A grand success
The Smart Cities Council India, part of the global consortium of smart cities, recently concluded the 6th Smart Cities Summit - SM@RT URBANATION - at Hotel Ashok Lalit in Bengaluru. Organised on September 24-25, the event outlined India's urban reality and future, buttressed by technological evolution. With 40 exhibitors, a two-day conference featuring more than 80 high profile national and international speakers, the Smart Cities Awards recognising over 40 cities and a footfall of 1,500, the event had all the ingredients to make it a grand success.
Also, this year, the 14th CONSTRUCTION WORLD Architect & Builder Awards 2019 (CWAB 2019) got bigger and smarter as it collaborated with the 6th SM@RT URBANATION event, recognising and awarding over 40 leading architects and builders in India.
Kunal Kumar, Joint Secretary, Smart Cities Mission Director, Ministry of Housing & Urban Affairs, Government of India, launched the recent Smart Cities Progress Report at the Summit. "Of the 5,000 projects that 100 cities had proposed, we have tendered out 3,880 projects worth Rs 1,418 billion; grounded 3,100 projects worth Rs 1,004 billion; and completed 1,100 projects worth over Rs 201 billion," he said. "This is only one aspect of what the mission has achieved. The remaining projects are expected to be tendered out by March 2020." The report includes all the recent data from the Ministry of Housing and Urban Affairs on completed, operational and under-implementation projects and tenders floated.
Kicking off the event on the right note, Pratap Padode, Founder & Director, Smart Cities Council India, said, "The opportunity for building cities that last centuries is available to our current leaders. The Delhi-Mumbai Industrial Corridor has planned eight industrial cities. Planned to come up around a radial distance of about 25 km from the proposed international airport at Navi Mumbai, NAINA city will be developed on just over a 334-sq km plot. Its development plan was recently cleared. Navi Mumbai was probably the last greenfield city that was planned and it has held its course. China has developed 30 cities in the past 30 years with over one million population. India has 53 cities or rather urban agglomerations with over one million population, while China has over 160. The municipal act needs an overhaul if we expect commitment to building sustainable cities that will last centuries."
To make urbanisation a positive and productive transformation that will deliver long-term gains to citizens, Vijay Bhaskar TM, Chief Secretary, Government of Karnataka, elaborated upon the three goals of social equitability, economic viability and environmental sustainability. He added,"Urbanisation manifests itself in two ways: Expansion of existing cities and creation of new ones. The unprecedented urban growth that is expected, especially in countries such as India, will require a wide range of policies and practices to be conceptualised around a new socially inclusive and environmentally friendly paradigm. The current situation holds tremendous potential for governments to build cities of the future that can serve as engines of growth by attracting talent and investment in the global competitive landscape."
Addressing the audience, Anjum Parvez, Principal Secretary, Urban Development Department, Government of Karnataka, said, "Every city is trying to become smart and this is a positive development happening in our country. While smart is the new buzzword, we have started late. It is only in the late '90s that we started talking about urban development. Today, there is a need to focus on the development of rural areas and create job opportunities in these areas. Also, today, we are no more just learners; we are contributors. The smart cities scheme has been a catalyst in changing the way we look at urbanisation."
Indeed, Smart Urbanation was a grand gathering of industry stalwarts. The two-day conference focused on various opportunities and pertinent solutions with regards to smart cities. Don't miss our photo gallery that introduces you to the high-profile speakers and dignitaries. And read on to know more about the exhibition and winners of the Smart Cities Awards.