With over 40 exhibitors, 80 eminent speakers, 1,500 visitors and the glittering Smart Cities Awards ceremony, the two-day event organised by Smart Cities Council of India (SCCI) in Bengaluru was a runaway success.
The Smart Cities Council India, part of the global consortium of smart cities, recently concluded the 6th Smart Cities Summit - SM@RT URBANATION - in Bengaluru. The two-day event held in late September outlined India's urban reality and future, buttressed by technological evolution. With 40 exhibitors more than 80 high-profile national and international speakers, Smart Cities Awards recognising over 40 cities, and a footfall of nearly 1,500 the event was a grand success.
Also, this year, the 14th CONSTRUCTION WORLD Architect & Builder Awards 2019 (CWAB 2019) got bigger and smarter as it collaborated with the 6th SM@RT URBANATION event, recognising and awarding over 40 leading architects and builders in India.
Kicking off the event on the right note, Pratap Padode, Founder & Director, Smart Cities Council India, said, "The opportunity for building cities that last centuries is available to our current leaders. The Delhi-Mumbai Industrial Corridor has planned eight industrial cities. For instance, the Navi Mumbai Airport Influence Notified Area (NAINA) city is planned to come up around a radial distance of about 25 km from the proposed international airport at Navi Mumbai on an over a 334-sq km plot. Its development plan was recently cleared. Navi Mumbai was probably the last greenfield city that was planned and it has held its course. China has developed 30 cities in the past 30 years with over one million population. India has 53 cities or rather urban agglomerations with over one million population, while China has over 160. The Municipal Act needs an overhaul if we expect a commitment to building sustainable cities that will last centuries."
Kunal Kumar, Joint Secretary, Smart Cities Mission Director, Ministry of Housing & Urban Affairs (MoHUA), unveiled the Smart Cities Progress Report at the Summit. "Of the 5,000 projects for the proposed 100 cities, we have tendered out 3,880 projects worth Rs 1.4 trillion and completed 1,100 projects worth over Rs 201 billion," he said. "This is only one aspect of what the mission has achieved. The remaining projects are expected to be tendered out by March 2020." The report includes all the recent data from MoRTH on completed, operational and under-implementation projects and tenders floated.
To make urbanisation a positive and productive transformation that will deliver long-term gains to citizens, Vijay Bhaskar TM, Chief Secretary, Government of Karnataka, elaborated upon the three goals of social equitability, economic viability and environmental sustainability. He said, "Urbanisation manifests itself in two ways: Expansion of existing cities and creation of new ones. The unprecedented urban growth that is expected, especially in countries such as India, will require a wide range of policies and practices to be conceptualised around a new socially inclusive and environmentally friendly paradigm. The current situation holds tremendous potential for governments to build cities of the future that can serve as engines of growth by attracting talent and investment in the global competitive landscape." Addressing the audience, Anjum Parvez, Principal Secretary, Urban Development Department, Government of Karnataka, said, 'Every city is trying to become smart and this is a positive development happening in our country. While smart is the new buzzword, we have started late. It is only in the late '90s that we started talking about urban development. Today, there is a need to focus on the development of rural areas and the creation of job opportunities in these areas. We are no more just learners. We are contributors. The smart cities scheme has been a catalyst in changing the way we look at urbanisation."
Indeed, Smart Urbanation was a grand gathering of industry stalwarts. The conference focused on various opportunities and pertinent solutions with regards to smart cities.
Sm@rt Urbanation Convention & Expo 2019: Panel Discussions
Day 1, Session 1:
Tech Talk Smart City Opportunities
Since the Smart Cities programme was also a platform to make citizens smart, it won't succeed unless both the municipal workers and residents learned to think and act smart
Other than focusing on big city India, policymaking at the national level should also devise urbanisation strategies for states
There was a need to develop the urbanisation hierarchy for each state
Lack of integrated approach in smart city design can create significant technology risks
Thought needs to be given to Hybrid Annuity Model (HAM) kind of financing arrangement for the development of smart cities after taking into account the state concerned and geography of the area
Emerging technologies, along with GIS, are creating entirely new paradigms with technology deployment in areas such as command control, emergency response, disaster management, etc., in urban areas
Retrofitting of brownfield projects with smart solutions had revealed its own unique set of challenges
"What is architecture? Is it a piece of art or is it a sculpture? My answer is, no! Its first of all feasibility, how much it cost to build and what is the value of the building after we built it? The Second commandment is the functionality, the space, the technology of a building, the engineering, the green aspect, the sustainability. Nobody thinks about the maintenance when we design or build a building. The design, yes, it's important. But it's a less important thing. The design should be a result of logic."
- Dr. David Fisher, Founder & Chairman, Dynamic Architecture
Day 1, Session 2: Tech Talk Tackling Traffic Tantrums
Pune not only successfully introduced Intelligent Transport Management System (ITMS) in city buses to improve its public transportation system but had also adopted a holistic approach to resolve the issue of last-mile connectivity
Indian cities should consider the Hong Kong model where the Capex and Opex are realised from multi-modal hubs
Parking management systems are bound to fail unless authorities assert control over roads in a well-coordinated manner
On average, commute in an Indian city takes 100 per cent more time during peak hours as compared to a non-peak hour travel
Automation of traffic management systems and analysis of historical traffic data would go a long way in reducing travel time in cities
Cities like Bengaluru that had ample green cover must regain their legacy by taking up eco-friendly and sustainable initiatives concerning Mass Rapid Transit System (MRTS) and public transport
"All the things like knowledge, information and computation that matter to us the most are things that are not physical in nature. Information can reside in your brain, in my brain, in this book, on this map, on this mobile and this screen. Similarly, I consider smart cities as a philosophy that cuts across the hardware, and that hardware is the smart city. So, we were piloting the software in the hardware called '100 Smart Cities'. Now it's time that we take it to the next level, which is all the 4,000 cities in the country and I hope sooner than later, we will be able to expand this philosophy, this style of working and these complex ways of decision making to all the cities in the country."
- Kunal Kumar, Joint Secretary, Smart Cities Mission Director, MoHUA, Govt. of India
Day 1, Session 3: Panel Session Safe-T: Public Safety Through the Lens of Technology
Taking a holistic view while doing prescriptive and predictive analytics helps create immense value for customers
Law enforcement agencies need to take cognisance of the advanced crime detection and investigation technologies available
Effective utilisation of technology helps law enforcement in improving response time and, in effect, public safety
Regular data analytics helps in identifying patterns that could then help in eliminating the root cause of a problem
In keeping with industry best practices, it is essential to safeguard the security and privacy of citizens while storing data
While building anything around data, the security aspect must be thought out at multiple layers
"We need to involve the community as the stakeholders because at the end of the day what our government does is not for its own sake but the citizens. You need to get them engaged in making decisions so that they own the place. So that they make sure that they keep the estate clean and safe. What we do is when we come up with a draft concept plan is to publish it and then invite the community, professionals and individuals to come and discuss it. We hold closed-door discussions so that the interested party can bring up the issues and WE DISCUSS THEM IN A CONTROLLED ENVIRONMENT."
- Koh Lin Ji, Group Director, International Development, Building & Construction Authority, Singapore
Day 2, Session 1:
Topic of discussion: Building Affordable Cities
Affordability is related to how industries perform in a city
It should be looked at from the perspective of sustainability and the economic, social and environment angle
A person's income needs to be equal to their expenses that have to be covered in the city; also, ensuring health and safety are two important factors to be considered.
"Location" is a mantra in real estate that is also relevant to the building of greenfield cities because primarily one can either build a satellite community or in a remote area
Another challenge that the industry is seized with is maintaining the balance within brownfield development, not just in terms of the environment, but also restoration of heritage
"The Smart City scheme is unlike any other scheme as it is a catalyst. It has changed the entire paradigm in the way we think about urbanisation. FOR A LONG TIME, WE WERE INVOLVED IN AN AD HOC KIND OF URBAN DEVELOPMENT. SUDDENLY SOMETHING WOULD ERUPT AND THIS OR THAT ROAD HAD TO BE CONSTRUCTED. THEN AFTER A MONTH OR SO SOMEBODY WOULD COME AND DIG UP THE ROAD! FOR THE FIRST TIME, AS PART OF THE SMART CITIES PROGRAMME, WE HAVE STARTED FIRMING UP OUR PLANS. It's a very unique scheme that was not decided on political grounds or the pull factor of a city. It was decided purely based on competition."
- Anjum Parvez, Principal Secretary, Urban Development Department, Govt. of Karnataka
Day 2, Session 2:
From Trash to Treasure: Managing Waste and Water
Rampant open defecation had huge implications on the environment in terms of maintenance of hygiene and sanitation, health and aesthetics of a particular area
Transporting garbage in the compactor was the most aesthetic way of doing it as the process is environment-friendly with a minimum carbon footprint
The need of the day was a smart monitoring system that could help in identifying gaps in the system and then fix them with complete accountability
Building systems with open data was critical as there needs to be visibility and transparency for citizens and stakeholders; it allows them to engage in creating value for the whole society
If a ward level scorecard was initiated based on garbage, number of toilets, etc., and a positive competition created accordingly, it would result in credible reporting by putting all the appropriate systems in place
The substantially higher construction & demolition (C&D) waste could be turned into a resource by being processed properly to create sand to address the material's shortage
Day 2, Session 3:
Tech Talk Powering Up :
Meeting India's Energy Needs
In 2018, the 7.9 per cent growth in primary energy consumption in India was the third-highest globally after China and the US with a 5.8 per cent global share
Due to rapid economic expansion, India is one of the world's fastest-growing energy markets and is expected to be the second-largest contributor to the increase in global energy demand by 2035
With buildings accounting for over 40 per cent of the entire energy consumption, energy needs to be made visible through the deployment of basic metering, digitalisation, IoTs and sensors
There was a need to source solar power through vertical solar panel and solar tree installations
The decision to have 100 smart cities was not political but a deliberate move for India to be made future-ready by redefining the traditional thought process through the use of technology-driven solutions