Globally, smart cities are the latest buzzword. With growing urbanisation, governments are looking at the way in which they make their cities efficient, sustainable and more comfortable for the citizens. Even when there is no standard definition of smart cities , for me it is not just about technology. It is about creating self sustaining communities which can use it’s own resource to work together. It is about creating safe city that’s ensures public safety, safe public spaces, safe transportation and safe workplaces. It is also about creating right infrastructure.
Technology obviously is an important component. Then comes education, which is very important aspect. I feel whatever the model is, these elements remain common for creating any art city across the globe.
Talking about the Indian Smart Cities, the announcement to create 100 smart cities is a laudable step. Globally, even the most advanced countries are looking at developing two to three smart cities. So even if the India government is able to create 50 per cent of the smart cities, it will be a great achievement.
In last 20 years government has been engaged in creating public policies for improving the life of the citizens.It involves voting rights, it involves ensuring efficient public deliveries and services. Cities are looking at strategic governance which ensures better infrastructure, better public safety, education, health, women’s safety.
Technology is being used to engage the citizens as never before. Globally, city administrations, municipal bodies are looking for cost-effective medium to communicate with their citizens and technology is emerging as an important tool. Social media is being used to directly engage with the citizens, along with the traditional modes of engagement. There are various mobile application which are being used for the effective service delivery and make life convenient for the citizens.
Also municipalities are having to redefined what engagement means in this new world. Though technology is often helpful, there still remains a digital divide and gap. So municipalities are still having to engage with its citizens in traditional ways as well ie town halls, face to face.
When much is talked about social media, technology, it come with own set of challenges. Unfortunately in this environment, every resources can also be detriment and can be used against us. So the city administration needs to be more vigilant than they have been in the past. Technologies can also be manipulated. It has happened in the US, it has happened in other parts of the world also. Government, citizens, communities need to more vigilant about the information they are receiving. We have seen that there is also lots of fake news and false information which perpetuate false narrative and are being used to manipulate public opinions and impact citizens in a negative way.
(As told to Anuradha Shukla)
Disclaimer: The views expressed in the article above are those of the authors' and do not necessarily represent or reflect the views of this publishing house
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About the author
Desiree Peterkin Bell
The author is President and CEO of DPBell & Associates and has worked as advisor to former Philadelphia Mayor Michael Nutter, Newark Mayor Cory Booker, and New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg.