SMARTIZENS… AND THEIR SMART CITY IDEAS

These smart citizens from India and Germany speak about various aspects of a smart city and the tangible benefits it can offer, from efficient governance to new technologies, citizen engagement to clean energy. What’s Up, Germany? presents some smart city ideas.

People for Smarter Cities

 Angela Kreutz, CEO, Blocher Blocher IndiaAs architects, we see it as our responsibility to contribute to a better tomorrow. Consequently, for us, smart solutions are always sustainable. For each project, we take global solutions and adapt them to local conditions like the climate or increasing energy costs. Mechanical shading, for example, avoids the harmful effects air-conditioning has on our environment and at the same time, saves energy.
CEO, Blocher Blocher India

Oliver Rack, Founder, IOX Institute, Heidelberg, GermanySmart cities need smart societies and, of course, smart governance. This means nothing less than coping with tech challenges as well as societal and economic shifts. The government and administration are like an operating system—the “State OS”. It has to be as innovative, secure and common as possible, and it must provide “digital public value” like information infrastructure, including hardware, software and data. A smart government initiates and cultivates co-creative innovations with civic society.
Founder, IOX Institute, Heidelberg, Germany

Nishant Vasani, Vice president, Magus Consulting, MumbaiSmart city is not a concept; it is a cumulative action plan to create better and sustainable livelihood for the deserving citizens of India. A participative approach makes things happen. By following this mantra, we can make the smart city programme a success and implement it in any Indian city. People interacting with government bodies will help to set the right priorities while identifying projects. It will create the willingness to accept the changes and absorb the costs required to achieve a high standard of living. This, in turn, will make the proposed development model financially viable.
Vice president, Magus Consulting, Mumbai

Olaf-Gerd Gemein, Business architect & co-founder, Smart Cities Lab, Mumbai, Hamburg & LondonWe all aim to improve the liveability of cities, but all actions have to address citizens first. In India, being smart would be to learn from the 1,000+ successful projects across the globe and to deconstruct, adopt and adapt them to the Indian context. One needs to think about impact first, then about technology. Engage with citizens, build communities around relevant topics, be transparent and trustworthy. India can—and should—improve dramatically over the next ten years. It’s time to move!
Business architect & co-founder, Smart Cities Lab, Mumbai, Hamburg & London

Dr Mirjam Wiedemann, Managing director, Wiedemann Consultants GmbHSmart Cities should be sustainable urban and economic developments that foster liveability, prosperity and a healthy environment for citizens. In our opinion, more time should be spent on developing the strategic roadmaps to ensure that in the long run India’s smart cities really address the needs of the people, the economy and the different regions. Inclusive planning caters for all parts of society, including the migrant population.
Managing director, WiedemannConsultants GmbH

prof-chetan-vaidyaThe “Smart Cities Mission” is going to be successful because of the innovative use of technologies to deliver services and leverage government funds. Urban leaders have to build trust among citizens and convince them about the project’s benefits. This would help generate additional municipal revenues and improve services. We have a lot to learn from German cities when it comes to using innovative technologies and involving citizens as stakeholders.
Director, School of Planning and Architecture (SPA), New Delhi

dr-chirine-etezadzadehIt takes smart people to build a smart city. Educate people and teach them about the needs, necessities and vulnerabilities of their city in a global context. Create a city-specific vision that they can embrace. Enable people to think and act in keeping with that vision by providing them with smart infrastructures. Use digitisation to leapfrog 20th-century appliances. Unlock people’s creative and value-creation potential to promote productivity. That will offer them prospects and freedom of action, leading to enhanced vision creation, liveability, sustainability and resilience. This smart city formula will require determination, discipline and a super-efficient city government.
President, SmartCity.institute, Germany, & founder of SmartCityNews.global

rumi-aijasSensible governance practices by civic institutions and citizens caring for their city make it smart. Civic institutions should correctly understand a city’s social, economic and physical requirements and its diversity, and respond accordingly. At the same time, citizens should show a greater sense of civic responsibility. The most important element is the ability of civic institutions to offer a superior quality of life to all residents. This can be achieved by a judicious utilisation of resources, efficient delivery of urban services and protection of the environment.
Senior fellow, Observer Research Foundation (ORF), New Delhi

shyam-khandekarWalking has been and must remain the mother of all movements in all smart cities. It is environmentally friendly, socially interactive and it promotes health. We must use innovative design and technology to enable smart walking: landscaped areas that encourage walking, umbrellas that open to provide shade and collect water, lighting that senses pedestrians and adjusts to their needs and fine water sprays in hot climates that make walking a joy. Public travelators, like in Hong Kong, can make walking up a gradient possible for the old and disabled. Smart walking will increase citizen interaction and participation in cities. And the cost of facilitating it will be much lower than the cost of promoting vehicular mobility.
Co-founder & editorial director, myliveablecity, Netherlands & India

Lalit Kumar

lalit-kumarNowadays, smart city ideas are “trending”. Everything around us is going to be functioning in the smartest manner possible. Smart transport, with zero pollution and advanced features like self-drive, is an exciting area for researchers and commuters. My contribution is PIXY, an Android-based hybrid electric smart car, which I designed and developed in a small workshop at home with limited resources and tools. This lightweight, pollution-free electric car is equipped with exciting features like automatic gull-wing doors, RFID access and autopilot mode. I hope to motivate the young generation to use renewable energy sources while developing future technologies.
Inventor & developer, New Delhi

evan-mertensSmart villages are the future of India. There is great demand for reliable and clean energy in rural India, especially for the 300 million villagers without access to electricity. New technologies like blockchain, Internet of Things (IoT) and small-scale energy generators offer low-cost solutions for growing a smart energy network, where generation, storage, control and ownership can be distributed among all the villagers. As a result, the network becomes reliable and can be autonomously grown by the users themselves. Starting today, smart villages can leapfrog the outdated centralised energy network and set an example for future smart cities.
Co-founder, Rural Spark Energy India, New Delhi