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Shaishav Dharia, Development Director – Palava, Lodha Group

Shaishav Dharia, Development Director – Palava, Lodha Group

By Shaishav Dharia

Cities around the world are facing unprecedented growth. By 2050, 70% of the world population will be living in cities. The scenario in emerging countries like India is no different. In the next 20 years, 30 Indians will leave rural India for urban cities, every minute. At this growth rate, India will need 500 new cities in the next two decades. Increasing urban population is lending a tremendous strain on the city infrastructure like transportation, healthcare, public safety, water and other citizen services. If there was ever a time to start planning and developing sustainable cities, that time is now.

To deliver high quality services to its citizens, cities need to be smart and efficient, driven by an integrated approach across city agencies.  With over 12 million residents, Mumbai is one of the largest cities in the world and home to a thriving economy. Strategically located at the junction of Navi Mumbai, Kalyan and Thane, we are building India’s next big planned city, Palava. In order to realize our vision of making this city the benchmark for livability across the world, it became essential to embed technology and infrastructure elements into the very design of the city as we built it. We had the unique advantage of not being burdened by legacy challenges of established cities.

Palava is amongst the largest ever private planned urban development in India and is envisioned to become one of the Top 50 places to live in the world.  Our strategic engagement with IBM will help us realize our vision of SmartCity, wherein we will provide an integrated approach to city management making Palava into an intelligent, interconnected city with resilient and responsive infrastructure.

The centralized data driven system providing a 360 degree view of various city departments will help city officials make quick and informed decisions to proactively manage issues that may affect the quality of life. Predictive maintenance will help increase life of the city’s assets. Public safety and emergency management being one of the key focus areas, the centralized hub will also enable real-time monitoring of incidents helping city officials take coordinated corrective actions in emergency situations. In addition, access to the data being collected will provide insights to a lot of small businesses function better and reduce the cost burden on citizens.

Dramatic increase in the ability of citizens to use smartphones and increasing social connect provides city leaders with rich source of insight and an additional channel for communication. To foster effective communication with city leaders, IBM is building a participative governance platform for Palava city residents. Using social and mobile technologies the platform will enable citizens to, effectively communicate with city leaders, provide feedback and report on issues concerning them. Such a platform also provides city leaders with rich source of information to take faster decisions and deliver better services.

Technology will be a key enabler for cities to become smarter, safer and more efficient. Our partnership with IBM will help us build India’s signature city and deliver high quality of urban life. Initiatives like Palava will pave the way for development of next generation smart and sustainable cities in the future.

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