Smart city: Civic projects, core areas among pitches
Having chosen to limit proposals to the core city areas, the Bruhat Bengaluru Mahanagara Palike’s (BBMP) list of projects, which it hopes will cut the ice with the jury to make it to the ‘Smart Cities’ list, involves some iconic destinations here.
Three main factors were cited as the reason behind zeroing in on core city areas: the fact that the top 10 cities selected the last time had done the same; the limited amount of funds available in the third round of selections; and for the simple reason that the core areas “belong to, and is used by everyone.”
“They are also a mix of culture and environment, which makes them ideal,” said BBMP Commissioner N. Manjunath Prasad. The proposal was given the green signal at a joint meeting of all multiple government agencies on Saturday, in which Bengaluru Development Minister K.J. George was also present.
The proposal that the BBMP will now submit to the Centre covers 5,380 acres across 17 wards. Under the area-specific development projects, aimed at “revitalising the city centre”, the proposals are to redevelop 66% of all major roads under TenderSURE to convert the heart of the city into a “walking, cycling, tree lined, economically vibrant, environmentally sensible and inclusive centre” as it needs the “highest degree of walkability” owing to the highest footfall.
Also among the proposals are the implementation of “downstream clean up of drainage system” in Ulsoor Lake and Sankey Tank, and the “protection and redevelopment” of Cubbon Park. For the two markets, K.R. Market and Malleswaram Market, the BBMP plans to undertake heritage conservation, create designated vending zones and introduce connectivity with metro stations.
Apart from a single smartcard for all modes of public transport, the ‘pan-city’ proposals include an area that the civic body has always struggled with: property tax collection. After already having adopted GIS mapping, its Smart City project has 3D building mapping in the offing using drone technology for property assessment.
An initiative that looks promising is a Central Command Centre for accepting citizen queries across agencies, supplementing it with smart kiosks for people without digital reach.
Another citizens’ specific area is participatory budgeting, under which an app that consolidates neighbourhood and ward level inputs from citizens has been mooted.
Meanwhile, urban experts batted for projects that are derived from a city-wide plan. Apart from the fact that the city areas picked out were “central” only from a physical sense of the word as the economic strength of the city was no longer limited to these areas, Ashwin Mahesh also said his picks would be mobility and water supply as issues to work on.