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Smart cities need smart managers

What makes a smart city? When urban infrastructure and allied utilities are woven with technology keeping sustainability in mind, the result is a smart city – which enhances the economic and social wellbeing of its residents and reduces costs and resource consumption. Imagine walking to a bus stop with updates of the next bus arriving on your mobile phone! Life will be so much easier.

But, building 100 such smart cities is a colossal task. Renovating unplanned cities into smart cities makes the task even more complex. To make this happen in reality, we need a taskforce of smart professionals. Professionals who would not only be technically sound but also specialists who understand the ethos of an Indian city. Indians need to rise up to this opportunity and excel, also constituting task force from off shores would be inadequate. How can this be done? Proper training and creation of smart professionals with required skill set is the demand of the Indian industry.

What would these smart professionals do? To start with they will be involved in planning of smart cities. Starting with a Master Plan, inter alias it will include land pooling and consolidation, clearances  like environmental clearances, procuring resources, deploying finance, etc. At the outset, smart cities will need a lot of researchers, advisors, cost planners, valuation experts, strategic consulting, real estate consulting, investment managers to name a few.

Building smart cities will require a lot of capital investment.  Rs. 48,000 crore is allocated by the government for this developmental task. To make this a success, prudent distribution of these funds along with ensuring their correct usage will require investment managers.

Professionals with an MBA in Real Estate, Infrastructure Management, Construction Project Management and Quantity Surveying will help in bridging this gap.

Smart city projects will require feasibility studies, understanding of the procurement, commercial and financial management of construction and many such areas. In such a scenario, the requirement is of experts who are a set of hugely diverse professionals equipped to essentially measure, value, protect and enhance all the commonly pooled assets. The success of London 2012 Olympics was due to the well planned and detailed feasibility studies done beforehand by specialized professionals. Going forward India would need such specialists. Smart city projects would require smart professionals who are taught to work on all types of projects ranging from commercial offices, residential, hotel, hospital, and institutional buildings, industrial buildings, roads, highways, bridges, and infrastructure. Not to forget, the role of project managers will also be crucial at this stage.

Professionals with an MBA in Quantity Surveying & Construction Project Management will help to complete this task.

Going forward, construction project managers and infrastructure project managers will play a significant role in shaping the futuristic cities. While infrastructure project managers will overlook adequacy and development aspects of external and other infrastructure like transport, water, electricity, education, hospitals, connectivity, energy, etc ; construction project managers will take care of the construction of residential & commercial buildings of the cities. These are the aspects which will directly impact the quality of life of people by harnessing technology and smart usage.

Citizens will be the eyes and ears of the city with provisions for video crime monitoring. Waste management will lead to energy and fuel savings, while green buildings and renewable energy will enhance usage of natural resources like sun, wind, etc. Smart meters and quality monitoring of water and energy along with intelligent traffic management and smart parking facilities will be available. Areas for recreation, education, health etc will be integral part of the city plan. To make all this a working reality, smart infrastructure project managers will be required in surplus. An MBA in Infrastructure Management and Construction Project Management will help one to do so.

To make sure everything is build/rebuild as per the plans and there are no costs and time overruns, we will be needing quantity surveyors. Quantity surveyors will assess risks to projects and mitigation plans will be identified so that the resources are utilized optimally and the project sees its entire life cycle without disruptions. There is a demand of around 97000 quantity surveyors annually in India. An MBA in Construction Economics & Quantity Surveying will bridge this gap.

A smart city essentially promotes the usage of public transport. People will switch to public transport if they find it more adequate and punctual. Be it connectivity of buses or metros; space for parking, pedestrians or cyclists – the need for effective and smart transit is immense. Smart infrastructure project  managers will play a significant role to not only build but also maintain civic amenities like transport, water, electricity, fuel, communications, waste management, hospitals, schools, hotels and entertainment, etc

Also buildings both residential and commercial spaces will need facility managers and consultants. This will again bring in the importance of an MBA in Construction Project Management, Infrastructure Management and Real Estate.

With professionals equipped with a dedicated BBA/MBA degree in land, property, construction and infrastructure, India will see the dream of 100 smart cities turning into reality soon.