Smart Cities

Smart Cities Development - Importance of Project Management for Monitoring and Execution

Raj Kalady
Raj Kalady, Managing Director, PMI India
The Smart Cities Mission is a laudable initiative by the Government of India (GoI) to drive economic growth and improve the quality of life of people by enabling local development and harnessing technology as a means to create smart outcomes for citizens. Currently, 31% of India's population lives in cities; these cities also generate 63% of the nation's economic activity. These numbers are rapidly increasing, with almost half of India's population projected to live in its cities by 2030. Smart Cities focus on the most pressing needs and on the greatest opportunities to improve the quality of life for residents today and in the future. In the approach to the Smart Cities Mission, the objective is to promote cities that provide core infrastructure and give a decent quality of life to its citizens, a clean and sustainable environment and application of 'Smart' Solutions. The focus is on sustainable, and inclusive development, and the idea is to look at compact areas, create a replicable model which will act as a lighthouse to other aspiring cities.

India has a population of 1.27 billion plus and growing with every tick of the clock. To accommodate this rapid urbanization, the GoI has envisioned the concept of building 100 smart cities in the country. The GoI has allocated $1.2 billion to build these smart cities. There is no such exact definition for Smart City, but a city is said to be smart when it ultimately runs Information and Communication Technology (ICTs) model—be it for governance, education, electricity, water, sanitation, and recycling, ensuring 24/7 water supply, traffic and transport systems. Though these features appear to be futuristic, a smart city brings these along with it which is set to be a reality in India in less than a decade as the smart city concept takes hold.

The Smart Cities Mission requires smart people who actively participate in governance and reforms. Citizen involvement is much more than a ceremonial participation in governance. Smart people involve themselves in the definition of the Smart City, decisions on deploying Smart Solutions, implementing reforms, doing more with less and oversight during implementing and designing post-project structures to make the Smart City developments sustainable.

Significant investments in time and resources will have to be made available during the planning phase before participation in the Challenge. Understanding the concepts of retrofitting, redevelopment and greenfield development by the policy makers, implementers and other stakeholders at different levels will require capacity assistance. The management of construction projects requires knowledge of modern management as well as an understanding of the design and construction process.

NBM&CW July 2016