SMART CITIES IN INDIA
Urban planning is not a new concept in India: the Indus Valley civilisation—one of the earliest in the world—was way ahead of its times in terms of architectural prowess and urban development. Present-day India has developed rapidly, but concurrently there has been a substantial rise in population. Given India’s current rate of urbanisation, an estimated 600 million residents are expected to be living in cities by 2030. The worsening urban sprawl creates major challenges: increased poverty, health hazards, environmental degradation and scarce resources. This calls for immediate action in the form of smart city solutions. Recognising that comprehensive development is the need of the hour, the Indian government introduced the “Smart Cities Mission”. It aims to provide core infrastructure, smart city solutions, a good quality of life and a clean and sustainable environment.
INDIA: THINKING AHEAD HOW THE SMART CITIES MISSION WORKS
The Indian government plans to upgrade 109 cities to smart cities. Currently, 33 cities have been selected for priority funding based on their proposals. The central government will provide each of the 109 cities ₹500 crore over the next five years towards this ambitious programme. The state governments will have to contribute the same amount. The selected cities have identified specific areas for an integrated urban renewal approach and city-wide smart solutions which will serve as examples for cities all over India. Various issues like energy efficiency, housing, mobility, etc, would be covered. Special Purpose Vehicles (SPVs) created in each city will implement the development projects and raise funds. The execution of these projects will be done through joint ventures, subsi- diaries, public-private partnership (PPPs) and turnkey contracts. Countries with extensive experience in city development, such as Germany, are contributing to the “Smart Cities Mission”.
NO NEED TO START FROM SCRATCH!
What’s Up, Germany? presents three initiatives that are already making our cities smarter:
Is your street full of garbage and needs cleaning? This app allows you to click pictures to report, geotag and timestamp areas in your city that need urgent revamping. It has already been downloaded over 12,000 times and has 5,000 active users.
I PAID A BRIBE » (website and app)
This initiative is tackling institutional corruption through crowdsourcing. And with success! Over the last six years, users have filed more than 86,720 reports across 1,071 cities in India.
In the twin cities of Dharwad-Hubli in the state of Karnataka, water supply was unpredictable until NextDrop stepped in. This Bengaluru- based startup collects and shares water delivery information with residents and water utility companies. NextDrop’s SMS service has over 25,000 subscribers, paying a monthly fee of ₹10 to receive water alerts. With plans to expand to other cities, this social enterprise is hoping to make big waves!
33 CITIES IN INDIA SELECTED FOR THE SMART CITIES MISSION
THE INDIAN GOVERNMENT’S
SMART CITY DEFINITION
Smart cities in India mean different things to different people… In the imagination of any city dweller in India, the picture of a smart city contains a wish list of infrastructure and services that describes his or her level of aspiration. To provide for the aspirations and needs of the citizens, urban planners ideally aim at developing the entire urban ecosystem, which is represented by the four pillars of comprehensive development: institutional, physical, social and economic infrastructure… The focus is on sustainable urban development and the idea is to look at compact areas, create a replicable model which will act like a lighthouse to other aspiring cities.”