Editorial | Making a city smart

Aerial view of Srinagar. Source: Wikipedia / KennyOMG

The idea of a smart city is nothing but a city that has systems in place and the services are managed in a methodical, and swift way. Things neither have to wait to happen, nor do they get messy. A neat, efficient, and quick delivery of things. That is the idea of a smart thing, putting it in a nutshell. If this simple, and rudimentary understanding is applied to a city like Srinagar, it does’t take much to declare it as a polar opposite to anything smart. In this backdrop a meeting by the officials to make the traffic management in this city closer to the standards of a smart city, and seek public cooperation on this, is an occasion to reiterate certain things about a city, and about the Srinagar city. Cities are the places where the things happen. Governance, commerce, tourism, human interaction, high end education, public services – city is the centre for everything.

In metropolitan cities hundreds of thousands come in and move out everyday. And then there is a huge population that lives in the cities. That is why we need extra effort to manage cities. Srinagar may not be that big a city, nevertheless it has all the ingredients of a city. Besides, it is an old city that is witness to layers of history. It is host to a culture, and a tradition. These elements make an inseparable part of this city. If Srinagar is to be restored, or turned into a smart city, it cannot happen by focusing on a single ingredient. Unless there is a comprehensive plan and every single thing fits into that, no matter how many meetings are conducted, and how many projects are undertaken, the fate of this city can never change. In fact things will worsen by the day. Talking about the people of this city, and seeking their cooperation, on various initiative; it is only possible if there is a sense of ownership. Right now it is all missing. The government officials, if at all they are interested in that, need to break brains on that.