Bhubaneswar is the capital of the state of Odisha in India. Known as “the Temple City”, it is an emerging hub for education, health and information technology, as well as a popular tourist destination. The city has a population of around 840,000 and has won a number of awards and titles – for example, it is:
- The only Tier-2 city in India where all of India’s top five companies have bases. These are Infosys, Wipro, Tata Consultancy Services, Tech Mahindra and Mindtree.
- Ranked as the third best place to do business in India by the World Bank.
- One of the planned four Information Technology Investment Regions in India.
- American Planning Association’s Pierre L'Enfant International Planning Excellence Award Winner 2017.
Bhubaneswar was selected as one of the first 20 Indian cities to be developed under Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s flagship Smart Cities Mission.
India’s Smart Cities Mission aims to create 100 smart cities in the country as a model for development and to bring improvements to nearby cities and towns. A total of ₹98,000 crore ($15 billion) has been approved by the Indian Cabinet for the development of 100 smart cities and the rejuvenation of 500 others over five years. Cities are selected through the Smart Cities Challenge, based on feasibility and potential social and economic impact. Bhubaneswar ranked first in the cities announced in January 2016.
A Citizen-Centered Approach
Like all of India’s smart cities, Bhubaneswar’s smart city strategy will be implemented through a Special Purpose Vehicle (SPV), headed by a CEO. The SPV will have the Bhubaneswar Municipal Corporation (BMC) – the urban local body which governs the city – as the leading partner, supported by a Smart City Advisory Forum, an inter-departmental task force, and a range of partnerships.
The strategy is focused on taking a citizen-centered approach, and feedback from local people has pinpointed ‘smart growth’ as the main priority. This includes ensuring sound economic development principles, as well as directing investment towards initiatives that promote “sustainability, inclusiveness, and livability”, and using technology to enable this.
“Following a citizen-centric strategy is the best approach for Bhubaneswar to successfully develop and implement smart city solutions to satisfy the needs of the residents and to strengthen the local economy. Without citizen engagement, risks are high that solutions fail and resources are wasted.”, recognizes Bart Gorynski, Managing Partner of bee smart city.
Seven Smart City Pillars
Bhubaneswar has identified seven smart city pillars which align the citizen’s aspirations and needs with city systems.
- Governance, including citizen participation and intelligent government services
- City planning and design
- Urban utilities (water, smart waste management, sanitation, and wastewater management, energy, and ICT / IT connectivity)
- Urban mobility, including street design and public transport
- Shelter, with a focus on inclusive housing
- Economic development, economy, and employment
- Social development, including identity and culture, education, health, open spaces, safety and security, and air quality
A Phased Approach
Stage one of Bhubaneswar’s smart city transformation is focused on mobility and waste management across the city, as well as developing the town center as a smart district.
Bhubaneswar aims to create a “user-friendly transport system that offers citizens a combination of flexibility, intelligence and sustainable alternative modes of travel.”
The city’s integrated land use and transportation strategy includes the construction of dedicated cycle tracks and pedestrian footpaths along key transportation corridors. Bhubaneswar also plans to transform its existing transportation networks and is now asking citizens for their feedback on priorities.
City leaders are keen to implement best practices from other cities globally and have highlighted initiatives such as Bogota’s TransMilenio Bus Rapid Transit (BRT) system, which has reduced travel times by 38% and noxious emissions by 40; London’s Barclays Cycle Hire scheme; the University of Washington’s U-PASS program; and Seattle’s E-Park online parking management system.
Like many growing cities, Bhubaneswar has increasing volumes of waste generated by a burgeoning population. It is looking at ways to better manage trash collection, recycling and sewage, as well as to reduce litter, improve access to public toilets and eliminate open defecation.
Again, the city is looking to learn from global best practices. Impressive initiatives it is considering adopting include the Ecosan Community Compost Toilet in Musiri (Tamil Nadu) which produces bio-gas for cooking, rich compost for agriculture and energy from toilet waste; Belgium’s smart waste scheme which flags when bins need emptying, optimizing collections; and the smart bins at Lotte Department Store in South Korea, which have seen seven daily waste collections cut to one. Citizens are being asked to vote now for the best scheme ideas.
Bhubaneswar is developing a pilot ‘smart district’ which implements smart city tools and solutions in a defined area. The district, voted for by the public, is 985 acres and brings together people, jobs and services and prioritizes walking, cycling and public transport. The aim is to make the district the heart of Bhubaneswar and a hub for people of all ages and incomes.
"The phased smart city approach of Bhubaneswar shows, how important the adaption of best practice smart city solutions from other cities and communities can be to build and strengthen the local ecosystem of smart city solutions. The sharing and transfer of proven solutions is often much more efficient than reinventing the wheel.”, says Dr. Alexander Gelsin, Managing Partner at bee smart city.
Smart City Initiatives
Although citizen voting is still ongoing around some programs, a number of smart city initiatives are already underway in Bhubaneswar.
- M-Office BMC - This app enables BMC authorities to resolve issues raised by citizens more easily. Officials are notified about issues/complaints in real time and can track them via the app until they are resolved.
- E-Municipality Services - This project will implement the Municipal e-Governance Application Software System in all Odisha’s urban local bodies (ULBs) and integrate it with existing software applications to improve citizen service delivery, transparency, accountability and responsiveness.
- My City My Pride - The My City My Pride (MCMP) app aims to better connect citizens with the city to tackle common problems related to health, sanitation, waste management and sewerage systems, etc. Through the mobile app and website, citizens can track the status of their complaints and learn about other issues in the area.
Lessons Learned Report: Indian Cities
This city portrait has been initially published in the "Lessons Learned Report: Indian Cities", published by EBZ Business School and bee smart city. The Lessons Learned Report considers the Indian smart cities market from a real estate point of view, providing lessons learned by Indian market professionals. Register here to download the full report:
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