“What would you really consider a smart city? Technology, people smart about consumerism? It’s a tricky question to answer,” says Pavan. The popular rhetoric around smart cities has come to us from popular media, industries, and the government, who push for these kind of ideas in the name of development. It is imperative for individuals to introspect and figure out for themselves what they want from a city, rather than such ideas being pushed down, according to Pavan.
Our discussion with Pavan primarily was around sustainable consumerism, and innovation in cities. He discusses the nature of consumerism in cities, and asks “what are we consuming, where are we consuming from, and is our city smart enough to produce these kind of things in a sustainable way?” Is it the city that is smart, or the city dwellers, he asks, and says we have to “look at it holistically instead of myopically looking at just traffic or connectivity. A city where people start introspecting what a city means to themselves. People are smart then city is smart.”
One of the founders of Workbench Projects, a makerspace in Bangalore, Pavan also talks about the importance of such spaces, which enable people to “come, congregate, and explore different things: it could be next best phone using sustainable materials, or a bicycle, skateboard, or terrace gardens.” Cities provide that sort of ecosystem, and these are they sort of innovations that at a high level can change cities, says Pavan.
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