‘Designing the city’s skyline or playing with the urban fabric of the city are totally designer’s calls, but one should not forget how this will affect the entire city’s functionality’, says Aayush Chaudhary, ACad Studio on the the role of Architecture & Interior design in Smart city development
Today, development of smart cities has become the topmost agenda for the government where it plans to develop the nation in an extremely systematic and synchronized way. With the gaining popularity of urbanisation, it has become imperative to develop smart cities for the existing and future generations. According to a report by UN, urban population in India will exceed the rural population by the end of 2050. The report speculates that by 2050, the urban population in India will increase to 87.7 million and the rural population will account for 78.3 million people. Though the concept of smart cities may vary from person to person, city to city or country to country, however the basic requirement to build world-class infrastructure in order to attain smart cities cannot be overlooked.
A well-defined and well-planned infrastructure often leads to an improved quality of life thereby promoting a healthier ecosystem. There is a basic checklist which needs to be tick marked while categorizing a city into its smarter version. The city dwellers in India have painted a picture of a smart city which contains a wish list of infrastructure and services that describes his or her level of aspiration. Some of the basic amenities like clean water, wider roads, good schools, hospitals and colleges form the important elements of smart cities. The governments around the world are setting benchmarks for a smart city to standardise the development.
While building smart cities, one cannot ignore the significance of architects and urban planners. Smart planning is the only way one can achieve the goal of attaining smart cities. There are various elements that form a part of city planning and act as a base for developers to work upon. In order to build smart cities, appropriate zoning is essential, which means defining a dedicated area for people to reside in, areas allotted to commercials spaces, ways in which people will commute to different parts of the city, connectivity, distance from recreational areas etc. All these elements of planning, if in coherence with each other will help one define the success of smart cities.
An improper and unplanned city can lead to problems like traffic jams, longer commute time, ineffective water management and poor distribution of resources. This can further lead to degraded quality of life, hence defeating the sole purpose of building smart cities. To prevent a chaotic situation, architects and urban planners have a huge responsibility to fulfil while laying out the development plan for the entire city. For smart cities to be successful, it is important to discuss the goals and the standard set by the government with the city planners who accordingly can chalk out the best feasible plan for the city. It becomes extremely demanding to change the existing plan of the city. Therefore, the city planners should be roped into the process from the very beginning.
Another key element that can define the success of a smart city is the sustainability factor. With the drastic changes in world climate due to global warming, architects and urban planners should incorporate plans for energy production through more sustainable approach, waste management systems i.e. conversion of garbage and sewage waste into usable electric energy.
There is a famous saying, ‘modern problems require modern solutions.’ The concept of smart cities is not only restricted to developing and building smart cities but also covers the aspect of making existing cities better. Even in cities of the developed countries like USA, Japan, UK etc, there is always some scope of improvement. While working on existing cities, one should make sure that the transition should be as smooth as possible and should not hinder the basic nature of the city. Architects and designers should not only focus on making the space aesthetically beautiful but also solve the potential complex problems arising in future while designing or executing the design. Designing the city’s skyline or playing with the urban fabric of the city are totally designer’s calls, but one should not forget how this will affect the entire city’s functionality.