Will the adjective ‘smart’ become the noun ‘smart’? Though, one thing that needs to be clarified here is the use of ‘smart’ is quite clearly similar to the use of ‘post’ in some theories, where it is not the temporal factor that is accounted for, but, rather an integrative one, a coalition of temporal and spatial aspects. Many a times, intentions such as these are born of necessity, rather than constructed as a need, and the difference is subtle. Smart Cities were conceived precisely because of such rationales, rather than as cahoots of impending neo-colonization conspiracies. There is a urban drift, and this dense diaspora is associated with pollution, resource crunch, dwindling infrastructure resulting in a stagflation of economic growth. So, instead of having kiosks that are decentralised, the idea is to have a control that is central addressing such constraining conditions. With a central control, inputs and outputs find monitoring in-housed through networking solutions. In my opinion, I’d look at this as a e-governance schema, and be rest assured, carry on with business. But, digging deep, this e-governance could go for a tailspin because of two burning issues, viz. is it achievable, and how long would one look into the future as far as the handling and carrying capacity of data is concerned over these network solutions, since the load might exponentially rise without falling under any mathematical formulae, and could easily collapse the grid supporting this or these network(s). Strangely enough, this hypothesising takes on political robes, and starts thinking of technology as its enemy no. 1. There is no resolution to this constructed bitterness, unless one accommodates one into the other, whichever way that could be. The doctrines of Ludditism is the cadence of the dirge for the ‘Leftists’ today. The reality, irreality or surreality of smart cities are a corrosion of conformity of ideals spoken from the loudspeakers of ‘Left’, merely grounded on violations of basic human rights, and refusing to flip the coin to rationally transforming the wrongs into the rights.
By now, it should be apparent that the tone of this reply is scathing for its critiques of criticisms that believe in unclogging traffic by throwing it open to one-way movement, a smart city move in-itself, albeit more traditional in scope. So, what is required for DMIC is to embrace integrative calculus rather than differential, to embrace e-motion rather emotions, and analyse the coin on both sides for a better restatement of the criticism.
Let us look at China, which is a valid example to understand the unfurling of dreams about smart cities. China is more inclined towards the domestic sector now, after export-oriented growth imploded, leaving the realty estate in a vacuum. Assuming that these habitats lend values to their inhabitants, the point of rupture would lie in setting up ground for vendors and their allies and alliances with a techno-savvy cognitariat operating the digitally conceived spaces. These would be precisely license-free, for they would have ample expertise in architecture of infrastructure and communication lines. Such technological platforms with network connections would plug and play into monetising services involving access to subscriptions and the latest big-thing in town, ‘data analytics’. A successful implementation of such would mean economising any sharing applications with others venturing out to have their version of success involving a plethora of professions and professionals creating a viability gap between the cognitariat and the precariat. And this would be precisely the gap where political fires would be ignited, grounded, and without an across the gulf implementation, systems integration would only be diffused. Such a diffusion would do no politics any good, and only exacerbate the already fragile ecology.
Instead, what needs to be done is not any replication of failed systems, but a cognisance of how such monopolistic citadels are recognised and how and what intensity-level of intervention is required. If Smart City is a dystopia, their planners are much smarter than we have thought of them hitherto. That unbundling is what I previously meant by flipping the coin.
I better head out, for I might be scorned as being dumb for affinity with ‘smart’ cities, which, if is the conclusion reached would be a short-sighted view.