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Talk of Smart City and a vision of the ‘Jetsons’ cartoon series from when we were young flashes before one’s eyes. Advanced automotive pods bobbing through space highways, schools in the sky and a robot in every home is typically what a Smart City means to the common man.

Of course, as architects and urban planners we do realize that the global citizens of today are almost touching this idealistic vision of the future. Here’s a quick look at some of the key developments in this direction.

Investments in urban infrastructure
As government authorities plan to make their cities greener and more energy efficient, more technology driven, there is a clear indication that huge investments will have to be made in infrastructure. While most smart city plans tend to revolve building cities up from a scratch, setting up the grid, and then developing the infrastructure and its various amenities; urban planners believe this is just one part of the story,

Existing cities: The real challenge
The real challenge lies in making our existing cities SMART. Citing examples of Songdo in South Korea, the experts state that just putting up a state of the art city with the latest technology is not enough. It needs to be lived in, it needs communities. People should want to go and work and live there. Sondo has not delivered on this front and the pace at which technology is changing today, the Songdo infrastructure is already being considered obsolete. These facts are making urban planners and government authorities relook at their concepts of Smart Cities.

On to the future
With ideas like autonomous cars, connected homes, buildings and roads being heavily funded by public and private entities, we are definitely looking at ways to upgrade our existing cities to the SMART slot.

But equally important, and much required, are changes in citizen behavior to drive energy saving habits, waste reducing attitudes and encouragement to use greener cleaner energy.

The next few pages look at the initiatives taken by various cities in this direction. Happy reading.

A quick tally of Smart Cities Projects in India

Projects Approved: 731
Implementation started: 49
Completed as of Jan 2017: 24

Data source: Hindustan Times