Tuesday, March 17, 2015

Smart Cities

Vasu Reddy From Chicago
vasureddy@aol.com

Isolating a particular geographic location as smart is imaginary.  We have planned cities across the world, typically built around an industry or business.  Many of these cities or townships built are planned to suit the requirements of the particular location, and housing, schools, hospitals, roads and parks and sanitation, water management and shopping and all appropriate transportation and recreational facilities to meet the needs of the new population are all planned and developed, and can be called planned cities.  These exist all across India (for a matter of fact around the globe) and are simply referred to as colonies. They are quite well managed and well laid out to meet the needs of the population of the colony and the working adults, home makers and the children, and the people who work for the families including maintenance and support staff, and the vendors and shopkeepers all of them preserve the colonies intended and isolated cleanliness and organized way of life.

The organized and planned mapping of the small cities is not a new concept, and even a mid-sized city like Chandigarh, despite the population growth still retains the charm of a planned community.  The interesting aspect of planned communities also bring the planned families.  The children of the planned communities typically have good educational facilities through high school which help prepare children for college and planned educational future, and also typically help them learn multiple languages.  The colonies also bring together a multitude of people from all parts of the country, sometimes from different parts of the world, helping them to work with each other, live with each other and also appreciate the different cultures, languages, habits and life style, and more over help the families to appreciate their differences and live well together.  More than just work and life, the multi lingual and multi background of parents help children more than the adults in growing up appreciating the diversity of fellow men and women.  The planned communities, might have started with helping to keep the working men and women together and provide for their wellbeing, really help develop the next generation of children growing into adulthood with a sense of larger community and understanding of diversity of the people.

The new Indian government building smart cities is not a new concept.  Talk of building a 100% new smart cities of revamping the existing cities into smart cities is more political than an economic solution.  We really build smart cities with business and industry as the basis for new development.  You can take government, information technology, telecommunications, mining and shipping, tourism, education, airport, farming and warehousing, and any other business or industry and build the infrastructure that supports that particular enterprise and build the towns and cities that are fostered with employment and opportunity for the residents.  India despite its population and the last two decades of growth still can build smart cities quickly and intelligently to provide for its current and future population.

Indians are conscious of their nature and surroundings.  The new plastics and paper culture is really foreign to the nation where stainless steel plates and glasses are a standard in the kitchens, and limited waste created by the food or other habits of majority of Indians.  The latest fast food industry of paper and plastic can be easily avoided by simply following the basics of the last generations.  Saving the environment, using solar power, public transportation, building sanitation facilities, farming with care, above all respect for nature and preserving for the future are all well engrained in the Indian life and teachings and simply reinforcing them along with building sustainable living areas will make the country to continue to be more livable for generations to come.
 
Smart cities will simply require smart living and smart approaches to life by all citizens.  While it may not be immediately possible to make everyone comfortable with every aspect of life, taking steps to develop the infrastructure, continuously educate the population on sanitation and cleanliness, and providing for opportunity to work and live where they are, will make it a very smart country.  It is a great initiative to build smart cities, but it will be a greater initiative to build smart minds and smart lives along with smart cities.  We really need to strive for a smart country for all.

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