Smart or dumb? The real impact of India’s proposal to build 100 smart cities

Hugh Byrd Professor of Architecture at University of Lincoln has a piece:

The quest to make cities smart and liveable has been promoted alongside increased population densities and urban compaction. We argue that this planning goal is reaching a point where resources are inadequate for the functioning of a city.

Case studies such as Bhendi Bazaar provide an example of plans for increased density and urban regeneration. However, they do not offer an answer to the challenge of limited infrastructure to support the resource requirements of such developments.

The results of our research indicate significant adverse impacts on the environment. They show that the metabolism increases at a greater rate than the population grows. On this basis, this proposed development for Mumbai, or the other 99 cities, should not be called smart or sustainable.

With policies that aim to prevent urban sprawl, cities will inevitably grow vertically. But with high-rise housing comes dependence on centralised flows of energy, water supplies and waste disposal. Dependency in turn leads to vulnerability and insecurity.

Suburbia offers some buffer. Water and power can be collected from individual roofs and food produced in individual gardens. However, we argue that vertical urban form on this scale offers little resilience.

Smart may be, but questions on sustainability are always there..


4 Responses to “Smart or dumb? The real impact of India’s proposal to build 100 smart cities”

  1. vikramml Says:

    No further comment.

  2. Amol Agrawal Says:

    you mean the first two words of the title of the post? 🙂

    • vikramml Says:

      How did you even guess? :O
      Half of our problems could be solved if we didn’t have this mai-baap sarkaar attitude. Unfortunately, it is too ingrained among us, even among the well-off who don’t need to do so.

    • vikramml Says:

      “No man’s life, liberty, or property is safe while the legislature is in session.”

      Don’t know who said it, although its misappropriated to Mark Twain. If you don’t know who said something, or you want to make up a quote, attribute it to Mark Twain.

      Do we have any notable libertarians in India? We need many more of them.

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