Urenio Watch Watch: Intelligent Cities / Smart Cities

Human rights aspects in India’ s Smart City Mission: a study by HLRN, India

India’ s Smart Cities Mission aims to create 100 ‘˜smart cities’ in the country by the year 2020. The Mission, one of the most publicized among the many slogan-led schemes of the National Democratic Alliance government, is characterized by ambitious goals, large planned investments, multiple private sector actors, and new governance structures induced by the corporatization of cities. As the Mission completed two years in June 2017, the Housing and Land Rights Network of India (HLRN) examines how it has unfolded and what exactly it means for India’ s urban population, especially for the majority of city inhabitants ‘” the ones who make cities and keep them functioning.

More particularly, HLRN in this report undertakes a human rights review of the process and the guidelines of the Smart Cities Mission as well as of the 60 selected Smart City Proposals. The authors find that though the rhetoric of the Smart Cities Mission is one of resource efficiency and inclusion, none of the images seem to portray mixed-income neighbourhoods, social housing, street vendors, women’ s and children’ s security, and integrated development paradigms.

The report is divided into four sections, each of which attempts to answer a question:

  1. What is the Smart Cities Mission?
  2. What is the focus of the Smart City Proposals, particularly on the urban poor and on providing housing for low income groups?
  3. What are the major human rights concerns and challenges related to the Smart Cities Mission?
  4. What could the government do to ensure that the Smart Cities Mission actually improves living conditions and guarantees the human rights of all?

Access the report here in the “Research Reports’ section here.