Chanakya IAS Academy Blog


Relevance and use of the article in UPSC prelims and mains examination:

Dear aspirants this article is about New era of smart city projects.where Urbanisation has been identified as one of the 21st century’s most transformative trends. With this, comes the sustainability challenges of housing, infrastructure, basic services, food security, health, education, decent jobs, safety and natural resources, among others. The New Urban Agenda, already drafted and ready for adoption, reaffirms our collective commitment to a more effective sustainable urban development that delivers on Some outcomes.Now we have to take a glance on this issue in ths article. Please connect this issue with the smart city project of government and develop an idea that what new changes can be done to make this project better.


  • “Habitat III” is shorthand for a major global summit, formally known as the United Nations Conference on Housing and Sustainable Urban Development, that was held in Quito, Ecuador, on 17-20 October 2016.
  • The ‘Smart City’ is at the core of a booming industry – urban services. The Digital Revolution has provided the tools for citizens to innovate and connect in new ways. Expectations have changed and the future city will have to provide very different services to what it used to. Local Governments have had to navigate in a world of suppliers and buzzwords commonly uttered in a sentence alongside ‘smart’ such as: Internet of things, Big Data and Open Data. In this context – what does a smart city do?

Some facts about Habitat III and Smart city project:

  • More than 170 countries officially accepted a set of global guidelines for sustainable urban development known as the New Urban Agenda at the conclusion of the Habitat III summit.
  • A smart city is a model of urban design which integrates approaches in information and communication technology and internet of things to build and run a city more sustainably and efficiently. For example, sensors installed in parking spaces to monitor parking availability and alert drivers to free spaces, smart highways which use sensors and video to monitor traffic and weather and send warning signals and diversions to drivers, sensors in buildings and bridges to monitor vibrations and report back on the structure’s health or warn of natural disasters.
  • This new method of urban design thinking can be used to retrofit existing cities and in the design of new ones, the majority of which are cropping up in developing countries as a way for countries to jolt their economies and attract greater foreign investment.

Habitat III and a smart city:

  • Habitat III, define: A smart sustainable city is an innovative city that uses ICTs and other means to improve the quality of life, efficiency of urban operation and services, and competitiveness” ‘Smart City’ concept originated as a technologically driven integration of urban services promoted by service suppliers. It is now being adopted by city makers and in order to reflect the realities of cities it needs to acknowledge its main components – the citizens.
  • Habitat III offered a potent opportunity for the international community at all levels to harmonize its understanding of the problems and opportunities posed by current trends in urbanization. This includes poverty, quality of life, environmental degradation, climate change and other concerns on the one hand, as well as the economic, social and creative boons provided by cities on the other.
  • Four main points in the implementation of a smart city were presented: Building the infrastructure of information technologies:
    1. fibre optic networks, sensors etc.;
    2. Creating a central ‘brain’ of the city to analyse the information;
    3. Developing a reflective intelligence of the city which provides a real-time response to events and dispatches the correct service; And ultimately,
    4. predictive intelligence – the ability to use data to predict and prevent problems before they occur.

Some concerns and challenges:

  • ‘Smart’ has become a brand connected exclusively with technology. innovation is starting to be seen as a bottom up process and not a top down implementation. Technical expertise is dispersed throughout the population; it is no longer a restricted skill. Smartphones and low cost sensors are commonplace and network based solutions can emerge overnight.
  • Technological progress should be utilised where appropriate and what came out of the conference was the sombre attitude that it is not a panacea but rather a tool amongst many. In following the implementation of Smart City initiatives three main challenges emerged:
  • The uptake of Public-Private Partnerships will be crucial. Smart Cities require business skills and technological expertise to work together with city planners and urban professionals.
  • Open Data emerged as the second challenge. If cities are to offer the generated data of their citizens, privacy boundaries must be established and standards developed around it. Moreover, businesses need to also acknowledge that this is the way forward and open their own commercial data.
  • Checks and incentives must be put into place for them to do so, however, an open data field from both sides will create an invaluable boost for innovation.
  • Finally, digital leadership needs to be acknowledged by city governments. Many cities do not assign resources or do not have the expertise to lead in digital initiatives. It is important, therefore, for city officials to fill that gap. Cities that have created such departments can show a concentrated effort in engaging businesses and citizens, coordinating the emerging network of innovation.


  • Smart cities, green cities, sustainable cities, walkable cities, eco cities, garden cities are all concepts that aim to better the life of the city’s inhabitants. And whilst it is important to keep pushing the boundaries, there was a humble reminder at the Special Session that some cities cannot provide basic services let alone look towards a full network integration. Through citizen participation and low cost of technology the smart city concept can push innovative urban development in the developing world that leapfrogs our current understanding of how cities evolve. The Habitat III conference acknowledged the uncomfortable discourse in a field where most of the parties concerned were looking ahead from the cosiness of European and American cities.

After the smartphone, the smart meter and smart house, comes the Smart City. What is its role in helping politicians and professionals deliver the aims of the New Urban Agenda?Discuss this in regard to india's smart city mission.

Suggested Points:

  • Discuss about the indian government's Smart city mission.
  • Place your views on United Nations Conference on Housing and Sustainable Urban Development, ie: Habitat III.
  • Discuss about Connection Between Habitat-III and Smart city mission.
  • Concerns and Challenge about this.
  • What city makers should commit to implement these norms for smart cities.
  • Suggetions.
  • Conclusion

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Read 1144 times Last modified on Monday, 21 November 2016 11:29

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