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.
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.
I had been staying at Dombivli for 34 years of my life, so you can well imagine my reluctance when I had to shift to Palava some 5 years ago. I wasn’t sure if leaving my comfortable life of 34 years at Dombivli for Palava was a wise decision, also because I was dreading that I would have to constantly travel back and forth from Palava to Dombivli, which is going to leave me exhausted. But, once I moved to Palava, I was impressed and how!
I am government certified authorised service provider for leave and license agreements at Palava. I have registered numerous leave and license agreements for Palava city residents at the exact government rates.
What attracted me instantly to Palava is the connectivity and how one can go on about their life with ease over her. I have a young daughter and for me, her safety is a priority and Palava provides me with that. One of the biggest achievements for me is enrolling my daughter at Lodha World School as LWS has some of the best facilities and faculties offered to kids, and she loves every minute of it.
I work from home and this city has some great facilities that allow me to work amidst the gorgeous surroundings. I have put myself out there by partly sponsoring as well as appearing as a special guest in the last edition of PALASO.
I feel that Palava City offers me everything I need and more. Today I don’t have to step out of Palava City for anything, as everything is available here. After coming here, I believe age is just a number as the pleasant and natural atmosphere of Palava City always makes me feel young.
#PalavaMakesMeMore responsible towards attaining the perfect balance between business, family and my social life.
While India’s population is becoming increasingly urban (studies project over 40 per cent of India will live in cities within the next two decades), our cities are ill-equipped to cope with the influx. The extraordinary scale and pace of this transition isalready placing an enormous burden on Indian cities, which are already stretched to deliver even the most basic services to their citizens. Increasingly, experts have stressedthe need for a new model of urbanization, where even as we strive to improve live ability, we need to plan and build new future cities.
City of opportunity
Palava was envisaged by Lodha Group, India’s No 1. developer, as India’s answer to the urbanisation challenge; to provide a far smarter way of living, enhancing quality of lives by creating an opportunity for people to flourish in a better urban environment. Spread over 4,500 acres (1/4th the size of the island city of Mumbai), Palava, Mumbai’s sister city, is the largest greenfield private development, funded, built and governed by a single enterprise.
Palava has developed and rolled out several initiatives across governance, healthcare and education, safety and security, transportation, sustainability, and energy and utilities.
Currently, phase 1 of Palava which is over 250 acres and has over 18,000 homes is nearing completion and population is expected to hit 1,00,000 by 2017 “In just 7 years from its start, making it the fastest city startup” in world history. Best firms from around the world including GE, IBM, Sun Edison, Philips and many others are already working together to create India’s first greenfield smart city. Palava is envisioned to have a population of 2 million people and provide 3.5 lac jobs.
Today, with over 24,000 flats sold and over 5,000 families already living there, Palava underscores the appetite for high-quality middle income housing. Palava offers citizens a greener lifestyle with over 60% open spaces (the highest among world cities), a riverfront park, neighbourhood gardens, high-quality educational facilities like two operational ICSE schools as well as 20 other upcoming schools, sports facilities including a cricket ground, a FIFA standard football stadium and a golf course, luxurious clubhouses and cafes. Opening soon is a 5 lac sqft mall with PVR multiplex followed by a multi-speciality hospital. Palava will also be home to a world-class multi-disciplinary university, an Olympic-standard Sports Complex, a vibrant Centre for Arts and Culture, lakefront and river-front plazas, high street retail and a 100-acre Central Park. All this will give the citizens of Palava a multitude of opportunities for all-round development.
Its Central Business District will offer millions of square-feet of world-class offices and the city will create 3.5 lakh jobs by 2025, making the ‘walk to work’ concept a reality for the citizens of Palava.
Palava aims to provide citizens a hassle-free lifestyle. Having partnered with IBM for its smart city technology, advanced systems are already integrating information from all Palava city operations into a single system. Centralized monitoring and analytics in the areas of security, emergency management and transportation are further improving response time to city problems.
Palava recognizes that it is not only infrastructure that makes a city great. Arts, culture and entertainment play an equally important part in the fabric of any city. Recognizing this, Palava fosters and seeds arts, culture and sports through a participative, citizen-driven process – with the goal of creating opportunities and experiences for the community so as to explore their potential. Last year, the city’s flagship arts and culture festival ‘Palava Tarang’ saw performances by India’s finest artists like Pt. Hariprasad Chaurasia, Dr. L Subramanium and Ustad Rashid Khan among others. Activities like urban farming, creative photography and other workshops are already being conducted towards forming community clubs.
Palava’s urban governance model offers a unique and sustainable solution to India’s urbanization challenge. Palava’s own municipal body, Palava City Management Association (PCMA) is responsible for delivering policy and rule-based administration for all stakeholders. Already in operation, PCMA comprises of citizens and city experts which will collectively aim towards cost-effective services. PCMA already administers core amenities like power, water and transport for the citizens of Palava. A franchisee agreement with Maharashtra State Electricity Distribution Co. Ltd ensures that Palava has near-uninterrupted electricity. 24×7 monitoring and emergency response teams, video surveillance, a highly trained security force, street level panic alarm systems, and electronic access control and automatic fire alarm systems in buildings ensure safety, day and night.
Built for the future
One of the many unique aspects of Palava will be walkability, making the entire city easily accessible to its citizens and fostering a healthy, sustainable lifestyle. Each neighbourhood has a pedestrian-focused design and is planned to be self-sufficient, with all daily needs met within a 5 to 10 minute walk from home and public facilities just 15 minutes away making Palava a walkable urban city of the future.
Palava was built to offer its citizens three things: opportunities to prosper, the chance to participate in the running of the city, and a fulfilling lifestyle. These are the key cornerstones of the city, being fortified by meticulous planning and the desire to match the best. All these total up to Palava being a true city of opportunity for generations to come.
Shot at Palava
Mumbai Metropolitan Region will soon see an iconic name in the A-list academic circles come to its fold. From the promoters that set up India’s most premier and sought-after educational institute, The Shri Ram School, comes The Shri Ram Universal School, Palava. This school would be set up under the aegis of Shri Educare Limited, the education consultancy that has tied-up with the Lodha Group.
Known as the as the Holy grail of schooling in Delhi, The Shri Ram School was founded in 1988, and has since then progressively emerged as the top choice for parents of Delhi and Gurgaon. The Shri Ram Schools in Delhi and Gurgaon have consistently been ranked amongst the top three day schools in India for the last five years according to the EducationWorld India School Ranking. Getting a child admitted to The Shri Ram School is widely acknowledged as tougher than getting admittance to some of the world’s top-notch universities. Some of the other premier and leading educational institutions set up by the group are the Shri Ram College of Commerce and Lady Shri Ram College.
The Shri Ram School is a much desired choice for every parent-to-be for several reasons. Delhi celebrates admissions to this school with lavish brunches, Mumbai takes pride while announcing their child’s departure to the capital, and Bengaluru considers it as a fierce competitor to Bishops Cotton. India revers this institution and silently envies its alumni. Mumbai and its surroundings will be able to experience its offerings at Palava as in a year or two, it will become home to The Shri Ram Universal School.
And if you wonder what makes The Shri Ram School’s alumni wear their badge with unabashed pride, simply look at the school’s fundamentals. Since its opening in 1988, the school has always adapted a ‘child centric’ approach. Limited students in a classroom, sprawling playgrounds and experiential learning are common to this school. In New Delhi, students study in a 6 acre campus laden with environmental labs and engage in several outdoor projects, real time experiments and other engaging activities. Learning through experience is a routine at this institution.
Though what makes it unique from its counterparts is the flexibility in its systems and the contribution of its teachers. The Shri Ram School encourages parents to be intricately involved in the development of their children. It ensures every need of the child is attentively addressed by the teacher and not simply made to follow instructions.
The Shri Ram Universal School will be set up in Lakeshore Greens neighbourhood of Palava and is expected to cater to students from Nursery to Class XII. It will be one of the over 20 schools planned in Palava. Palava today has two operational ICSE schools “Lodha World School and Pawar Public School. With this one-of-its-kind alliance, the residents of Lakeshore Greens in Palava will get an enviable chance to enrol their children with India’s top school brand, and that too, located just a short walk away.Read More
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.
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!
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.
Find out how urban city development initiatives are fulfiling 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 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. In fact, the 2014 election manifesto of the Bharatiya Janata Party promised to build “100 new cities; enabled with the latest in technology and infrastructure”.
Hence, when the Modi government announced its plan to create “100 smart cities”, the presumption was that India would get 100 new cities. 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 many smart cities of Mumbai
Under the Smart City Mission, there are four different smart cities in the Mumbai Metropolitan Region- Greater Mumbai, Navi Mumbai, Thane and Kalyan-Dombivili.
The smart city 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 which 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 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, there are also private players which are creating their own 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, development of hubs along industrial corridors, retrofitting certain areas within a city or building private townships. By invoking the term “smart city”, these varied urban developments are able to legitimise and market themselves better.
Indian cities are dominated by unplanned developments, an informal economy and messy local politics. This urban realty 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 is at odds with the predominant forms of urban realty in India.
This article first appeared on Scroll.
Read more of this interesting article on Palava’s website!
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Lodha, Building a Better Life, the right way
At Lodha, guided by our vision of ‘Building a Better Life’ we follow transparent and ethical business practices. We have stringent anti-corruption, anti-bribery and anti-money laundering polices that are binding to all our associates, contractors, suppliers, subsidiaries, affiliates and sub-contractors. We ensure adherence to high level of social, ethical and responsible practices in any business dealings by multiple check-points and process in place. Any suspected instance of policy violation is deftly investigated and appropriate disciplinary action, including suspension & termination of service or initiation of civil and/or criminal proceedings is undertaken. Coupled with our commitment of nurturing an environment that enables growth and fulfils ambition for all our stakeholders and consumer trust in the brand; Lodha is India’s leading realty player.
Smart cities are the need of the hour and they have to adopt and take advantage of information, communication technologies and data analytics to improve the management of traffic, solid waste, energy, water and citizen services.
Nestled in 330 acres of sylvan surroundings and home to over 5,000 residents, India’s Rashtrapati Bhavan is being given an ‘intelligent’ makeover with smart technologies and devices like smart meters and smart security, water and waste-management solutions besides smart citizen services.
To ensure that all these services are connected and work seamlessly but without destroying the iconic institution’s heritage, the self-sustained presidential estate in New Delhi now has an Intelligent Operations Centre (IOC) that was launched by President Pranab Mukherjee on 19 May.
The IOC system, implemented by International Business Machines Corp. (IBM), has been integrated with the electrical billing system to provide data on consumption patterns of consumers, public and common areas within the estate. Given that Rashtrapati Bhavan consumes over 100,000 units of electricity daily, the move will help optimize energy management.
Additionally, newer eco-friendly technology such as solar power, LED lamps for street lighting and other applications to reduce energy consumptions are deployed. IBM has also mapped all water domain assets such as underground water reservoirs, pump locations and tube well assets the entire water distribution pipeline on a Geographical Information Systems (GIS) layer to enable faster diagnostic and resolution of water incidents, and allow residents to track complaints in real-time.
IBM has also mapped waste management from waste bin collections, rickshaw routes, disposals, landfill, and processing onto its IOC system. A mobile app platform assists teams in maintaining a cleaner estate. Besides, a Citizens Mobile App, created by IBM’s IOC allows residents to report issues using the web and mobile. The data will be supplied to city offices which can use the insights to make informed decisions.
“The move to convert the Rashtrapati Bhavan into a smart city is unique not because of the significance of that institution but because we also had to preserve its heritage, which means that we could not simply redo the place and put up a lot of instrumentation that would mar the look of the place,” Prashant Pradhan, director-smarter planet business, IBM India and South Asia, said.
As with the work done in the Rashtrapati Bhavan, a poster-boy for the government’s Smart Cities vision, a typical smart city would take advantage of information and communications technologies (ICT) and data analytics to improve the management of traffic, solid waste, energy, water and citizen services. While smart transportation can reduce traffic congestion and air pollution with the help of parking meters and sensors, enhancing surveillance systems can reduce the crime rate and create a smart public safety system. A smart city’s power distribution infrastructure would be built on smart grid technologies and integrated with power demand patterns and grid supply variations.
Cisco Systems Inc. has been collaborating with several state governments in India for Smart City projects across areas like surveillance, smart cities, automation, etc. Cisco recently named Jaipur as the first Smart + Connected Community Lighthouse City in South Asia. The Cisco Lighthouse City status credential is assigned to a select list of cities all over the world.
Cisco has also established a Smart City surveillance system in Lucknow with 280 cameras, 10,000 drones and night-vision mobile vans. Smart surveillance projects that drive citizen safety with round-the-clock monitoring will make digital crime fighting a key focus area.
Vizag Smart City is equipped with the Andhra Pradesh (AP) fibre Net, a state-wide broadband project. Cisco has announced an Internet of Everything (IoE) Innovation Centre in Vizag and is also deploying technologies like Smart Wi-Fi, Smart Safety and Security, Smart Lighting, Smart Parking, Smart Transport, Smart Bus Stops, Smart Kiosks, a Remote Expert for government Services (REGS) and Smart Education.
Microsoft Corp. has partnered with the Surat Municipal Corporation (SMC) in Gujarat to transform Surat; the hub of India’s diamond trade into a smart city. Surat is the fourth-fastest growing city in the world, with a population of 5 million and a business hub that processes 80% of the world’s diamonds and meets 40% of India’s demand for textiles, according to Milind Torawane, Surat’s municipal commissioner. SMC is working with Microsoft and its partners to develop solutions for water management and urban planning (building plan approvals). Surat has already implemented several e-governance and citizen-centric solutions developed on Microsoft technologies, including those for property tax and revenue collections and material management. Microsoft has also created a city dashboard that provides a customized view of key performance indicators for the city.
Palava’s smart technology, for which it has partnered with IBM, also extends to 500 surveillance cameras that capture real-time data and, in future, will support face recognition for entry and have panic alarms every 200 metres. A smart card given to all Palava citizens will allow cashless transactions at retail centres, access to bus service, public Wi-Fi within the city’s premises, buildings and commercial points of entry.
The fact that cities are bursting at the seams is not lost on Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s government, which, on 29 April 2015, signed off on a plan to create 100 ‘smart cities’ and the rolling out of a new five-year urban development mission for 500 cities. The combined cost: Rs.1 trillion. This January, the government selected 20 cities, including five state capitals, to launch its larger urban makeover plan—the first phase of the larger plan to set up 100 smart cities. The next round of the competition is to select 40 cities this year.
To be sure, there are major challenges that the government needs to address as it goes about the task of building smart cities. Besides, building a smart city is “not always about IT but is more about smartly designing a city” according to Jaijit Bhattacharya, partner, infrastructure and government services, at consulting firm KPMG.
Bhattacharya pointed out that most of the work that technology companies are doing for the designated smart cities so far has been ‘pro bono’, implying that now tenders will have to be floated to execute the projects. According to Bhattacharya, a “command and control system (referring to the IOC) is important but there is also a need for a common IT architecture for all states, failing which they (the states) will have to retrofit this”.
Another hurdle is that India has a federal democratic structure, so it needs the cooperation and coordination of states, coupled with that of urban local bodies, to build smart cities.
This article first appeared on Live Mint.
Read more to find out how Palava has adopted smart technology for a brighter future on Palava’s website.
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