Social, Mobile To Help Smart Cities Go Green

by Sohini Bagchi    Sep 29, 2015


The Indian Green Building Council (IGBG) said that 100 cities under the Centre’s ambitious ‘Smart City’ program will be developed as green cities. A green building or infrastructure is one which uses less water, saves on energy consumption, conserves natural resources, generates less waste and provides healthier spaces for occupants than a conventional building. At present, a number of these cities are turning to social media ito raise awareness and gain ideas on what should be included in this country-wide initiative.

The Government of India has allocated $1.2 billion for Smart Cities in the Union Budget for 2014-15. The first stage of the program was the nominations of the cities, and the second stage will begin after the list of nominees have been finalized. Nominees will be given about $300,000 each to prepare their smart city proposals (SCPs).  

Once the proposals have been submitted, 20 cities will reportedly be selected and be given about $15 million each to continue development. It is expected that the government of India will spend about $45 billion over the next five years on the smart city initiative.

As the cities participating in the SCP must submit a concept plan by October and a draft by November 27 and the final proposals should be submited by December 15, 2015, owing to the fast approaching deadline, some of the participants have turned to social media and the SMS to get suggestions on what areas or projects to focus on the proposal.

Ranchi Municipal Corporation, the governing body of Ranchi, for example has turned to Facebook, Twitter and blogs in order to offer suggestions for smart city plans. Mobile is yet another powerful tool to help spread the message.

The Chennai Municipal Corporation, the governing body of Chennai, has started sending SMS to its residents looking for any suggestions for its SCP. The city has also put up a Facebook page and added a smart city suggestion tab on its website where its residents can also submit suggestions.

At a recent event on smart cities, IGBC Chairman said, ” With a focus on eco-friendliness, we ensure that the smart cities will be environment friendly as well as energy efficient.” He added that by adopting  simple techniques of energy saving, solid waste management, rain water harvesting, recycling, etc. while creating these smart cities across India.

“Smart cities start with smart systems, working for the benefit of both residents and the environment. Electric grids, gas distribution systems, water distribution systems, public and private transportation systems, commercial buildings, hospitals, homes — these form the backbone of the city’s efficiency, livability, and sustainability,” added Prabir Kumar Aditya, VP, InterraIT, who added that it is the improvement and integration of these critical city systems that become the cornerstones to making a smart city a reality. 

Rakesh Kaul, Partner-Government and Public services, PwC, India said, “Smart Cities concept is built on 4 pillars that includes Physical (Infrastructure), Social (Health, Education, and Entertainment), Institutional (Municipalities & City Managers), Economic (Ease of doing business in India). The initiatives should be commercially viable, socially inclusive and maintain ecological balance, he summed up.