Being digitally connected is not equivalent to be a smart city even though it is the basis of a digital backbone. Designing a smart city involves the consideration of how it will favour citizens living in the city, improve their quality of life, and cleaner environment and sanitation.
Smart cities begin with smart citizens; therefore, it is essential to enhance the quality of education. Only be providing appropriate education for future citizens can they have the essential civic knowledge to help sustain a livable city. However, at present, citizens are not demanding for improved living conditions; while those who have done so are mostly self-help volunteer groups who have enhanced their surroundings to their personal advantage. They have adopted the role of the government whose fundamental responsibility is to provide better quality of life in Indian cities.
Every city is a mess in traffic management, infinite crowds, extreme noise, poor lighting, roads with potholes. Many roads are dug up for cables and other utilities and are never restored to usable condition for months together. India is the only country in the world where easily reusable trenches are not provided for utilities; it is a perpetual cycle of digging and filling and digging again all at the cost of the poor citizen.
Continued efforts on digital connectivity in the cities and better governance with accountability for delivery of quality services are needed. Indian smart cities can only be realised when the cities adopt ISO standards for urban living.
Participate in the upcoming QS in conversation – “University-Public Sector Partnerships: Smart Cities” which will be held from 3-5 October 2018 in Singapore.