By: Pranav Chandrasekaran


Introduction – by Ramesh Raskar, Associate Professor Media Arts and Sciences, Head of the Camera Culture Group

As we consider the future of the planet, it’s clear that citizens will play an increasingly important role and having as many smart citizens as possible will be critical.  We therefore have an obligation to build a future of bottom-up co-innovation where we work together internationally to tackle the most pressing problems, giving more people access to technology and resources needed to affect change. This culture of innovation and future of the smart citizen will have huge impact worldwide and particularly in the emerging world where we see that citizens become smart and wired before the local infrastructure catches up with them. With access to smart phones, the Internet of Things, big data and the cloud, more and more people are becoming tech-savvy, and this future is quickly becoming a reality.   A top down creation of smart citizens by governments worldwide can be accelerated by leveraging this bottom-up process.

How to Make a Smart City? The Indian Context by Pranav Chandrasekaran addresses these ideas and gives the reader insight into cities in India using such smart citizen initiatives. This context provides a framework to move forward toward a new digital future where all are empowered to create real and impactful change.

-Ramesh Raskar


How to Make a City Smart?
The Indian Context

By: Pranav Chandrasekaran

(Read the full thesis here: How to Make a City Smart3– Index Below)


1. What are the problems facing our cities and urban areas today?

2. What is a Smart City

2.1 The Anatomy of a City

2.2 The Smart City Paradigm

3. Smart Cities – The Indian Government’s Perspective

4. Nashik Government Perspective

5. The Creation of Smart Citizens

5.1 What is a Smart Citizen?

5.2 Smart Cities and Smart Citizens

6. The Kumbhathon Experience

6.1 What is a Kumbhathon

6.2 My experiences at the Nashik Kumbhathon

6.2.1 Crowdsteering

6.2.2 Meditracker

6.2.3 All Shops Online

7. Learnings and An Approach to Developing a Smart City

8. Recommendations for the Genesis of Smart Cities

1. What are the problems facing our cities and urban areas today?

Cities are the powerhouses of economic growth, with 80% of global GDP    being produced within them on just 2% of the earth’s land surface. Urban areas currently account for 60-80% of global energy consumption, 75% of carbon emissions, and more than 75% of the world’s natural resource consumption. This trend towards urbanization is resulting in an increased pressure on the environment with an 70-80 per cent of the global population expected to reside in urban areas by 2050. Some 60 per cent of the built environment required to meet the needs of the world’s urban population by 2050 still needs to be constructed. In order to tackle environmental issues, cities must be seen as the building blocks of sustainable development.1

Another issue is the quality of life that cities can provide with increasing population. A lot of the growth of cities is estimated to be driven by cities in rural areas. People in underdeveloped countries crowd urban centers because of the lack of infrastructure in rural areas. The cities of the developing world are not yet healthy, in part because their governments have been unable to provide the basic infrastructure that cities need. This problem results primarily from nonexistent or poor planning and a lack of good governance. Cities need to focus on sustainability and quality of life. The Smart City paradigm is a way to improve these characteristics.

Read more: How to Make a City Smart3


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How to Make a City Smart? The Indian Context

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