BRICS experts suggest smart cities to be inclusive


Policy makers and experts from BRICS nations have emphasised on the need to focus more on bringing people in urban areas together by ending social exclusion whilst developing smart cities using technology only as a tool.

While participating in a Plenary Session on BRICS Smart Cities Enclave, the experts stressed that adoption of technology cant be the ultimate goal of smart city development and it should be used as a tool to meet the aspirations of the people.

Professor D Alvaro de Oliveira, representing Brazil, expressed concern over growing social exclusion in cities and stressed on the need to give primacy to the human aspect of smart city development. Expressing concern over rising isolation of different social groups in urban areas, smart cities should aim at integrating people.

He mentioned the examples of initiatives taken in Brazil to end social conflicts by creating integrated neighbourhoods in Brazils capital Rio de Janiero and Spanish city of Lisbon. He also stressed on using technology only as a tool and for bringing social and behavioural transformation.

Professor Oliveira suggested setting up a BRICS Human Smart Cities Institute in order to mount collective efforts for socially and economically integrated urban development in the context of growing emphasis on smart city development.

Professor Pradipta Banerjee, Director, IIT, Roorkie also noted that smart city development is not just about technology but about meeting the needs of people. He stated that urban development approaches should address trust deficit between the people and governance institutions. He favoured development of connected smart city regions rather than smart cities including improvement in quality of rural areas.

Karikal Valaven, Principle Secretary (Urban Development), Government of Andhra Pradesh who chaired the session said that under the Smart City Mission of the Indian government, well-considered efforts are being used to integrate physical, digital and human systems to enable economically productive, inclusive and prosperous urban areas. He stressed that technology is being used to serve the objective of improving governance and enhancing the efficiency of use of urban infrastructure.