Smart Industrial Cities are the key to strong economic future

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JAI PRAKASH SHIVAHARE, IAS, MANGING DIRECTOR,  DHOLERA INDUSTRIAL CITY DEVELOPMENT LTD.

New Delhi, September 13, 2018: Currently, about 34 per cent of India’s population lives in urban areas. There has been a 3 per cent rise since 2011. It is estimated that India’s urban population could increase to 814 million by 2050. But it is now enough for any country to simply experience rapid urbanisation without proper urban planning. In fact, as the urban population grows, it is imperative that the demands for proper infrastructure that include basic services like clean drinking water, public transport, affordable housing, proper sewage treatment etc will only surge. India is not that the only country that is experiencing rapid urbanisation. In fact, more than half of the world’s population is increasingly moving to urban areas.

It is a well- established fact that the world’s population is increasingly shifting to urban areas. As of today, 55 percent of the world’s population lives in urban areas and this is set to increase to 68 percent by 2050. As per projections by the UN, Department of Economic and Social Affairs, India will add another 416 million people to its Urban Population by 2050.  Given this pace of urbanisation, India is likely to face challenges in meeting the needs of its growing urban population in terms of housing, transportation, energy and other infrastructure along with employment and other basic services.

It is because of this that there arises a strong need to embrace the concept of a Smart City. By definition, a smart city is one that creates more proficient and favourable relationships between the available resources, technology, community services and happenings in the urban fabric. Many smart cities are known to leverage technological advancements using Internet of Things (IoT) platforms to monitor city infrastructures, overseeing everything from traffic flows, parking, water and even air quality, and using the resulting data to handle long-term planning around environmental sustainability.

A smart industrial city has the ability to propel the growth of the economy and drive its progress. The positive impact of smart technologies on industrial and economic development is superlative since they ensurethat critical infrastructure is economically sustainable and public services are interactive, transparentand responsive. The development of a smart city encompasses improvements in the overall quality of life and goes a long way in attracting businesses and consequently citizens to settle in such cities.

Of course, it’s not enough to just assume that smart cities can bring about a paradigm shift in the economic growth of a country. For a smart industrial city to contribute to the growth of an economy, engaging with all the stakeholders is the key starting point. It requires administrators to think carefully about public-private partnerships, open data policies, citizen input and participation. The next step is for cities to harness real-time urban intelligence to power their smart mobility, power, utilities, commerce, urban applications etc with ease.

In India, currently, the Dholera Special Investment Region (DSIR) is being created as a smart industrial city with some of the answers to the challenge of rapid urbanization in the country. DSIR , a 920 km2 located 100 km south of Ahmedabad is being constructed as a state-of-the-artSpecial Investment Region which will attract major companies from around the world to start manufacturing for domestic and export market. The industrial areas are complemented by residential development to meet an anticipated population of 2 million by 2050. All residential areas will be mixed income housing and will be developed with a comprehensive range of community facilities clusters, including schools, medical facilities, neighbourhood retail etc. along with the required open space such that building sustainable communities where walking and cycling is a norm rather than reliance on fossil fuel based vehicles.

In short, a smart industrial city is the panacea to address the woes of urbanisation, to augment the growth of an economy and to spur its development.

Corporate Comm India(CCI Newswire)