The Road to the Top: How the City of Jaipur Finished in the Top 3 of the India Smart Cities Challenge

By Sanjay Sridhar, C40 Regional Director for South and West Asia
Note: This post originally appeared on the Huffington Post

In June of 2015, India’s Prime Minister Narendra Modi launched the Smart Cities Challenge, a competition amongst Indian cities designed to accelerate and inspire more sustainable, citizen centric and effective urban development. The Ministry of Urban Development, which has been working with official knowledge partner Bloomberg Philanthropies on the Challenge, recently announced the first set of winning cities. C40 member city Jaipur was among the top finishers.

As Strategic Adviser to Jaipur Municipal Corporation in the preparation of its Smart City application, I had a front row seat to Jaipur’s journey to the top of the competition. Here is my take on what made it happen.

Jaipur, capital city of the northwestern state of Rajasthan, is part of the ‘Golden Triangle’ – comprised of Delhi, Agra and Jaipur – one of the most visited tourist destinations in India. The city’s economy grew at a rate of 12% between 2011-2014, compared to the national average of 7%. This impressive growth has made the city one of the most dynamic in India, but progress towards becoming a global city inevitably creates challenges.

Tourism and Heritage, the city’s primary revenue generator, has been adversely affected by deteriorating air quality, unhygienic conditions of streets and neighborhoods often visited by tourists, and unsafe walking environments. The real-estate boom has also spurred building growth in the walled city of Jaipur that was not consistent with the traditional built form, thus eroding the built heritage and cultural ethos of the city.

Fortunately, the Smart Cities Challenge is helping Jaipur address these issues by taking a holistic approach to urban development. Crucially, the actions that will be introduced as part of the Challenge are based on a comprehensive survey of —> Read More