Smart Cities in India:
Interrogating Sustainability and Inclusiveness
Prof. Arvinder Ansari
JMI, New Delhi
The Government of India launched the Smart Cities Mission on 25 June 2015. The objective of the mission is to promote sustainable and inclusive cities that provide core infrastructure and a decent quality of life to their citizens; a clean and sustainable environment; and the application of “smart” solutions. The three cardinal principles for Smart Cities are: competitiveness, quality of life and sustainability. However the urban form of smart cities, led by business-driven technology and gentrification, has been unconcerned about the issues of class inequality, polarization, social justice and inclusion.
Some even hint that smart cities may turn into social apartheid cities, governed by powerful corporate entities that could override local laws and governments to “keep out” the poor. Smart cities may turn into “special enclaves” that would use prohibitive prices and harsh policing to prevent millions of poor Indians from enjoying the privileges of the improved infrastructure.
Looking at cities purely through the lens of technology, in terms of investment destination and knowledge economy, implies a failure to interpret the aspirations and socio-political relations of multiple stakeholders, with competing interests that are engaged in the shaping of Indian cities.
• Smart city and development disparity.
• Smart city and its impact on informal economy.
• Social exclusion and marginalization.
• Gender perspective of smart city.
• Smart cities and slums.