The Indian government will develop 100 Smart Cities in the next 15 years. The current urbanization level is around 31% accounting for 60% of India’s GDP. The urbanization level is expected to grow rapidly in the coming 15 years and hence the Indian Government developed an ambitious plan to develop plans for these ‘engines of economic growth’ using the latest principles for sustainable urban development and new technologies. Accordingly, the current thinking is that 100 cities to be developed as Smart Cities may be chosen from amongst the following:
One satellite city of each of the cities with a population of 4 million people or more – 9 cities
All the cities in the population range of 1 – 4 million people – 44 cities
All State Capitals, even if they have a population of less than one million – 17 cities
Cities of tourist and religious importance – 10 cities
Cities in the 0.5 to 1.0 million population range – 20 cities
In Delhi, a new smart city through the land pooling scheme has been proposed
More than one and a half year ago the Indian government already launched the initiative. At that moment in time the ‘100 Smart Cities’ plan was conceived as a mere technological approach to the city. The Note on Smart Cities that is to be found on the website of the Indian government now takes a much broader and interesting approach. Summarised ‘Smart’ is being defined as providing basic infrastructure and services, resilient and attractive urban patterns, quick and transparent planning processes and new technologies. In a sense the ‘100 Smart Cities’ strategy is upscaling the ‘pilot project’ hundred fold in order to generate a real and lasting effect on a broad range of cities across the country. Learning from these examples and all the new brainpower that this ‘grande project’ attracts should equip local governments with the right tools and guiding principles to cope with the rapid urbanisation in the country.
Picture: Martin Roemers
“What are the real levels of air pollution around your home or business? and what about noise pollution? and humidity? Now imagine that you could know them, share instantly and compare with other places in your city, in real time … How could this information help to improve our environment quality?” Smart Citizen wants to answer to these questions and many more, through the development of low-cost sensors. Smart Citizen claims that you can only build a real Smart City with Smart Citizens, and that’s true.
By connecting data, people and knowledge Smart Citizen creates a platform to generate participatory processes of people in cities. A fine grain network of sensors can monitor microclimatic behaviour in cities. This could create possibilities to measure the impact of interventions in the living environment.
Friday January 11th the book ‘City at eye level, lessons for street plinths’ has been launched in Rotterdam. According to the website www.thecityateyelevel.com:
“The plinths of the city are the ground floors that negotiate between the inside and the outside, between the public and the private: this is the city at eye level. Plinths are extremely important for the urban experience, which in turn is an important driver for the urban economy. The plinths might cover only 10% of the building, but determine 90% of the experience. While walking, you consciously and subconsciously examine the immediate eye-level surroundings and absorb any details.
Our book shows you how a good plinth “works” for a better street at eye level. It contains concrete and inspiring examples of strategies for design, land use/programme, the relation to the street, passenger flows and the collaboration of partners. The book is a collection of stories from over 25 experts all over the world: a collective product with lessons from planners, owners, managers and designers. In addition to many international examples and case studies, the book contains several interviews and research articles. It concludes with practical lessons for the reader to put into practice in their own cities.”
The city at eye level promotes a plinth strategy for the city in order to give an impulse to the urban experience and the urban economy.
Green facades could offer many advantages for Smart Cities. Green facades add to the thermal insulation behaviour of buildings, to the biodiversity in the city, the quality of public space and reduction of air pollution; fine dust and carbondioxide. This adds to the idea of the ‘healthy city’. There are two types of green facades. Living wall systems and walls which consist of creepers or hanging plants. The first is an irrigated system of growing panels in which plants literally grow. The latter is a facade or a mesh along which creepers of hanging plants can grow. In north western Europe most green facades have a webbased irrigation system which monitors climate conditions in order to coordinate irrigation. With temperatures below zero degrees Celsius the irrigation system empties itself.
Loft Project Etagi in the heart of St. Petersburg is a good example of how to intensify the inner city. Two St. Petersburg architects took up the initiative to converse the former Smolinsky Bread Factory into an urban meeting point and creative space.The conversed factory houses three galleries, two exhibition spaces, a couple of design- and bookshops, a hostel and the cafe-bar. Café Green Room has a great summer terrace on the roof of the factory. One floor below you find a huge loft space which offers workspace for numerous free-lancers and small businesses on demand. Hidden behind a small door at the street the programmatic ensemble makes use of a potential space which is all over the city in the courtyards of the typical Petersburg building block. Key feature of this complex is the combination with attractors like the hostel and the summer terrace. The kitchen prepares good food and drinks without any profit but is an important driver behind the liveability of the whole.