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People Power for Shaping Cities & Future

Published on 2018

Author: Madhura Joshi

India faces a wide range of urban challenges — from serious air pollution and poor local governance, to badly planned cities and a lack of decent housing. India’s Smart Cities Challenge, which has now selected 98 of the 100 cities that will receive funding, could go a long way in addressing these issues. According to Prime Minister Narendra Modi, there are five key instruments that make a “smart” city: the use of clean technologies, the use of information and communications technology (ICT), private sector involvement, citizen participation and smart governance. Citizen participation is one of Modi’s five key instruments, but this is an area where smart city pilots around the world have tended to perform least well on. While people are the implied beneficiaries of programs that aim to improve efficiency and reduce waste, they are rarely given a chance to participate in the design or delivery of smart city projects, which are usually implemented and managed by experts who have only a vague idea of the challenges that local communities face.

Engaging citizens is especially important in an Indian context because there have already been several striking examples of failed urban redevelopments?

But How you make citizen engaged in urban development process or neighborhood regeneration process?

Municipal governments across India need to make sure traditional channels for participation are in place and ensure citizens are consistently informed of activities in their neighborhood and are given the opportunity to have a say in it.

  • Developing websites & Mobile applications to give suggestion for Citizens

  • Organizing local are meeting for Public involvement by Government authorities.

  • Voting booth for the proposal of Neighborhood regenerations with Community.

  • Appointing NGO’s for gathering local surveys and suggestions for developing proposal.

  • Civic engagement in urban making policy by ‘Community Participation Law








Can the smart city plan succeed if government does not fully appreciate the relevance of People’s participation?


  • When Citizens are involved in the urban problems they take ownership of there urban issues in the neighborhood and give better suggestions also.

  • People’s participation is not only valuable as a core democratic participation but it also contributes to better Governance.

  • Community Participation Law – the creation of Area Meetings (Sabhas)

  • Recent efforts by Delhi government on the work mandate community involvement and show how the participation can be catalyzed through policy reforms.

  • In Kerala, Panchayat samiti reforms allocated new responsibilties to Local and control on 40% of budgets which is to be spent on Healthcare & Housing for Poor.

  • Institutionalize Platforms for Urban India through policy for People’s participation.

  • Availing these platforms to all citizens including poor for urban regeneration process.

  • Smartness encompasses not only technological transformation and policy action, but a community revolution.

  • By in- creasing the availability & transparency of communication layers and networks, which cover citizens’ transactions with each other, businesses and government, a smart city done property has enormous potential to increase a society’s levels of trust and participation. 

  • An effective model of community partnership and ownership of shelters.

  • hands together to manage and maintain the shelter houses besides volunteering for rescue and relief operations. 

  • Women in Indian villages can challenge patriarchy and discriminating gender roles if their participation in SOLAR ELECTRICITY projects, from planning, implementation to maintenance.

  • "Participation (should be) at all levels and not reduced to certain areas to make the most of these energy projects."

  • True inclusion of a stakeholder (women) from very beginning helps in getting them as change maker.


1.Chatarah K, (2015) People power , Ericsson Business Review, Issue 1, 2015 (Accessed: 05 March 2016)

2. Varshney & Heller, ‘So far from Smart – missing from India’s smart cities plan : citizens participation’, The Times of India, 08 December 2015 (pg.12)

3.Kumar H., Odisha Demonstrates Disaster Mitigation Through Community Participation, ENS Published: 15th January 2016

4. Engasser F & Saunders T (October 30,2015) ‘Is their a Role for citizens in India’s smart cities challenge?’, Fair observer (Accessed: 28 February 2016)

5. Ghosh S (February 2016) ‘Solar projects can empower India's women, reveals new study’, The times of India (pg.10)

6. Charles A (16 November 2015 ) , How can India make smart cities a reality?

Community Lead, World Economic Forum Monday

(Accessed: 12 February 2016)

7. Hariharan C (November 02, 2015) , Only public participation can make 'smart cities' a Search real success, IBN  (Accessed: 10 February 2016)

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