevelop), including slums, into better planned ones, thereby improving liveability of the whole city. New areas (greenfield) will be developed around cities in order to accommodate the expanding population in urban areas. Application of Smart Solutions will enable cities to use technology, information and data to improve infrastructure and services. Comprehensive development in this way will improve quality of life, create employment and enhance incomes for all, especially the poor and the disadvantaged, leading to inclusive Cities.
The core infrastructure elements in a smart city would include:
- Adequate water supple
- Assured electricity supply
- Sanitation, including solid waste management
- Efficient urban mobility and public transport
- Affordable housing, especially for the poor
- Robust IT connectivity and digitalization
- Good governance, especially e-governance and citizen participation
- Sustainable environment
- Safety and security of citizens, particularly women, children and the elderly
- Health and education
The strategic components of area-based development in the Smart Cities Mission are city improvement (retrofitting), city renewal (redevelopment) and city extension (greenfield development) plus a Pan-city initiative in which Smart Solutions are applied covering larger parts of the city.
- Retrofitting: This will incorporate planning in existing built up areas to achieve smart city objectives in order to make existing areas more efficient and liveable. An area consisting of more than 500 acres will be identified in consultation with the citizens. Keeping in view the existing infrastructure, a strategy will be prepared to bring about changes and improvements to make the city a smart city. 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 packed into the retrofitted smart city. It is possible that this strategy is completed in a shorter time frame leading to its replication in another part of the city.
- Redevelopment: This strategy will effect a replacement of the existing built up spaces and enablement of co-creation of a new layout with enhanced infrastructure using mixed land use and increased density. Redevelopment envisages an area of more than 50 acres identified by Urban Local Bodies in consultation with the citizens. A new layout for such land will be prepared to include mixed land use, higher FSI and high ground coverage. Saifee Burhani Upliftment Project in Mumbai and redevelopment of East Kidwai Nagar in New Delhi undertaken by National Building Construction Corporation are two prominent examples of this scheme.
- Greenfield Development: Smart Solutions will be introduced in an existing vacant area of more than 250 acres using innovative planning, planned financing and planned implementation tools like land pooling/ land reconstitution with provisions for affordable housing specifically targeting the poor. This will address the need for expansion on account of growing population. GIFT City in Gujarat is an example of this. Greenfield Developments could be located within the limits of the ULB or within the limits of the local Urban Development Authority.
- Pan-city development: This envisages application of selected Smart Solutions to the existing city-wide infrastructure. Application of Smart Solutions will involve 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 citizens will have positive effects on productivity and quality of life of citizens. Another example can be waste water recycling and smart metering which can make a huge contribution to better water management in the city.
Each shortlisted city is expected to encapsulate either of the above mentioned strategies or a mix thereof and a pan-city feature with smart solutions. Pan-city is an additional feature to be provided. It is empirical that all city residents feel there is something in it for them. Thus, additional requirements of some city wide smart solutions have been put in the scheme to make it inclusive. For North Eastern and Himalayan States, the area proposed to be developed will be one-half of what is prescribed for any of the alternative models.