16 Oct 2012
Developing Model Cities in India

Metropolis Initiative: ‘Integrated Strategic Planning and Public Private Partnerships’ in India

Metropolis, in partnership with the UN Global Compact Cities Programme (UNGCCP), recently launched a new initiative to support Indian cities to build public-private partnerships for sustainable urban growth and development.

With a set time span of two years, the joint Cities Programme – Metropolis Initiative titled Integrated Strategic Planning and Public-Private Partnerships was launched in a forum hosted by the National Institute of Urban Affairs (NIUA), India, from 26-27 July 2012 in New Delhi, India. The NIUA is a premier institute for research, training and information dissemination in urban development and management. Established in 1976, the Institute enjoys the support and commitment of the Ministry of Urban Development, Government of India, State Governments, urban and regional development authorities and other agencies concerned with urban issues.

The Initiative is of international importance but strategically particularly well positioned to be launched in India. Project Manager, Ms Mary Lewin from Metropolis and the Victorian Department of Planning and Community Development, says:

 “India is fast becoming one of the world’s economic powerhouses. Although its economic growth is very impressive, it must tackle the challenges of population growth, social disparities, environmental degradation and urbanisation. The ‘Integrated Strategic Planning and Public Private Partnerships’ project is part of a Metropolis strategy to engage with and support Indian cities in meeting the increasing demand for physical and social infrastructure and in raising the quality of life of people living below the poverty line, who are mostly concentrated in urban areas. The objective is to develop an integrated strategic planning model as a decision making and monitoring tool.”

The forum hosted by Professor Chetan Vaidya from NIUA, comprised participants from five different nations, namely, Australia, Brazil, France, Germany, and Iran and included representatives from organizations and state bodies like UN-Habitat, National Capital Region (NCR), National Capital Regional Planning Board (NCRPB), Ministry of Urban Development, Centre for Research in Sustainable Urban Development (TERI), ADB – Cities Development Initiative for Asia, Cities Alliance, CURE, Association of Municipalities and Development Authorities (AMDA), Administrative Staff College of India, International Society of City and Regional Planners (ISOCARP), Indian Institute of Public Administration, and KFW Bankengruppe. Regional representation included Delhi, Hyderabad, Kolkata, Faridabad, and Bangalore.

The country and organization representatives together with the Metropolis Team involving keynote speaker Professor Paul James (UNGCCP), Sunil Dubey (Metropolis India), and Christine Oakley (Victorian State Government) addressed the challenges to sustainable urban infrastructure development, and discussed possible mitigation measures to construct an integrated model for Bangalore and Mumbai, applying the ‘Circles of Sustainability’ approach. This approach suggests that planning should be understood holistically across an integrated series of domains – economics, ecology, politics and culture and, in its most developed form, offers an integrated method for deciding on the critical issues associated with responding to complex problems and then responding to them.

Supported by the Department of Planning and Community Development (DPCD), Victoria, the Integrated Strategic Planning and Public Private Partnerships Initiative in India aims to orient the tripartite partnership planning ‘Melbourne Model’, to a localised framework for Bangalore and Mumbai featuring Cross-domain, Participatory, Relational, Cross-Supported, and Standards-Oriented approaches, through interconnecting economic, ecological, political, and cultural dimensions, engaging stakeholder and community, identifying relationships between critical issues and indicators, using adequate quantification to identify conflict, and connecting emerging reporting and modelling standards like GRI, XBRL, AA10000, and DPSIR, respectively.

The forum included workshops aimed at developing locality-sensitive protocols, decision-making processes, and indicators for engaging and imparting training to Indian municipal authorities and state government agencies on how PPP projects work through Circles of Sustainability method to tackle urgent infrastructure needs. It also aimed to integrate local understanding of major issues with developed protocols. The key challenges identified included traffic congestion, sanitation, land and landfill scarcity, structures of state departments, weak urban finances, lack of clear accountability in the urban sector, and environmental pollution. These issues were further brainstormed and discussed with relevant case studies from participating countries, resulting in an outcome that acknowledged the crucial need for governance, capacity building and training, and engagement of civil society and political decision-makers through realistic indicators.

For more information see Metropolis Initiative India Progress Report 1