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Monday, 16 Feb 2015
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Smart Cities: The next Big Boom in Indian Real Estate Sector



Ms Hiral Sheth, having majored in Economics and specialized in Marketing from Indiana University, Bloomington, is presently and for the last two years, head of all major functions in Sheth Creators. She is focused and is moving forward with an aim to satisfy the consumers and bestow them with luxurious projects and international standard amenities.
Hiral Sheth, Director- Marketing & Sales, Sheth Creators



India’s urban agenda is presently focused on the creation of “Smart Cities” in industrial corridors. Such an initiative is driven by the demand of foreign investors to find sanitized spaces in developing countries in which they can operate easily. Globally, we are witnessing a wave of migration from the rural to the urban areas. Some statistics suggest that by 2050, around 70 % of the population, globally, will be living in cities. India too is a witness to this trend over the past several years, and with the economy expected to grow significantly in the years to come, this trend will only get accelerated further


A 'Smart City' is an urban region that is highly advanced in terms of overall infrastructure, sustainable real estate, communications and market viability. It is a city where information technology is the principal infrastructure and the basis for providing essential services to residents.


Smart Cities are defined by extensive use of technology to make life simpler and more comfortable, while being environmentfriendly. They are a solution to problems that residents of Indian cities face due to poor planning and maintenance. A Smart City uses information and communication technology to provide public services more efficiently. In a Smart City, infrastructure and amenities such as water, sanitation, energy, transport, public safety, education and healthcare are integrated and managed through technology for efficient governance and delivery. The essential features include smart parking and traffic management, smart grids, smart lighting, and efficient waste management.


India will need about 500 new cities to accommodate the rapid influx of population into its urban regions. Interestingly, urbanization in India has, for a long time, been viewed as a byproduct of failed regional planning. Though this is inevitable, and will only change when the benefits of urbanization overtake the costs involved, it is an opportunity for achieving faster growth. With increasing urbanization and the load on the land in rural areas, the Indian government is focusing on the need for cities that can cope with the inherent challenges of urban living, and also be magnets for investment to catalyse the local economies. The announcement of ‘100 Smart Cities’ falls in line with this vision.


A Smart City's core infrastructure is information technology, where a network of sensors, cameras, wireless devices, and data centres form the key infrastructure providing essential services.Being environmentally friendly, Smart Cities use sustainable materials for building facilities and reducing energy consumption.


With increasing urbanization and load on the land availability in rural areas, Smart Cities are the need of the hour in a developing country like India. Such cities can aid in coping with the inherent challenges of urban living and will also be magnets for investment to catalyse the local economies. A Smart City offers a superior way of life to its inhabitants, and is literally a win-win situation that benefits everybody, including denizens, businesses, the government, and more, the environment. Some important aspects that could enhance the Smart City Concept include smart governance, smart energy, smart building, smart mobility, smart infrastructure, smart technology, and smart healthcare and smart citizen. The mega trend of Smart Cities is set to drive urban development for the next decade and will drive demand for response, storage, multi-energy networks, smart devices, and new business models.


Future in India


With the announcement of the easing of the rules for foreign direct investment in the construction sector, the future of Smart Cities seems positive. The move will facilitate overseas capital to invest in building homes, offices and shopping centres in Asia's third-largest economy.


But one has to consider that mere investments in enhancing the infrastructure may not be enough to address the challenges being faced by the existing cities in the face of the urbanization trend sweeping across the country. The need is to have a holistic approach towards development so as to make it not only economically viable but socially equitable and environmentally sustainable as well. And this is where the concept of Smart City comes in, which when accomplished, will not only have addressed the infrastructural challenges being faced today by the existing cities more equitably, but will also anchor economic and job growth.

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