The ‘smart’ way of Integrated Planning

Sameer Sharma
09 May 2017

Make no little plans; they have no magic to stir men’s blood and probably themselves will not be realized. Make big plans; aim high in hope and work, remembering that a noble, logical diagram once recorded will never die, but long after we are gone will be a living thing, asserting itself with ever-growing insistence.

– Daniel Burnham

In the Smart City Challenge (competition) cities had to prepare their plans in the form of a Proposal . The Proposal was a template to be filled-in by all cities participating in the Challenge and was based on principles of integrated planning as applied to the context of Indian cities. The template was loose fit, light touch and allowed cities to define their own idea of a smart city, the pathway to ‘smartness’and manner of funding of projects. The cornerstone of the Proposal was ‘real’ citizen consultations.

Each city articulated its own model of Smart City in the Proposal such that it answered the question: What kind of Smart City did the citizens want and how did they plan to achieve it? The development of the Proposal started by assessing the present state of the city on 24 Smart City Features (attributes), which are given in Table 1. This established the baseline on the 24 Features and included key performance indicators connected to administrative (e.g. e-Gov) and operational efficiency (e.g. time taken to give building plans, property tax collection as a percentage of annual demand). This was largely based on a desk review of all the material available (e.g. city development plans, mobility plans).








Citizen participation


A smart city constantly adapts its strategies incorporating views of its citizens to bring maximum benefit for all. (Guideline 3.1.6)








Identity and culture

A Smart City has a unique identity, which distinguishes it from all other cities, based on some key aspect: its location or climate; its leading industry, its cultural heritage, its local culture or cuisine, or other factors.  This identity allows an easy answer to the question “Why in this city and not somewhere else?” A Smart City celebrates and promotes its unique identity and culture. (Guideline 3.1.7)



Economy and employment

A smart city has a robust and resilient economic base and growth strategy that creates large-scale employment and increases opportunities for the majority of its citizens. (Guideline 2.6 & 3.1.7 & 6.2)




A Smart City provides access to healthcare for all its citizens. (Guideline 2.4.10)




A Smart City offers schooling and educational opportunities for all children in the city  (Guideline 2.4.10)



Mixed use

A Smart City has different kinds of land uses in the same places; such as offices, housing, and shops, clustered together. (Guidelines 3.1.1 and 3.1.2)






A Smart City encourages development to be compact and dense, where buildings are ideally within a 10-minute walk of public transportation and are located close together to form concentrated neighborhoods and centers of activity around commerce and services.  (Guidelines 2.3 and 5.2)





Open spaces

A Smart City has sufficient and usable public open spaces, many of which are green, that promote exercise and outdoor recreation for all age groups. Public open spaces of a range of sizes are dispersed throughout the City so all citizens can have access. (Guidelines 3.1.4 & 6.2)



Housing and inclusiveness

A Smart City has sufficient housing for all income groups and promotes integration among social groups. (Guidelines 3.1.2)





Transportation & Mobility

A Smart City does not require an automobile to get around; distances are short, buildings are accessible from the sidewalk, and transit options are plentiful and attractive to people of all income levels. (Guidelines 3.1.5 & 6.2)








A Smart City’s roads are designed equally for pedestrians, cyclists and vehicles; and road safety and sidewalks are paramount to street design. Traffic signals are sufficient and traffic rules are enforced.  Shops, restaurants, building entrances and trees line the sidewalk to encourage walking and there is ample lighting so the pedestrian feels safe day and night. (Guidelines 3.1.3 & 6.2)



IT connectivity


A Smart City has a robust internet network allowing high-speed connections to all offices and dwellings as desired. (Guideline 6.2)




Intelligent government services

A Smart City enables easy interaction (including through online and telephone services) with its citizens, eliminating delays and frustrations in interactions with government. (Guidelines 2.4.7 & 3.1.6 & 5.1.4 & 6.2)
14 Energy supply A Smart City has reliable, 24/7 electricity supply with no delays in requested hookups. (Guideline 2.4)



Energy source

A Smart City has at least 10% of its electricity generated by renewables. (Guideline 6.2)






Water supply


A Smart City has a reliable, 24/7 supply of water that meets national and global health standards. (Guidelines 2.4 & 6.2)




Waste water management

A Smart City has advanced water management programs, including wastewater recycling, smart meters, rainwater harvesting, and green infrastructure to manage storm water runoff. (Guideline 6.2)



Water quality

A Smart City treats all of its sewage to prevent the polluting of water bodies and aquifers. (Guideline 2.4)



Air quality

A Smart City has air quality that always meets international safety standards. (Guideline 2.4.8)





Energy efficiency

A Smart City promotes state-of-the-art energy efficiency practices in buildings, street lights, and transit systems. (Guideline 6.2)



Underground electric wiring


A Smart City has an underground electric wiring system to reduce blackouts due to storms and eliminate unsightliness. (Guideline 6.2)





A Smart City has no open defecation, and a full supply of toilets based on the population. (Guidelines 2.4.3 & 6.2)



Waste management

A Smart City has a waste management system that removes household and commercial garbage, and disposes of it in an environmentally and economically sound manner. (Guidelines 2.4.3 & 6.2)




A Smart City has high levels of public safety, especially focused on women, children and the elderly; men and women of all ages feel safe on the streets at all hours. (Guideline 6.2)


Next, citizen consultations led to the determination of the level of aspirations of the city residents. These aspirations were mapped on the 24 City Features and sub-goals developed for each City Feature. The means to achieve the sub-goals consisted of three strategic elements – providing city-wide basic services, preparing area based developments and pan-city ‘smart solutions’. City-wide basic services (e.g. universal water supply, assured power supply, sewerage) were dovetailed with the complementary missions (e.g. AMRUT for universal water supply, Integrated Power Development Scheme for assured electric supply) while the ‘Areas’ and smart solutions were funded directly  under the Smart Cities Mission.

Figure 1. Inputs guiding the strategy for ABD

Area based development (ABD) means developing all features in an area and four inputs guided the development of strategy for ABDs. These are given in Figure 1. First, the ABD should be aligned to the sub-goals set during the citizen consultations and should lead to achievement of aspirations on the 24 City Features. Second, the strategy should be responsive to the SWOT matrix developed as part of the planning process. Third, the strategy should contain 18 place-making elements (essential) as prescribed in the Mission. Some of the essential elements were – at least 10 percent of the power coming from solar, waste water recycling and storm water reuse, pedestrian friendly pathways, rain water harvesting and smart metering.


Figure 2.  Inputs guiding the strategy for selection of pan-city solutions

Pan-city developments envisage application of selected smart solutions. A pan-city solution benefits the entire city. It focuses on a goal of the city and improves some aspect of city governance or infrastructure or public services. Such a use of IT enabled pan-city solutions permitted cities to leapfrog stages prescribed in conventional urban development in order to become ‘smart’. The way to develop projects containing smart solutions is given in Figure 2.

The Indian way of integrated planning was recognized by the American Planning Association (APA) and the City of Bhubaneswar (ranked first in the Challenge)  was awarded the Pierre L’Enfant International Planning Excellence Award (Box 1).

Sameer Sharma, PhD

(Author is a civil servant. Views are personal)

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