There is no universally accepted definition of a Smart City. The conceptualization of a Smart City, therefore, varies from city to city and country to country, depending on the level of development, willingness to change and reform, resources and aspirations of the city residents. A Smart City would have a different connotation in India than Europe. Even in India, there is no one way of defining a Smart City.
Some definitional boundaries are required to guide cities in the Mission. In the imagination of any city dweller in India, the picture of a smart city contains a wish list of Infrastructure and Services that describes his or her level of aspiration. To provide for the aspirations and needs of the citizens, Urban planners ideally aim at developing the entire urban Eco-System, which is represented by the four pillars of comprehensive development-Institutional, Physical, Social and Economic Infrastructure. This can be a long term goal and cities can work towards developing such comprehensive infrastructure incrementally, adding on layers of Smartness.
Each aspiring city competes for selection as a Smart City in what is called a 'City Challenge'. There are two phases of the selection process.
The State begins with shortlisting the potential Smart Cities on the basis of conditions precedent, scoring criteria and in accordance with the total number allocated to it. Phase 1 commenced on August 27, 2015 with shortlisting of 98 cities.
In the second phase of the competition, each of the shortlisted Smart Cities prepare their Smart City Proposals for participation in the City Challenge. The challenge is designed to inspire greater creativity from Municipal Officials and their partners, more involvement and inspiration from citizens, and the development of proposals that will produce concrete benefits in peoples lives. Each city formulates its own unique vision, mission and plan for a Smart City. The Smart City Proposal will include:
Each city must convey its own unique vision that reflects local context, its resources and the priorities and aspirations of its citizens.
This plan will transform an existing place within each city, creating an exemplar for other areas in the city, or across the country, to follow the same. Depending on local circumstances, Cities may choose one of the three approaches: Retrofitting, Redevelopment, or Greenfield Development.
Cities draw inspiration from smart solutions that incorporate the use of technology, information and data to improve services or results for citizens. The Pan-City Initiative must touch the lives of many, or potentially all, of its citizens.