Redefining Smart Cities – Tradition versus Branding – a Tale of Varanasi

Tomar, Apurva and Gupta, Noopur (2019) Redefining Smart Cities – Tradition versus Branding – a Tale of Varanasi. IS THIS THE REAL WORLD? Perfect Smart Cities vs. Real Emotional Cities. Proceedings of REAL CORP 2019, 24th International Conference on Urban Development, Regional Planning and Information Society. pp. 941-948. ISSN 2521-3938

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“Smart city is a liveable city to the people with required amenities." The paper attempts to understand the intrinsic nature of the trending Smart City concept as a solution to the urban problems in Indian context.Smart city concept makes use of technology and ensures the Right to Developemnt and the Right to Equality. The paper questions if the concept imposes the right to compromise a City’s identity as well. The paper highligthts the importance of preserving a city’s identity.The paper analysis if the still evolving concept of smart city aims to preserve the spirit of the city or is an another tech based approach with profit making agenda. The paper discusses about the most promising project of the Indian Governement. A case study of Varanasi, how the city flaunts its own diverse and rich cultural heritage.Mark Twain rigthly said, “Varanasi is older than history, older than tradition, older even than legend, and looks twice as old as all of them put together.” Varanasi - the ancient surviving city continues to fascinate the world with its history, hymns, rituals,mythology and spirituality. The crescent-moon shaped Ganga Ghats of Varanasi are the abode of divinity have lives and voices of their own.The people of Varanasi start their morning with chanting of prayers along the ghats and take a dip in the holy Ganga to redeem themselves.On one hand where the Ganga ghats are the lifeblood for the people, on the other hand, the liberation from the cycle of life and death along the ghats defines another character of the city. Varanasi, also known as the city of salvation motivates the devout to go to Varanasi in their last days. The city is also well-known for its rich literature, music, art & handcrafts and production of fine silk ‘Banarasi saari’.Organic growth pattern of this densely populated ancient town along the river and its rich cultural heritage pose a unique challenge for urban planners. The paper explains why the cultural aspects need to be considered during the application of the smart city proposals. In oder to keep up with urbanisation and the advancement in technology it is neither desirable nor an option for Varanasi to be a closed system pretending to preserve its originality. Considering the urban challenges the Government of India has decided to replicate the Kyoto model.Kyoto too is a city of pilgrimage and planned along the riverside identical to Varanasi.Every city has its own character and challenges pertaining to it.The aspirations of achieving the components of Smart city should not overlook the vibrant spirit of the city.An understanding of the significance of preserving a city’s identity is imperative to urban planning.The paper explains why the Kyoto smart city model cannot be replicated blindly to transform Varanasi as ‘Kyoto-style smart city’. Lastly,the paper attempts to define the concept of smart city without losing the identity of a city.

Item Type: Article
Uncontrolled Keywords: smart city concept, city's identity, tradition, branding, redefinition
Subjects: H Social Sciences > HD Industries. Land use. Labor
H Social Sciences > HM Sociology
T Technology > TA Engineering (General). Civil engineering (General)
Depositing User: REAL CORP Administrator
Date Deposited: 28 Jan 2021 16:40
Last Modified: 28 Jan 2021 16:40

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