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How international SMART Cities can help India lead the way
Ankit Kamboj
22nd February 2016

India’s project to create 100 ‘SMART Cities’ can learn from a range of smaller projects that are already seeking to create some of the country’s most innovative developments.

Prime Minister Modi’s recent visits to the UK and Singapore marked a new milestone in the SMART City debate as he successfully gathered international support for the initiative although there remains an on-going debate as to the exact nature of these cities and how they can be delivered.

Developers are now embracing the SMART agenda and bringing forward projects that were establishing a new benchmark in urban living in India.

Visualisation of proposed Bhartiya City masterplan

As a practice we have been heavily involved in the global SMART agenda and those themes and ideas are becoming increasingly central in planning large scale developments in India.

We are finding a real appetite from innovative private developers to embrace the SMART City philosophy who are seeing beyond the rhetoric and really beginning to understand the opportunity that comes from creating developments that embrace and enhance communities.

The government in India have initiated the SMART city debate and put city planning on front pages of the newspaper and media – it’s the hot topic. This can only be good news as people from diverse backgrounds and interests begin to discuss what the future should hold for India’s rapidly expanding urban communities.

“Our approach to SMART Cities has always been to look beyond the technology debate and while technology can be the means, there should always be a focus on the people who live in cities and how technology can impact their day to day lives.”
Ankit Kamboj, Associate Director, Broadway Malyan

Broadway Malyan has been involved in developing a number of SMART City projects including the new city district Bandar Malaysia in Kuala Lumpur. However, it's important to note that the definition of a SMART City differs from country to country.

What a SMART City means in India is very different to what it means in London and Singapore as there are many urban and rural communities that are still struggling with making the necessary infrastructure requirements.

Our approach to SMART Cities has always been to look beyond the technology debate and while technology can be the means, there should always be a focus on the people who live in cities and how technology can impact their day to day lives.

Technology will have a part to play but it is important that we design better places so that neighbourhoods can develop and thrive whether that be through better working and learning environments, improved pedestrian connectivity, better designed open spaces for health and wellbeing or even promoting access to the arts.

Whether it is introducing cycle ways to security systems linked to mobile phones, the design of these new communities with their focus on sustainability and liveability means these are the grass roots projects that are happening now and that we believe are providing a blueprint for the Smart Cities of the future as much as the larger scale city planning.

Public plaza at the 125 acre Bhartiya City development in Bangalore, India

In India, Broadway Malyan is currently working on three SMART City district scale projects including a major residential development in the NCR region for telecoms company Bharti. A 50-acre mixed-use scheme in Bangalore called Emprasa SMART City was recently launched with the aspiration to create a start-up tech focussed community including flexible workplaces, lifestyle uses and accommodation for the working population.

The third key project is Bhartiya City, a 126-acre development near Hebbal in Bangalore. Spanning 50 hectares, it will provide a fully-integrated mix of residential, retail, hospitality and Special Economic Zone uses, as well school, healthcare and sports facilities, making it the first development of its kind in India. The City is designed to be highly sustainable, with residents living in close proximity to workplaces. The entire city will be accessible by foot or bicycle and feature links to major road networks as well as a potential future rail connection. Broadway Malyan designed Phases 1, 2 and 3 are currently under construction.

Broadway Malyan was appointed to support the client chairman’s - Mr Snehdeep Aggarwal - vision for an improved quality of life for residents in India with the delivery of an open, accessible and inspirational city development. The overall aspiration was the creation of a people focused community that brings joy and happiness to all through its innovative design.

Masterplan for Emprasa Smart City, a new community focused on innovation for Artha Real Estate Corporation Ltd