Cities are engines of growth for India’s economy. Currently 31% of the country’s population lives in urban areas, contributing 63% of the GDP. This is expected to increase to reach 75% by 2030, with a simultaneous jump in the urban population to touch 40%.
An inclusive and people-centric approach, comprising physical, institutional, social and economic infrastructure development, is required for improving the quality of life in cities. Keeping this in mind, the Government of India has developed an all-inclusive approach through various initiatives at the central, state and city levels. Some of these initiatives are AMRUT, Smart City Mission, NUTP and Green Urban Transport, as well as CITIIS, FAME, Swachh and PMAY.
Among them, the Smart City Mission is notable as a remarkable new approach towards city development. The mission was launched in 2015, with proposals from cities demanding capacity improvement to implement these projects. ICLEI South Asia’s engagement provided support to four Smart Cities: Udaipur; Ludhiana; Gwalior; and Visakhapatnam. The engagement process included interaction with city authorities and project (development and) management consultancies (PDMC/PMC) that provided assistance in priority projects. Focused support was provided in projects related to mobility and built environment sectors, in association with Sandeep Gandhi Architects (SGA) and the Shakti Sustainable Energy Foundation (SSEF).
On the basis of on-ground involvement, the experiences gained in these cities have been put together in the form of webinars. These will be shared with a larger group of practitioners, including regulators and policy makers interested in these sectors, and in project implementation.
The main aim of the project team’s handholding exercise was to assist the cities with technical engagement for launching the projects with tests, pilots and studies on the ground. The webinars related to urban mobility on the streets included focused observations on non-motorised transport (NMT), parking and intermediate public transport (IPT), while those on urban built areas included energy conservation building code (ECBC) compliance in Indian cities. The on-ground interventions for project implementation include interesting learnings that can be utilised in future projects at other locations as well.
1. The webinar on Non-motorised Transport (NMT) was hosted on 11th April 2019. It aimed to include learnings and observations from projects, including plans for NMT policy and action, road improvement and pedestrianisation, besides traffic movement study and junction improvement to combat congestion.
2. The webinar on Intermediate Public Transport (IPT) was hosted on 10th April 2019. It included observations from on-ground implementation of IPT projects for improving last-mile connectivity by deploying electric rickshaws via a pilot scheme and the development of an IPT policy and action plan.
3. The webinar on Parking Management Under Smart Cities Mission was hosted on 9th April 2019. It included a short description and observations gathered from the development of parking policies, parking management plans and development of parking areas for cities.
4. The webinar on Energy Conservation Building Code (ECBC) compliance in Indian cities was hosted on 12th April 2019. It included a description and observations gathered from a detailed analysis of the current situation and the capacity needs in the cities. The project aimed to assist cities in incorporating ECBC in their building approval processes.
These webinars were highly useful for stakeholders involved in the development and implementation of similar projects in Indian cities.
Disclaimer: Due to a technical glitch, some parts of the webinars might not be very clear. We have provided transcripts for the same in the links.