The Smart Cities Mission (SCM) has brought about a paradigm shift in the thinking on urban development. Smart city projects are envisaged to have world-class, smart physical infrastructure, with utilities that are environment friendly, sustainable, functionally smart and technology-driven. Greenfield smart cities have the potential to improve the quality of life through better planning and design.
Greenfield smart cities
Gujarat International Finance Tech (GIFT) City has been included in the Government of India’s Smart City Mission Statement and Guidelines as a model city in the greenfield category for the development of 100 smart cities in India. GIFT City has become India’s first greenfield smart city to achieve the Indian Green Building Council’s (IGBC) green cities Platinum rating. The IGBC has recognised several initiatives for the project, which include integrated land use, compact city development, 35 per cent public green and open spaces, sustainable housing, transit-oriented development with a bus rapid transit system, metro rail connectivity, 100 per cent road network with streetscape and a 100 per cent green buildings mandate in the city. The city has strategically planned to achieve high energy efficiency through district cooling systems and 100 per cent LED street lighting. In addition, the city has installed an automated waste collection and segregation plant. The city has also embraced water management through 35 cent reduction in potable water and treatment and reuse of 100 per cent wastewater.
Dholera greenfield smart city is being developed on 920 square km near Ahmedabad, Gujarat. The facilities being developed for this world-class industrial smart city include a dedicated solar power park, four-way (road, rail, sea and air) connectivity for the city with dedicated international sea and an airport to connect with the rest of the country and the world. The self-sustainable model of a city with 12 different land use zones will fulfil all requirements of citizens. Dholera has already become a key investment hub and is on course to becoming one of the finest greenfield industrial smart cities.
India’s first integrated greenfield smart city project at Naya Raipur is the capital of Chhattisgarh. It is a zero-discharge city with an integrated wastewater management system. The city is well planned with 100 per cent piped water supply. The centralised command and control centre (CCC) leverages internet of things, mobility, sensing, analytics and cybersecurity technologies to ensure safety, reliability, efficiency, sustainability and connectivity to citizens. The city has a target of achieving a net zero carbon footprint for a projected population of over half a million people by 2035. Besides ample green initiatives delivering a healthy environment, there is a focus on providing world-class healthcare for citizens.
Palava is a 4,500 acre greenfield smart city in Navi Mumbai, developed by the Lodha Group. Designed to become an intelligent, systematic smart city, it is among the fastest growing cities in India and the world. It is estimated that Palava will have an economy of $10 billion by 2025. Palava city has tied up with IBM to incorporate its smarter cities technology, using advanced, data-driven systems to integrate information from all city operations into a single system, to improve efficiency and deliver an enhanced quality of life to its residents. Its smart technology extends to surveillance cameras that capture real-time data. In the future, they will support facial recognition and also have panic alarms.
Smart initiatives at non-SCM cities
Global climate change is one of the most pressing issues in the world today. Buildings alone are responsible for about 36 per cent of the total energy consumption and nearly 40 per cent of carbon emissions. Recently, Mahindra Lifespace Developers Limited has announced an investment of Rs 5 billion to develop India’s first net zero energy housing project, comprising around 550 units, in Bengaluru. Net zero refers to eliminating the quantum of greenhouse gases produced by human activity through a reduction of emissions and implementation of measures to absorb carbon dioxide from the atmosphere. Additionally, the project will deploy sustainable strategies such as waste segregation, composting and waste recycling through a resource recovery centre. Along with energy, water and waste efficiency, the project is designed to preserve and nurture species of plants, birds and butterflies. Reportedly, the Cuttack Municipal Corporation has introduced an online grievance management system to enable citizens to report their grievances and other civic issues.
The way ahead
Going forward, the development of greenfield cities will introduce smart solutions with innovative planning, financing and implementation tools. In addition, the timely execution and monitoring of these projects will remain significant.