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Smart Cities – the future of urban infrastructure planning

What is a smart city?

A smart city is often thought to be a city in which digital technology is all-important. However, a truly "smart" city has many other significant ingredients.

The starting point for a smart city comes with intelligent, comprehensive urban planning, in which the design anticipates future trends and growth.

Elements of planning for a smart city

To create a durable, sustainable smart city, the initial planning must be forward looking. It must include:

  • Environmentally sustainable integrated urban environment
  • Integrated infrastructure development
  • Optimised transport connectivity, facilitating ease of movement between home, work, retail and leisure, including minimising pollution-creating modes of transport
  • Integration of nature with the urban environment, to create a balanced and pleasant space for living and working
  • Smart communication, minimising the need for travel within the city
  • High quality accessible education, integrated from primary school to university and professional education

Chandigarh – a smart city in advance of its time

A well-planned, forward-looking city has the ability to be sustainable and "modern" for decades. Chandigarh in northern India is a prime example. The Master Plan was created in 1951, and 66 years later, it remains one of the most pleasant cities in India, with a high quality of life and, unlike nearly all Indian cities, an almost complete absence of traffic congestion.

The city planning for Gandhinagar, the new capital of the state of Gujarat, is using many of the features from Chandigarh, almost seven decades later.

A smart city depends on smart people

Urban planning, including smart city planning, frequently neglects or only partially includes the contribution of the people to the intelligent city environment. Artists' renditions and scale models of new cities are often remarkable for the absence of people on display.

This underlines the importance of high-quality education at all levels, from primary school to higher education, and including professional education. Good quality education maintains an intelligent population – contributing to a smart city worthy of the name.

CIP model for capacity building for sustainable smart cities

The planning, construction and operation of a smart city requires the development of high-level advanced professional competence and skills across all sectors. Through its associates and partners, and through a combination of international and local skills, CIP can deliver capacity building for successful smart cities

CIP capacity building for smart cities

  • International best practice in every sector
  • Horizontal integration between sectors
  • Integration between management and "technical" skills
  • Vertical integration in every sector
  • Ground-breaking capacity building and implementation capability: (a) Every new smart city should be smarter than the previous one; (b) Smart city planning should be forward looking and not backward looking
  • Research must be integrated into capacity building: This enables quantification of the results and benefits
  • Capacity building teams should integrate international & local talent, expertise and experience
  • Integration of professional capacity building with higher and further education institutions for cross fertilisation
  • Integration between the public and private sectors

Every smart city has to be different