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Smart cities
Smart cities

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1.3 Chosen to be a smart city?

A photograph of the backstreets Ajmer, India.
Figure 3 The back streets of Ajmer, India.

The ancient city of Ajmer in northern India, home to a famous thirteenth-century Sufi shrine, has been selected by the Indian government to be a smart city. This decision has come under much scrutiny, with critics pointing out that there are basic needs to be addressed:

Running water is available for just two hours every two days. Only 130 of 125,000 homes in the city in northern India are connected to the sewage system. Dirty water flows in open drains in cramped neighbourhoods. Stepwells and lakes have become garbage dumps. Illegal buildings and slums dot the city of 550,000 residents. And only two traffic lights work .

(Independent, 2015)

Activity 1 Considering Ajmer, India as a case study

Timing: Allow about 20 minutes

Read the full article: Ajmer: the ancient Indian metropolis chosen to be a ‘smart city’ where residents would just be happy to have power and running water [Tip: hold Ctrl and click a link to open it in a new tab. (Hide tip)] .

What are your views? In a city with such poverty do you think it’s a good idea for the government to be investing money in smart infrastructure?

Note down your thoughts.

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