India's Smart Cities Agenda

Grounding a global narrative

Public lecture hosted by LSE Cities

The Smart Cities Mission was launched in 2015, the same year as the New Urban Agenda adopted by the world community. One of the flagship ‘missions’ of the Indian government, it has stimulated renewed national and global interest in India’s urbanisation while also drawing criticism for its technological ambitions and seemingly slow progress. Shah presented the argument that, at its core, the smart city agenda is an innovative intervention strategy for making 100 exemplary cities ‘smart’ by disrupting the business-as-usual manner of planning, funding and governing that has become entrenched since the 1960’s, producing significant shortages in infrastructure and services.

As the Mission moved into its fourth year, a considerable body of evidence and experience has become available for study. Using data as well as participant observations gathered at the frontline of the Mission, Shah discussed the anticipated impact of the ‘smart cities’ in the context of India’s urbanisation trajectories and ways that India’s experience can inform the global narrative on sustainable development.

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    Jagan Shah

    Jagan Shah has 20 years of professional work experience in various aspects of urban development in India. He studied Architectural Design from School of Planning & Architecture (SPA), New Delhi and Architectural History & Theory from the University of Cincinnati and Columbia University, USA. He has served as the Director of Sushant School of Architecture, Gurgaon and has taught at the School of Planning & Architecture (SPA) from 1998 till 2006. From 2007 to 2010, he was the Chief Executive of Urban Space Consultants, providing consultancy in policy formulation, spatial planning, heritage conservation, transportation and livelihoods development, for clients such as Infrastructure Development Finance Company, Delhi Integrated Multi-Modal Transport System, Jaipur Virasat Foundation, Sir Ratan Tata Trust, India Foundation for the Arts and others.

    Ricky Burdett

    Ricky Burdett is Professor of Urban Studies at the London School of Economics (LSE), and director of LSE Cities and the Urban Age project. He is a member of the Mayor of London’s Cultural Leadership Board, and was chief advisor on Architecture and Urbanism for the London 2012 Olympics and architectural advisor to the Mayor of London from 2001 to 2006. He was director of the International Architecture Exhibition at the Venice Biennale in 2006. With Deyan Sudjic he is co-editor of The Endless City (2007) and Living in the Endless City (2011) and, with Philipp Rode Shaping Cities in an Urban Age (2018).