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Bindu Prabhu – A Trained Badminton Player & A Palavian

BY LODHA
07 January, 2019

For me moving from Virar to Palava has been a big switch. We moved to Palava in 2015 and since then, I’ve only been in awe of this place and its beauty. We were contemplating shifting to Navi Mumbai keeping in mind our son’s higher education. But, we hadn’t decided on anything concrete, which is when Palava happened. We came across an advertisement for Palava, and we couldn’t resist from visiting their website. The rest, as they say, is history. We visited Palava and were mesmerized on our first visit itself. It’s going to be close to 4 years now and we’re loving it.

Everyone here at Palava is one big, happy family, where each one is supportive of the other and it feels like we live in a joint family.

I used to be a fitness enthusiast, but time was always an issue for me. As and when I used to watch my son Aditya play badminton, I also developed an urge to take up this sport. I started playing badminton in order to stay fit, and I’ve come across people, who have inspired me and supported me every step of the way. I have competed against great opponents who have taught me a lot and helped improve my game, irrespective of winning or losing. One of the most unforgettable moments of my life would have to be the time when I played alongside my son for a mixed doubles match and the best part was when we won as a team. I have practiced and won every doubles match conducted since 2015, including a doubles winner in Palaso’s first edition.

Now, Mita and I are training hard to compete in badminton tournaments outside Palava.

#PalavaMakesMeMore excited regarding what the future holds in terms of my passion for Badminton.

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Is Palava the Smart City That India Today Needs?

BY LODHA
26 December, 2016

Consider these scenarios: A completely Wi-Fi enabled city where citizens can connect to work while resting under a tree in their neighbourhood park. A universal ID card that can be used for cashless transactions and also acts as a key to enter your building with advanced security systems. A dedicated mobile app that can be used in a crisis to summon an emergency response team in less than 10 minutes. Sounds like a Hollywood movie with a plot set in the future?

These features may appear to be somewhat futuristic but are already a reality at Palava, a greenfield first-of-its-kind smart city project coming up rapidly on the outskirts of Mumbai. The project’s uniqueness lies in the fact that a real estate developer is developing it, rather than any nodal agency in Urban Planning. With over 25,000 homes sold in 6 years since its inception, the city is planned to be a home to 4 lac families and have 3.5 lac jobs in its business district by 2025.

For Palava, the city developer Lodha Group has a franchise agreement with Maharashtra State Electricity Distribution Co. Ltd for near-uninterrupted electricity supply and solar panels power its street lights. It has a tie-up with General Electric Co. (GE) for 100% flush water recycling, and automated water metering and billing to ensure transparency and zero water loss. The city has also tied up with IBM to incorporate its smarter cities technology using advanced, data-driven systems to integrate information from all city operations into a single system, to improve efficiency and deliver an enhanced quality of life for the residents.

Information technology accounts for only 5% of the total project cost, says Shaishav Dharia, Regional CEO (Palava) at Lodha Group, adding: “The Lodha Group has also set up Palava City Management Association with urban experts and citizens as members to deal with day-to-day issues, as well as a 311 grievance helpline number and 911 emergency helpline number for citizens, and a mobile app. Palava’s smart technology also extends to 500 surveillance cameras that capture real-time data and in future will support facial recognition for entry and have panic alarms every 200 meters. A smart card given to all Palava citizens will allow cashless transactions at retail centres, access to bus service, public Wi-Fi within Palava’s premises, building, and commercial points entry, and information access from the Palava command centre.”

Two operational schools, the Lodha World School and Pawar Public School offer an all established Indian and international syllabi. Shri Ram Universal School (from the stable of “Shri Ram Schools” widely acknowledged as the holy grail of schooling in India) is set to open shortly. “My children and I love to cycle, and we do it just for leisure around the riverside promenade or even to catch the latest movie at PVR at the neighbourhood Xperia Mall! Everything is just a 5-minute ride from my home, therefore, one doesn’t have to rush all the time,” says Tasneem Pithawala, a resident of South Mumbai who bought a golf-course facing villa at Palava in 2013.

The potential for smart cities in India is enormous—something that makes Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s 100 smart cities goal an achievable one. “India’s urban population will reach 590 million by 2030, living in at least 60 cities with a population of more than one million, requiring an investment of $1.2 trillion by the government for their development,” Dharia says.

The Maharashtra State Government has given its nod to the construction of a 21km flyover starting from Kalyan, the first step towards building the Mumbai-Nagpur super highway. In addition to the same, there is 1.7km road tunnel planned to connect Airoli in Navi Mumbai to Shil-phata. And the most recent announcement is that of the 7.5km JVLR-Khoparkhairane-Ghansoli Bridge, to provide a seamless corridor for travelling to Kalyan, Thane, Dombivali, and provide a direct corridor to the upcoming second international airport.

Sharing the plans for the near future, a Lodha Group spokesperson shared that Palava will soon have an Olympic-standard Sports Complex, a Centre for Arts and Culture, 20 schools and much more. While real estate developers often ride the trend wave on impulse, the structured planning and dynamic execution of Palava seems to define the onset of Smart City development in India. Whether this will define the route for others to follow is definitely worth the watch.

This Greenfield project by the Lodha group offers professional sport amenities, recreational gardens and parks and over 60% of open spaces

 

For enquiries around buying a home at Palava, SMS PALAVA to 52424.

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Building Sustainable Frameworks to Make Cities Prosper

BY LODHA
07 January, 2017

‘With the growth of a city, the country prospers.’ Today, India is on the trajectory of redesigning its cities to make them citizen-friendly and sustainable. The Government of India has launched ‘Smart Cities Mission’, an urban renewal and retrofitting programme, to develop 100 cities across the country. As the Ministry of Urban Development in India works towards shaping the identity of its cities, Palava Times spoke with Senior Urban Planner for the World Bank, Washington DC and former Mayor for Madrid’s Central District, Pedro Ortiz for his insights on the essentials to design a ‘livable’ city and best practices for its successful growth.

How would you define ‘livability’ in a city?
The concept of livability is culture-related. Every culture will look for different items as the goals for quality of life. If you focus on ‘comfort’, which is most sought after by us, I would say five key essentials that define livability are housing, job opportunities, environmental quality, recreational opportunities and GDP. Housing facilities ensure ‘zero’ annual housing deficit, therefore, eliminates any slum percentage. Job opportunities ensure restriction of the unemployment rate. An ideal rate of unemployment should not be more than 3%. Environmental quality is a crucial aspect of every city as it impacts health and well-being. A city should aim to have its citizens enjoy a life expectancy of 79 years for men and 85 years for women. Most importantly, cities should offer recreational opportunities where citizens can pursue their hobbies while managing their professional commitments. ‘Walk to work’ should be emphasized upon by every planner. An ideal time to commute between work and home should be not more than 30 minutes every day. Lastly, a city’s wealth is a global indicator of livability. If a city’s GDP per capita is in the range of 30,000 USD, it is said to be a good performer.

Which global cities, according to you, have etched a mark for their livability quotient and why?
The most livable cities in the world are the ones in Northern Europe. According to me, the most sought after ones would be Copenhagen, Stockholm and Oslo. They have attained equilibrium between efficiency and equity within a sustainable framework. While some may critique them to be monotonous and lacking culture, they are very efficient and rationale. I mentioned earlier that livability is related to culture, therefore, you see the Italians or the Colombians or the Rwandans prefer to live in their own cities. I strongly recommend that while building cities, we should concentrate on personalizing their infrastructure to make them livable and not simply replicate solutions of others as that may probably not work for us. In simple words, I believe one should be inspired, but should not blindly replicate.

Is the growth of a city and its citizens directly proportional to its livability quotient?
Cities or metropolises grow because they offer hope. Citizens can expect more from one city over the other. People move from rural to urban (350,000 every day in India) because they are looking for a better life with work opportunities and housing options. One changes his or her existing culture and location in the hope that their children will lead a better life in the new place. I believe cities grow because of their ‘expectations’ quotient, not because of their livability.

If not, what is most essential for the growth of a city?
A city with a strong framework and sustainable facilities will always grow. The responsibility of the city managers is to make cities livable and to build them within a sustainable framework. Once things are set right, cities will organically attract people and grow. For the growth of any city, its managers, which means its politicians and civil servants should primarily grow a sound economy that will produce jobs and wealth, provide decent housing that is affordable, well-located and equipped with all the social facilities and ensure fair distribution of city wealth.

How has urban planning evolved?
In the 70s the trend was computational analysis, in the 80s it was community action, the 90s saw conservation of environment, the last decade witnessed bottom-up participation and presently it lies with climate and technology. Today, those concerned with social equity are focusing on sustainability, resilience to food risks and climate change. Those aiming to enhance economic efficiency are focusing on smart cities. I personally feel rather than focusing on a different aspect every decade, we should integrate and focus on them together as that will be more impactful for the citizens.

What is your opinion on cities in India? Do you have any suggestions for them?
India is a remarkable country; its cities are beautiful as they reflect the incredible Indian culture. Indian culture is among the top six cultures of the world today. But Indian cities are under enormous strain due to the explosion of growth in the country. To ease the strain, cities must harness the growth. They need to plan better by focusing on city statistics such as the annual need of housing land services and availability of mass public infrastructure to sustain its population growth. It should strengthen its public administration efficiency and finance capacity. India’s political leadership and collective intelligence of the society can help better cities by putting their priorities right.

How would you design a ‘city’ in India?
I would design with intelligence instead of smartness. I would ensure the fundamental concepts are got right before thinking which technology would be the best to achieve the intelligent goals. It is important to first ensure the basic amenities are provided and then turn focus on using technological smart instruments to further enhance the design of the city.

Which has been your most memorable urban planning projects and why?
From 1996 to 2016, I was given the responsibility to create the Metropolitan Planning of Madrid. It addressed the needs for housing land and public transport for the Madrilenian and it worked very well. I hope the Mumbaikar’s will benefit from the same results out of the recently approved regional plan announced by the Indian Government.

Pedro Ortiz has previously served as Deputy Director of the Council of Architects of Madrid and Director of the Institute for Urban Renewal, a joint venture between the public and private sectors in Madrid. He was also the Founder and Director of the Masters Program of Town Planning of the University King Juan Carlos of Madrid. He is also a member of the Madrid’s City Council (1987-1995) where he was responsible for Urban Prospective (1993- 1995) and for Culture (1991-1993). He served as Director of the “Strategic Plan for Madrid” (1991-1994) and as Director General for Town and Regional Planning for the Government of Madrid Region. He has authored two books, “Regional Development Plan of Madrid of 1996” and the “Land Planning Law of 1997.”

Read more on this work at www.pedrobortiz.com/

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Vandana Mehrotra – Marathon Runner and A Palavian

BY LODHA
16 November, 2018

It’s seldom that one comes across something- especially a place- that tends to give them so much in return. Palava gave me more than what I could ask for when we shifted to this city. I am a teacher by profession and I teach at Don Bosco School at Matunga. My family and I moved to Palava some 2 years ago and since then, there’s been no looking back. Palava has helped me discover my individuality and learn to appreciate it. I have always been inclined towards running, but never really thought of pursuing it as a hobby. Initially, I started by walking around the complex as I was apprehensive to start running. Gradually, I grew more confident and my running also improved with time. A few of my neighbours saw me running and urged me to participate in the various marathons held in the city. I trained myself for these marathons and I have run numerous marathons till date. I have no qualms about crediting my success to Palava for providing me with the best facilities to practice and for making me realize my dream. I’m very proud of myself today as I have been able to encourage several women of Palava to run for their good health.

My dream of running the Mumbai Marathon was fulfilled in January 2018 when I ran the marathon for 21 km. I’m training myself hard to cover the 42km stretch and I’m sure I’ll get there someday.

My day begins at the crack of dawn, and I go for my morning run at 5 AM. Then, I cook for my family before rushing to work. Once I return from work, I destress myself by going for an evening jog.

#PalavaMakesMeMore committed to running and urges me to keep training and give my best for future marathons.

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Manikant Mudgil – A Software Guru & A Palavian

BY LODHA
18 December, 2018

The shift to Palava has been very recent, but I’m already wowed. As a resident of Colaba, this hasn’t been an easy decision for me as I’m an out-and-out South Bombay person. But, when I shifted to Palava, that’s when my perspective about this place took a 360-degree turn. I realized how close Palava is to South Mumbai in terms of the place, nature, and everything else. Since I loved Colaba because of the fresh and clean air, as well as the greenery on all sides, imagine my surprise when I moved to Palava because this place gave me the same exact feeling and did not make me feel out of place. My father served in the Navy and during his tenure, we stayed in Navy Nagar, which was a beautiful place. So, from my childhood itself, I have grown up amidst greenery, clear blue skies and breathing the fresh air around. To my surprise and happiness, Palava took me back to my childhood days, as this place has all the facilities and immense greenery that I have always been so used to since I was a kid.

Another stand out feature for me is that Palava is extremely close to my workplace, Ghansoli- which is also known as the ‘Software Hub’. The short commute allows me to enjoy various other activities once I come back from work. My favourite weekend spot is the mall situated nearby, while the gym and the clubhouse are also where I spend my free time.

The city doesn’t disappoint and stays true to its name – Smart City. Palava is ahead of its time in terms of trends. The free Wi-Fi availability also allows me to work from home.

#PalavaMakesMeMore enthusiastic as I look forward to combining work and other activities with sheer ease.

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Madhuri Amte – A Self-Made Entrepreneur & A Palavian

BY LODHA
24 December, 2018

My story is a little different from the rest since I did not immediately purchase a flat at Palava City. I moved to Palava over a year ago on a rent basis, but after having a close look at the whole quality of life and the city’s offerings, I was instantly convinced to buy my own house here, and that too within 3 months’ time.

I have two kids who also love this city as much as I do. My elder one is in college and the younger one goes to Lodha World School (LWS). I never had second thoughts about sending my child to LWS as I was always aware of the school’s top-notch facilities and reputed faculty. I would like to point out to the exceptional safety and security measures that Palava has ensured to all its residents. This is why I don’t mind my daughter walking to her school every day, which is just a short distance away. The residents of Palava are a tight-knit family, where we face all the ups and downs of life together and help each other through all the trying times. I initially conducted tuitions at my home but stopped it as I yearned to spend more time with my family. That is when I decided to start my own business of making homemade farsan, and slowly ventured out and started taking orders for chaklis, sweets, and farsan. In less than a year, everyone loved the quality and the taste of my food, and the orders kept coming. Now, I also have my own catering business and I enjoy the look of satisfaction on people’s faces when I serve them my food at various events in the city.

I’m a happy resident of Palava and like the fact that Palava encourages community living. I look forward to having my own stall in the next event organized at Palava, including Tarang.

#PalavaMakesMeMore eager to create my own identity and pursue what I love at all times.

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Palava City - A Greenfield Smart City Project In Dombivli

BY LODHA
05 August, 2016

Professor Aniket Bhagwat is a third generation landscape architect practising in Ahmedabad with m/s Prabhaker B Bhagwat and manages the landscaping for Palava. A stimulating writer, thinker and academician, he co-edits and writes for SPADE, a chronicle on design research.

(inputs for the article given by Prof. Aniket Bhagwat)

Cities have always been, and are even today, engines of growth. They attract a rising tide of people that hope for a better life for themselves and their future generations.

Palava, the Greenfield smart city, has been envisioned to be amongst the 50 most livable places in the world by 2025.

The success of smart cities lies in their sustainability and thus Palava endeavours to be a ‘sustainable’ city and have its characteristics designed in accordance to achieve that vision. A ‘sustainable city’ is also known as an ‘eco-city’, which means it is designed in consideration of environmental impact to ensure that with its high-density, walkable urban fabric, focus on public transport, significant recycling and significant amounts of landscaping, it has the lowest levels of per capita carbon emission globally.

Palava has been carefully planned to incorporate the essential principles of eco-friendly liveability.

The city’s green landscape has been designed to preserve the indigenous flora and create a balance of all strata’s of vegetation that contribute to the diversity of the aesthetics of the city. Preserving the mandate of building a city without disrupting its natural surroundings, the developments have been planned such that they do not disturb the natural surface hydrology, there is no cutting of the rock strata nor is there any disturbance to the natural gradient. The topography of the city’s green spaces focuses on environmental improvement and enhancement of natural resources such as bettering the topsoil quality, preserving existing trees and valuing the natural river, lake and swale that form natural landmarks along with the grasslands and rocky outcrops.

Palava’s land was always dotted with trees and the planning strategy ensured that all those trees were untouched or transplanted, as best suited, to fulfill design requirements of the open greens within the master plan. The plantation palette was carefully chosen after taking into consideration the land topography and its soil.

Understanding that planting new saplings would need several years to grow and provide the much-needed benefits, we set up a nursery at Posari, a village close to Palava, well in advance, to grow trees that are presently being used across the city.

The trees are procured and nurtured for their growth and health and thereafter planted around the city to enhance its green cover.

Phase I presently has over 21,000 trees while Phase II is planned to have over 1,00,000 trees.

While designing the open green space, the focus remains to strengthen the existing greens and nurturing the present environs to create a healthy experience for the citizens. And the recently held Go Green initiative, undertaken by the Palava City Management Association with support from the citizens reaffirmed our line of thought, as they came together to plant over 5,000 saplings across different neighbourhoods.

The parks, waterfronts and community greens in the city are designed to provide a diverse experience to the sensory palette. While the lake is 5 times the size of the Banganga Tank, the riverfront stretches up to 2.4 km, which is thrice the distance of Girgaum Chowpatty.

Today, Palava’s ratio of open spaces accounts to 2.5 sq.m./person as compared to 1.1 sq.m./person in Mumbai.

The masterplan is also designed keeping in focus walkability, having basic amenities such as schools, clubs, retail and parks within a 5 minutes walking distance. Therefore, pavements are well shaded and equipped with essential signages, benches and bins. Aiming to encourage a car-free environment and reduce pollution due to gas combustion, the city has dedicated bicycle tracks to ride through its neighbourhoods.

While at the macro level, the present design and proposed development is well aligned with the existing natural elements and planning flexibilities, at a micro level, it focuses on the citizen’s aspirations and needs. In all, the landscape design of the Palava tries to create opportunities with a diverse range of programs within a cohesive master plan that is primarily essential to improve the quality of urban living.

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Hobbies That Will Keep You Fit And Healthy

BY LODHA
11 September, 2016

Pick a hobby; it will help you uplift your spirit!

Do you like to stroll in the mall? Do Bollywood beats make you tap your feet? Does nature make you strap on your hiking boots? Are you a religious yoga buff?

If yes, you may be unknowingly doing a lot of good for your health, says Dr. Kavita Nikam, physician at the Healthspring Clinic at Palava. Read on the find out the how your hobbies are keeping you fit! Take that time out for them, they are doing you good!

Hike to build a robust heart

Trekking is a good exercise to keep the heart healthy and agile. As one engages in cardio exercise while trekking the heart pumps blood vigorously and helps in strengthening the cardiac muscles,” says Dr. Nikam. It may not be such a bad idea after all to take a holiday every quarter for a quick trip to the hills.

 Shop to burn off sugar

A visit to the mall does more than simply elevate your mood, says Dr. Nikam, and adds “Regular walking for 30 minutes helps cut down the risk of type 2 diabetes by 60%.” Now block your calendar for a stroll every day; remember you can choose the location or the store of your choice!

Dance away your stress

Any high intensity dance form with upbeat moves helps release mood-improving endorphins,” explains Dr. Nikam. Zumba, Kathak, Bhangda, take your pick and step into the groove. It is time to let the music play!

Swim to beat insomnia blues

Swimming is the best exercise for peaceful sleep at night,” advises Dr. Nikam, “and it was reiterated by the findings of a poll conducted by the National Sleep Foundation.” After all a few laps followed by a plenty of refreshing dips isn’t really exercise, it is more of unwinding in bliss.

Flex to boost immunity

Study has shown that regular practice of yoga helps build the immune system and fight off infections,” reveals Dr. Nikam. A recent Norwegian study revealed that yoga helps in changing gene expression that positively impacts the cellular composition. Hurry! Grab your yoga mat today!

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A Wish For Happiness: The Story Behind Flying Lanterns

BY LODHA
27 October, 2016

Sky lanterns or floating lights have today become a part of pop culture though their origin can be traced back to 3rdCentury BC. From battlefields to cultural ceremonies and wedding traditions to festive rituals, sky lanterns have been a part of many ceremonies across China, Thailand, Taiwan and the rest of Asia.

During the Three Kingdoms Era, the sky lanterns were used on the battlefield to communicate with one another, and once peace settled the peasants and royalty used them to thank God for all the blessings, cast away fear and wish for a prosperous future.  A wedding that is symbolic of newlyweds beginning a journey together often sees the couple light one lantern together and the wedding guests light others with personalized wishes for the couple’s future. In Thailand green lanterns are lit for personal growth and purple ones carry personalized wishes. In China, the final New Year celebrations is the Lantern Festival during which locals release Chinese New Year taboos.

Be it prayers for good health, happy marriage, good harvest season or relief from worries; a sky lantern is believed to make wishes come true.

It is believed that the longer and higher the sky lanterns float, the more likely the deities will receive your requests. The sky lantern ceremony has come to represent the releasing of one’s deepest fears and desires. It is a symbolic cleansing, a letting go of everything that troubles you. It is also the beginning of a new, enlightened you, with the light illuminating the path of knowledge and righteousness.

This Palava Weekend, we will be celebrating the joy of Diwali with a sky lantern show on the 29th of October, 2016.  Join in to count your blessings.

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Smart Cities - The Future Of Urban Development

BY LODHA
25 June, 2016

Find out how urban city development initiatives are fulfilling India’s need to comply with the smart city trend.

Ever since the Narendra Modi-led NDA government assumed office in Delhi, the public discourse on urban development in India has been dominated by “smart cities”. However, debates on this topic have often been misinformed since there is a lack of clarity on what is smart city mission or what exactly a smart city is. Interestingly, the guidelines of the government’s Smart City Mission itself state that “there is no universally accepted definition of a Smart City” since “it means different things to different people”.

While globally the term has become synonymous with the use of technology and data for improving various aspects of a city, in India the usage has been less precise. Much of the initial discussion implied that smart cities would be entirely new cities. The 2014 election manifesto of the Bharatiya Janata Party promised to build “100 new cities; enabled with the latest in technology and infrastructure”. It was only in June 2015 when it officially launched the Smart City Mission that the contours of India’s smart city policy got some clarity.

One year after its launch, it’s now clear that the Smart City Mission is not about building 100 new cities– it instead aims to make existing cities, in fact only certain designated areas within them, smart. While the Mission also requires each city to have a pan-city initiative, the thrust is to develop a compact area within a city through retrofitting or redevelopment of an existing built-up area or greenfield development of a vacant area.

While smart cities in India are now closely identified with the Smart City Mission, the vacuousness of the term has led to it being invoked for various forms of urban development. If we examine just Mumbai and its surrounding areas, we can get a sense of how different kinds of smart cities are sought to be created in different locations. The list of smart cities in India includes Lucknow, Kanpur, Agra, Chennai, Meerut, Erode, Salem, Thane, Nashik, Kalyan-Dimbivli, Surat, Ahmedabad, and so on.

The many smart cities of Mumbai

Under the Smart City Mission in India, there are four different smart cities in the Mumbai Metropolitan Region- Greater Mumbai, Navi Mumbai, Thane and Kalyan-Dombivili.

The smart city project proposals of these cities focus on developing certain pockets of the city– Lower Parel in the case of Mumbai and Koperkhairane in the case of Navi Mumbai– and also promote the deployment of smart technologies. Interestingly, the municipal corporations of some of these cities had expressed reservations about the governance structure of the proposed smart cities and eventually, none of the cities in the region were selected in the first round of funding under the Mission.

Independent of the Smart City Mission, the City and Industrial Development Corporation, a state government agency, is developing the seven southern nodes– Kharghar, Kamothe, Kalamboli, Pushpak, Panvel, Ulwe and Dronagiri– in its Navi Mumbai (South) Smart City project. The Corporation also has a greenfield urban development project near the new Navi Mumbai airport called the Pushpak Nagar Smart City, spread across 230 hectares. Much of the developments in the Navi Mumbai Airport Influence Notified Area, which covers 561 sq. km are also marketed as a “smart city”.

The Mumbai Metropolitan Region Development Authority is the other state agency that has caught the smart city bug. It is developing Mumbai’s Bandra Kurla Complex as a smart city by providing Wi-Fi connectivity, surveillance systems and a smart parking facility. It is also developing 5 hubs along the proposed 126-km Virar-Alibaug Multi-Modal Corridor– Vasai-Virar, Bhiwandi, Greater Kalyan, Greater Panvel and Pen-Alibaug– as smart cities.

Along with state agencies, some private players are creating their versions of smart cities in the Mumbai region. Palava built by the Lodha Group is the most prominent example of a private smart city. It has partnered with IBM to introduce smart governance through measures like intelligent security systems. Another interesting initiative near Mumbai is the Khalapur Smart City where a set of farmers in 11 villages have pooled 3,550 hectares of land to create an integrated township in partnership with the City and Industrial Development Corporation.

Smart Cities as a marketing trope

As the case of Mumbai illustrates, multiple avatars of smart cities are being built in various locations. The narrative on smart cities in India is hence not restricted to cities under the government’s Smart City Mission. Rather, the term is being invoked for a variety of modernist urban projects whether it’s building new cities, applying technological fixes to existing cities, developing hubs along industrial corridors, retrofitting certain areas within a city or building private townships. By invoking the term “smart city”, these varied urban developments can legitimise and market themselves better.

Indian cities are dominated by unplanned developments, an informal economy and messy local politics. This urban reality is increasingly coming under challenge in the post-liberalised era with private capital seeking to reshape the nature of the city. In this context, smart cities are being promoted by the state and the market to create more ordered forms of urban development. The term “smart city” has thus become a trope for promoting a variety of capital-driven planned urban initiatives that are at odds with the predominant forms of urban reality in India.

This article first appeared on Scroll

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