Systems-Level Thinking for Cities

July 6, 2016

India’s Smart City Mission espouses a visionary platform for explicitly connecting infrastructure and environment with human health and well-being.
By Anu Ramaswami, K. Rahul Sharma, Ashish Rao Ghorpade

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India's Smart City bus
Photo: Mayank Austen Soofi/Mint

We all know what a smartphone is, but do we know how to build a smart city that provides critical infrastructure services to urban residents while also enhancing the health of people and the environment?

The Smart Cities Mission in India was launched in 2015, and aims to develop 100 smart cities, with the goal of enhancing core infrastructure, creating a clean and sustainable environment and improving the quality of life of city inhabitants through the use of smart solutions.

India’s Smart City Mission espouses a visionary platform for explicitly connecting infrastructure and environment with human health and well-being.

To achieve these three goals, new advances in information technology and big data are clearly going to be important ingredients, but data advances and technology by themselves will not do the job.

A higher order systems-level thinking is necessary to enable infrastructure transition in Indian cities to radically new levels of service provision that enhance the health of people and the planet, as was outlined by the authors in a commentary featured in the Urban Planet special issue of the journal Science.

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