The concept of smart cities began as far back as the 1960s in the US. This first generation of smart city was delivered by technology providers to understand the implications of technology on daily life.
This led to the second generation of smart city, which looked at how smart technologies and other innovations could create solutions to the problems of a city. The third generation of smart city took the control away from technology providers and city leaders creating a model that involved the public and enabled social inclusion and community engagement.
Which stage is Panjim city? and which way it will go will determine how smart Panjim city will become.
What is a Smart City?
IBM defines a smart city as “one that makes optimal use of all the interconnected information available today to better understand and control its operations and optimise the use of limited resources.” A smart city uses a framework of information and communication technologies to create, deploy and promote development practices to address urban challenges and create a joined-up technologically-enabled and sustainable infrastructure
This third-generation model was adopted by Vienna, who created a partnership with the local Wien Energy company, allowing citizens to invest in local solar plants as well as working with the public to resolve gender equality and affordable housing issues.
Such adoption has continued around the world, including in Vancouver, where 30,000 citizens co-created the Vancouver Greenest City 2020 Action Plan. Therefore, a smart city is created by the community of people and ensures their conveniences and comforts.
The ICT framework of a smart city is meant to bring together real time data to improve decision making. Citizens will be able to engage and interact with smart city ecosystems through mobile devices and connected vehicles and buildings.
Improving sustainability and streamlining energy distribution and refuse collection, as well as offering reduced traffic congestion and improve air quality are the ultimate goals and benefits of a smart city.
Why Smart Cities
54% of the world’s population live in cities and this is expected to rise to 66% by 2050, adding a further 2.5 billion people to the urban population over the next three decades. With this expected population growth, there comes a need to manage environmental, social and economic sustainability of resources.
A smart city should provide an urban environment that delivers a high quality of life to residents while also generating economic growth. This becomes increasingly important in the light of the future population growth in urban areas, where more efficient use of infrastructure and assets will be required. Smart city services and applications will allow for these improvements which will lead to a higher quality of life for citizens. Smart city improvements should provide new value from existing infrastructure while creating new revenue streams and operational efficiencies to help save money for governments and citizens alike.
Sustainability is an important aspect of smart cities as they seek to improve efficiencies in urban areas and improve citizen welfare. Cities offer many environmental advantages, such as smaller geographical footprints, smart technologies could help alleviate the negative effects, of fossil fuel by the implementation of an electric transport system to reduce emissions.
Such sustainable transport options should also see a reduction in the number of personal/ private cars in urban areas as autonomous vehicles are expected to reduce the need for car ownership amongst the population.
The very idea of a city live alone “smart city “ is based on the number of people living there.
That is, a city is not just its buildings and other physical structure, without people it would be a “Ghost city.”
Unfortunately, the Goa government officials, including the elected representatives, of the people, have totally ignored the most vital part of a city, ie, the resident population. A smart city’s job is ultimately to serve its residents. People must be placed firmly at the heart of technological innovation.
The total disregard for resident people and their comfort, convenience and aspiration has led to this state of chaos in Panjim, be it the traffic, water or electricity and many other people related services.
The very fundamental idea that a smart city’s job is to serve the resident population is totally lost- a city cannot exist devoid of its people.
The idea that it is most important to cater to tourists, who just come and go and often committing some destructive activity and most of the time, burdening locals with their scattered waste, noise , broken bottles, rash driving causing even deaths cannot and should not be the government’s priority.
Not just the smart city but the very process of creation of a smart city has to be people centric and consultative. If Panjim is to become a smart city, people’s convenience and comfort, should be a priority and only a public consultative process can achieve a real smart city.
All other superficial and decorative works will only cause future inconveniences for people as most of them will be non-functional and even destructive.
Apart from all these concerns, Panjim, has a unique charm of its own. It’s geography, ancient buildings, the roads, the water front etc and of course its people, have given it a uniqueness. Many tourists visiting Panjim feel as if they are visiting a European city. This charm and uniqueness is being lost with all buildings and new constructions that are coming up within the city. It would have been well if efforts were made to preserve the uniqueness of Panjim and create a new smart city may be beyond the Mandovi bridge or beyond the Miramar circle and may be facilitate new settlements. The idea of preserving the ancient beauty of Panjim seems to be missing in the whole planning process.
(The writer is a
Professor of Law & an