ISSN (Print) - 0012-9976 | ISSN (Online) - 2349-8846

Smart CitiesSubscribe to Smart Cities

Mission Impossible

In the wake of the global enthusiasm for smart cities, the central government launched the ambitious Smart Cities Mission in 2015. Based on a detailed analysis of proposals of the top 60 cities, the mission is located within the larger urban reform process initiated in the 1990s. An attempt has been made to define smart cities to understand how they envisage questions of urban transformations, inclusion and democracy. The proposals reveal an excessive reliance on consultants, lack of effective participation, a common set of interventions that are accepted as “smart solutions,” and a shift towards greater control of urban local bodies by state governments.

Gujarat's One-sided Land Policy

The Gujarat Government's efforts to push for the Dholera Smart City and other Delhi-Mumbai Industrial Corridor (DMIC) projects have resulted in lopsided policies. These policies prove that agriculturists have no representation in the state’s legislative processes.

Town Planning Machinery Enquiry into Staffing Adequacy

Globally, planners play a vital role in planning liveable, sustainable and resilient cities. In the Indian context, planners and planning need to be placed at the heart of our development process. By undermining our states' town planning machinery and shunning town planners from the task of planning our cities, we, in turn, risk undermining the potential benefits of such programmes to urban India.

Not Just About Jobs and 'Smart' Cities

If India's experiment with "smart" urbanisation is to succeed, there is a critical need for investing in the priorities of youth, creation of jobs they aspire to have, spaces they can engage with and thereby connecting them with the city. Rather than an undue emphasis on "harnessing technology" for the betterment of citizens, the focus should be on inclusive urbanisation, where no one is left behind.

Majoritarian Rationale and Common Goals

Looking at existing policy instruments and goals, and the economic and social outcomes they promise to deliver, it is argued that majoritarian politics and social and cultural outcomes are not part of fringe thinking. The politics of hate actually works to build a consensus for ruling class economics. It is not surprising, therefore, that the only "nationalist outlook" of our times is to stand firmly behind the policy programme for the global investor.
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