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DC Ground Realty: Smart cities need ‘smarter’ citizens

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A city is a reflection of how its citizens perceive it, and a smart city actually is how a city behaves as an innovative ecosystem.
Without smart citizens, the Smart City proposals will hold good only for documentation and not implementation.

There is no Chennai without Chennaiites. Hence by definition, for a ‘Smart Chennai’, it is therefore the citizens who are vital in determining whether or not the project turns out successful and effective.

A. Shankar, National Director & Head (Operations), Strategic Consulting, Jones Lang Lasalle, one of the project consultants who helped prepare a Rs 1,366 crore proposal to convert Chennai into a smart city and which included an area development proposal for T Nagar, is of the opinion that the smarter a city becomes, the greater will be its dependence on equally efficient, smart citizens.

In an interview, Shankar tells us why external factors cannot stop the transformation of Chennai into a smart city and how citizen participation is necessary to keep it that way.

Q How are ‘smart citizens’ integral to the success of a smart Chennai?

A: A city is a reflection of how its citizens perceive it, and a smart city actually is how a city behaves as an innovative ecosystem. A smart citizen is one who has civic sense and respects the law. Without smart citizens, the Smart City proposals will hold good only for documentation and not implementation. But also, with the implementation of smart projects, there will be a lot of technological advancements that come with it. Citizen participation ensures citizen satisfaction, which in turn ensures maximum efficiency of the proposed technology.

Q What role does a local body play in educating or creating that awareness among citizens?

A: It is the responsibility of the Special Purpose Vehicle, which will have local body officials, elected representatives, citizen participants and also a private entity who may be investing in one of the proposed projects, to create awareness among the citizens.

Citizen education ideally should happen in three stages. The first stage is over, this happened during preparation of proposal. The second stage will be during implementation and the final stage will have to be during the process of implementation. Because, the entire smart city plan cannot be implemented in one go. So, when it is executed in phases, it is important to keep the citizens engaged through the course.

Q What are the technological advancements that citizens have to learn/get used to?

A: The first part of technological interface will be of use to the authorities, say, an engineer trying to figure out a pipeline leak or a higher official tracking the waste management system. The second part is the one which will benefit the end user. For instance, logging into figure out if there is an open parking slot available in T Nagar and if it is on road or off road etc…

Read more at : http://www.deccanchronicle.com/nation/current-affairs/060516/dc-ground-realty-smart-cities-need-smarter-citizens.html

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