Interconnectedness, economic geography essential for smart cities

United Kingdom's minister of state for universities, science and cities Gregory Clark shared his experience of working on local city governance and decentralisation

pratap

Pratap Vikram Singh | November 15, 2014



While Indian government is working on smart cities scheme, it could prioritise on interconnectedness between and within cities and have governance arrangements which may focus on true economic geography of cities, instead of administrative boundaries.

This is what Gregory Clark, minister of state for universities, science and cities, United Kingdom government suggested on Indian government's plan to build 100 smart cities.   

“I think the focus should be on connection between and within cities,” Clark said, while speaking on the sidelines of Urban Age conference organised by London School of Economics and Deutsche Bank on Friday. Cities should have reliable and speedy transport connectivity.

Besides that, it is important "to make sure that administrative arrangement reflects the true economic geography." "That has been our experience in the UK — having the governance arrangement suit the economic geography."

Environmental sustainability is another key element which should be kept in mind while making smart cities, he added.  

While addressing the inaugural address at the conference titled 'Governing urban futures', Clark shared the learning he had while working on local government and decentralisation.

First is to recognise the differences between cities and unique character of each city. "No two cities are alike. Liverpool and Manchester (in the UK) are just 35 miles apart. They have different industries, skill set, politics. Cities could prosper when the unique character and differences could emerge and when policies could be adjusted,” he said. Some might have transportation as an overriding barrier preventing it from achieving maximum potential, yet some might face challenges in skill development, he said.

Second is to respect the past of a city but not imprisoned by it. The government must ensure that it preserves the best of the city but it is open to change, he added.

“Third, we shouldn’t be too respectful for administrative boundaries. Cities grow, develop and outstrip the administrative boundaries. The focus should be on economic geography,” he said. Bringing together two administrative geographies of cities is a challenge which needs to be overcome by the government.

Fourth, interconnectedness should be central to making cities prosper. “Great cities have good transport connectivity with other cities. In the UK we are making progress in transportation. We are not a big country. But transport connections between our cities have not improved. It takes couple of hours to travel by train from Birmingham to Leads and an hour and a half from Birmingham to Manchester. Under the new high speed rail, the government has proposed to minimise travel time by half."

Fifth is livability. “It is not only about economic, employment opportunities. There has to be an environmental balance. Like economic success, cultural success is equally important for a city,” he said.

Education is yet another factor which plays greater role in development of a city. “It is not enough just to attract talent from outside. Cities need to propagate their own talent. And to that educational system is of huge importance. In London, a significant achievement in this area is the transformation in school performance.”

He pointed out that the competition between cities in terms of attracting investment and economic opportunities is seventh. He said, “We are increasingly seeing this phenomenon of global network of cities knowing each other, complementing each other but also competing with each other.”

He said, political leadership, the last, is quite crucial in visualising a city and getting things done.

Comments

 

Other News

Is the government spending enough on dalits?

The Narendra Modi government has set aside Rs 52,393 crore in 2017-18 for the welfare of the dalits. On the face of it, the amount is substantial. However, an analysis of the past actual allocation shows that there has in fact been a dip in spending on schemes that are specifically meant only for dalits.

President’s post above politics: Kovind

“I will always try and it is also my belief that the president’s post should be above politics,” said NDA’s presidential candidate Ram Nath Kovind who filed the nomination papers on Friday.   “Since the time I became governor,  I am no longe

Unaffordable sacredness of our cattle

A lot of debate that we witness in the media on the cattle question these days suffer from the disease of speculative utopian imagination of a ‘cow-nation’ and relentless abuses for those beef-eating ‘others’.   Political debates over the question of o

“Gandhi and Tagore are the two Indian authors who redefine civilisation as a moral compass and a space of dialogue”

Ramin Jahanbegloo is a renowned philosopher who is now associated with the Jindal Global University. His latest work, The Decline of Civilization, calls for countering the ‘decivilising’ tendencies of our times by returning to Gandhi and Tagore. Jahanbegloo answered s

Should CBSE prepone the board exams?

Should CBSE prepone the board exams?

Cricket, not just a sport

In this nationalistic age, sports seem to play an important role, and in India, this can be seen during cricket matches. For most, a victory symbolises prestige and supremacy.   On Sunday, India lost to Pakistan in the final match of the ICC Champions Trophy. The defea



Video

अब पासपोर्ट हिंदी और अंग्रेजी दोनों भाषा में होगा

Current Issue

Opinion

Facebook    Twitter    Google Plus    Linkedin    Subscribe Newsletter

Twitter