Sandeep Dave, Gregor Harter, Ashish Sharma, Jai Sinha
August 5, 2010
Increasing urbanization and awareness of sustainability issues are setting off a wave of investments in revitalization of existing cities and development of new ones. However, given the scale of the challenge, simply throwing more money at the problem is not a solution — the world needs a new operating paradigm that provides for the needs of urban residents in an economically viable, socially inclusive, and environmentally sustainable way. Businesses and governments are starting to recognize the role of technology in meeting these objectives. City investments that include a large ICT (information and communications technology) component can enable the designing of smarter cities that offer a better quality of life for their residents while being more sustainable and cost efficient. It is not only the residents that stand to benefit from this trend; governments can meet their objectives faster and more cheaply, while ICT players find themselves at the cusp of a whole new market. If these stakeholders hope to play and win in this uncharted territory, they will need to adopt a new operating paradigm.
The world is urbanizing rapidly, and significant investments will be required to fulfill basic demands. The unprecedented urban growth that is expected, especially in countries such as India and China, demands a radical and proactive response. This will require a wide range of policies and practices to be conceptualized around new socially inclusive and environmentally friendly paradigms. Technology has a role to play, and the global community is waking up to it. The current situation holds tremendous potential for governments to build cities of the future that can serve as engines of growth by attracting talent and investment in the global competitive landscape. Property developers and ICT players that embrace these trends have an opportunity to cash in on the benefits.