The population concentration is tilting towards the urban areas due to economic activities. Therefore the City Infrastructure need not only to support the living conditions, but also foster the commercial activity; absorb all the changes in economic, social & ecological changes on sustainable basis over the period of time.
Macro & Policy Level Scenario
At macro level, the challenge is largely related to policy framework, resource availability, and operational models. After experimenting with various arrangements, Public Private Partnership (PPP) has been found to be most suitable mode to address the challenge of financing projects and ensuring the sustainability. However the rolling out of PPP projects have not been without hurdles. To plug in the gap of technical know-how within the government & local-bodies set-up, the Authorities are more proactively engaging consultants and transaction advisors to ensure the quality of projects.
Sustainability in Smart City Context
We have seen that the development of Smart Cities are following the same fundamental principle that focuses on sustainability – be it related to city infrastructure, livability, environment or commercial activities. Despite the unique plan & design for each city, these guidelines are uniformly adhered across locations. The ICT enabled digitized integration of all the data facilitates in quickly readdressing the problems and prompting the corrective measures on real time basis.
Role of Technology in Infrastructure Sustainability
Application of technology in the infrastructure projects is going to play a decisive role. Globally the technology like BIM is being applied on large infrastructure project to ensure timeliness of delivery, quality adherence and controlling the project cost by avoiding conflicts in design, scheduling & implementation. With proper policy framework, the government can incentivize the use of green technology.
The Way Ahead in Indian Context
To ensure sustainability of infrastructure projects, the government needs to encourage greater participation of private players. This engagement can be accelerated by creating a pool of financially viable and bankable projects to make it profitable for the private players. Simultaneously, the operational hurdles such as delay in land acquisition, environmental clearances and absence of single-window approval systems need to be taken care of, without any further delay.
And most importantly, the sustainability of city infrastructure depends on the participation of the citizen. We need to create awareness through advocacy measures for the willingness of people to pay reasonable fee for using the infrastructure services that goes in maintenance and enhancements.