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Experts and government delegates call for a collaborative approach

The 4th Smart Cities India 2018 expo, which was held in the capital from 23rd to 25th May, concluded on a positive note. The expo featured some of the most prominent leaders and experts discussing ways to harness technology to make the next generation of urban spaces resilient, sustainable, and inclusive.
Organised by the India Trade Promotion Organisation (ITPO), the NASSCOM Centre of Excellence – IoT and Exhibitions India Group, the expo co-locates five major verticals that make up our smart city framework – buildings, solar, smart cities, transport and water.  This year Smart Cities India expo offered a platform for key decision makers, industry experts, and thought leaders from around the world to connect and engage in constructive dialogue to lead sustainable development.
The 4th Smart Cities India 2018 expo aimed to empower cities and collectivise urban innovation. The expo shared insights and priorities that support investment, innovation and growth in order to establish India as a global hub for smart city skills and knowledge and technology.
Dr. Namrita Kalsi, Joint GM, DMRC, India, believes that urban planning strategies must focus on the future. Emphasising on the need to upgrade traditional urban planning with technology, she said, “Across the world, one of the most accepted models in urban development is Smart Cities. India too is following this route. But the paradox is that conventional city planners should be actively engaged in collaboration and aggregation. But that is not the case. It is the technologists who have leapfrogged and are at the forefront of most aspects of a smart city.
Mr. Georg Jahnsen, Urban Planner, GIZ, India, “A clear vision is critical for sustainable development. Moreover, data collection and visualisation is indispensable as data is undoubtedly among the many pillars of planning and developing smart cities. Cities need to look in the mirror and identify their history, challenges, contradictions, and complexities. There can’t be one silver bullet or a one-size-fits-all model. A multiscale, specially-tailored approach is the key and cross-sectoral planning is the need of the hour.”
As per the 2011 Census, 31 percent of the population lives in urban areas, and by 2030, 50 percent of India’s population would reside in urban areas. This will create a massive need for intelligent urban transport networks, smart energy, safe and secured public spaces, upgraded water supply, waste disposal facilities, and environmentally compatible buildings.
At the City Leaders’ Conclave, multiple stakeholders addressed the needs of urban sustainability. Panelists at the discussion emphasised that smart city development need to be truly holistic, encompassing everything from technology to policy to enablement to government action and citizen participation. Shri V. Umashankar, Commissioner, Municipal Corporation Gurugram & Additional CEO, GDMA, stated during a panel discussion that urban policies are needed for urban challenges. He reinforced the idea that smart city solutions begins with keeping citizens at the heart of design. GDMA raises funds locally and has received no external funding. The idea of making Gurugram smart is planned at city, sub-city and sector level.
The last day of the three-day expo also saw the Smart Cities India Awards, designed to felicitate, recognise and encourage individuals, policy makers, companies, government bodies and associations working towards developing over 100 smart cities and rejuvenating 500 cities in India. The Smart Village Conclave served as a platform to bring together village heads (pradhans, sarpanches), MPs, innovators, influencers, NGOs, etc., working towards developing smart villages in India.