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Ankita Sharma
September 16, 2016

Smart cities need smart professionals

When urban infrastructure is 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.  These Cities discover & polish their concepts to attain the desired outcomes. The entire concept was implemented with a vision to enhance quality of life. 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 to technically sound but also understand the ethos of an Indian city. So instead of bringing in this taskforce from abroad we would essentially need Indians who could rise up to this opportunity.

The process of building smart professionals is distributed in four stages.

Stage 1 – Planning

What would these smart professionals do?

To start with they will be involved in planning of smart cities. Starting with a master plan it will include land pooling, procuring resources, deploying finance, environmental clearance, etc. At the first stage, 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.  Government allocation for this task is Rs.48000 crore. 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, Construction Project Management and Quantity Surveying will help to bridge this gap. RICS School of Built Environment is shaping young talent with industry driven knowledge to create this talent pool of
specialized professionals.

Stage 2 – Feasibility tests

The second & most important stage of building smart professionals will require feasibility studies, understanding of the procurement, commercial and financial management of construction and many such areas. In such a scenario, there is requirement of experts who are a set of hugely diverse professionals equipped to essentially measure, value, protect and enhance all the world’s assets. The success of London 2012 Olympics was due to the feasibility studies done by chartered surveyors. Going forward India would need such quantity surveyors. Smart city projects would require chartered surveyors 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.

An MBA in Quantity Surveying & Construction Project Management will help to complete this task.

Stage 3 – Implementation

This is a stage when construction project managers and infrastructure project managers will play a significant role in shaping the futuristic cities. While construction project managers will take care of the construction of residential & commercial buildings; infrastructure project managers will overlook the transport, water, electricity, education, hospitals, connectivity, energy and other essentials . 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, while green buildings and renewable energy will see the light of the day. 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 and health 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. These professionals will not only manage the resources optimally but also ensure that the project sees its entire life cycle without disruptions. There is a demand of around 97,000 quantity surveyors annually in India. An MBA in Construction Economics & Quantity Surveying will bridge this gap.

Stage 4 - Maintenance

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. To plan and execute this, smart infrastructure project managers will be required, this is clear but for long term usage, their role will be to maintain main 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 and Infrastructure Management.

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.