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Construction : Web Exclusive | August 2014 | Source : Construction Update

Sm@rt Cities Summit 2014 takes off

50 Speakers
300+ Delegates
8 High-powered Sessions

22nd August 2014, MUMBAI: With today’s rising population, urban influx and increasing challenges of congestion and pollution, the need for decongesting metros and large cities and creating self-sufficient satellite cities was never felt more critical. The new government’s recent announcement to allocate Rs 7,060 crore in the Budget to develop 100 smart cities is quite significant in this direction. Also, it has made 2014 a significant milestone year in terms of the commitment of finance and policy to smart city development, deployments of smart city protocols and operating platforms and acceptance of smart technologies as the norm in transport, energy, development, assisted living and security in cities. In this context, Sm@rt Cities Summit 2014 is being held in Mumbai, the financial hub of India on 22 and 23 August, 2014 at Hotel Four Seasons.

Organised by ASAPP Media Information Group, the two day Summit aims at providing a focussed knowledge sharing platform and offers a unique opportunity for the stakeholders involved in the development of smart cities such as architects, developers, designers, city planners, technology providers, policy makers et al to exchange ideas and foster the new integrated approaches in India. Spread over eight high-powered sessions, more than 50 speakers are sharing their practical insights, exchanging ideas, for the benefit of the participants apart from valuable networking opportunities.

The Summit began amid a galaxy of senior policy makers, captains of the industry and peers from across the globe. In his welcome address, Pratap Padode, Editor-in-Chief & MD, ASAPP Media Information Group, said, “Going by the state of cities in India today, smart cities, rather than being a novel idea, make a mandatory agenda for the country. At the same time, it is important to bring in accountability to implement various policies. The development of 100 smart cities will create engines of growth for the country.” This set the tone for the sessions that followed.

Dr Sudhir Krishna, Former Secretary, Ministry of Urban Development, Government of India gave the keynote address. “Urbanisation and per capita income are directly correlated. Let’s prepare our cities for gainful activities by encouraging migration from rural areas. Also, housing should be made part of the planned urbanisation rather than an isolated exercise. Then we can go for smart cities”, he observed. “Allow higher FSI along the transit corridors, which will not only improve mobility but also lead to greater greenery along these corridors.”

Guest of Honour SK Nanda, Additional Chief Secretary-Home, Government of Gujarat emphasised on retaining the uniqueness of a city. He said, “Smart cities are not about branding. These form the benchmark for quality of life. Every city should have its proprietary element and then all the applications can be added to enhance the quality of life.”

Special guests for the inaugural session included Manish Bharadwaj, IAS, Municipal Commissioner, Vododara and Hari Singh Rathod, CEO, Municipal Corporation, Jodhpur.

The next session was on ‘What is Smart City?’ and discussed the holistic approach to smart cities from ecological, environmental, technological and social perspectives. Karuna Gopal, President, Futuristic Cities, while moderating this session observed, “There are two distinct ways of looking at smart cities – based on technology (this includes sensors, actuators, big data analytics etc) and design (this includes small, compact, vertical cities, where design gets the prime consideration). The need of the hour is to have a healthy combination of both these elements to realise the huge potential of smart cities.”

Michel Jansen, Chairman & CEO, CityZenith and an eminent panellist in this session provided an international perspective on the new generation of standards, platforms and applications related to smart data in cities. He also sensitised the audience on the need for standardised city indicators such as ISO 37120 to gainfully leverage the enormous amount of data that are generated in cities today. Nilesh Puri, Vice President (ICT), GIFT Gujarat emphasised on the need to have India centric standards for smart cities, considering the current condition of basic infrastructure such as availability of electricity, water etc. Aamer Azeemi, Managing Director, CISCO highlighted the criticality of technology as a key enabler for smart cities. At the same time he added that the country’s basic infrastructure needs to be improved first, followed by improving the governance.  

The session to follow was on ‘Urban Planning – Designing & Execution’, which brought home the point that some of the most complex systems to be designed and managed now-a-days are cities. The design and management of urban infrastructures for defence, energy generation and distribution, healthcare, housing, and transportation represent a significant challenge for planners and architects, especially in Asia. This session discussed how a multi-disciplinary approach can contribute to a dynamic sustainable environment and unique interaction of public in the city.

Next was the ‘Launch Pad’, which showcased first hand information about some of the top integrated townships in the country today. This included Gift City Gujarat, Life Republic townships by Kolte-Patil Developers, Smart City Kochi, Mahindra World City and projects by Sobha Ltd. 

The post-lunch session saw two more engaging panels, namely ‘Smart Buildings’ and ‘Is India Smart City Ready?’. As the curtains came down for Day 1 of the Summit, the conference was still buzzing with interaction of 300+ participants who were keenly looking forward to the next day’s topics of discussion - Smart mobility, Smart utilities, Smart security and Smart energy - scheduled for August 23, 2014.

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