The time has come to take urbanization as an opportunity and not as a challenge. We need to evolve qualitative and quantitative index based urban solutions, which will result in holistic growth leading to more jobs and technological breakthroughs, innovation, thus enabling, the Prime Minister’s vision of creating 100 smart cities and providing housing for all with amenities and utilities along with quality of life. – GRK Reddy, Chairman and Managing Director, MARG Group

A rigorous, concerted, young and collaborative effort will be required by all the stakeholders for the development of smart cities”- was the message which came from the Symposium on Sustainable Smart Cities organized on the 16th of March 2015, Monday at the India Habitat Center, New Delhi. Welcoming all guests were Mr. GRK Reddy (President of the Symposium), Shri Uday Gadkari, Presiden, COA, Shri Prakash Deshmukh, President, 11A who participated throughout the conference.

The Symposium was inaugurated by the Minister of Urban Development, Shri Venkaiah Naidu. The opening session was also attended by the Minister of State for Science and Technology Shri Y S Chowdary who spoke on the theme of’Self Contain, Self Sustain’.

The Symposium coincided with the launch of a book on Smart Cities named ‘Smart and Human- Building Cities of Wisdom’. The book, published by Harper Collins, has been authored by Mr. GRK Reddy and Srijan Pal Singh. Introducing the World’s Largest Painting on the theme of Smart Cities made in January at MARG Institute of Design and Architecture Swarnabhoomi (MIDAS) at MARG Swarnabhoomi, during the 57th Annual Convention of National Association of Students of

Architecture (NASA), also emphasized on why youth centric models of transformation cities is needed.

The afternoon session of the Symposium was attended by former President of India, Dr. APJ Abdul Kalam. He formulated an ’11-point charter for Smart Habitations” and advocated for a Smart Habitation Commission. He spoke abouf the need for habitations where rural and urban divide is reduced. Dr. Kalam also launched the special mobile application to measure the quality of urban life index from users. The evening session of the Symposium was attended by Founder of the Art of Living, Sri Sri Ravishankar. He emphasized on incorporating the idea of ‘Vasudhaiva Kutumbakam- Whole World is One Family’ into the development of Smart City.

The Symposium included several other experts who presented their views. They included Mr. Uday Gadkari, Mr. Getamber Anand, Mr. Prakash Deshmukh, Ms. Juliet Jiang, Dr. Arbind Prasad, Mr. Ranbir Saran Das, Mr. Akhtar Chauhan, Mr. Jaijit Bhattacharya, Mr. Satish Magar, Prof. Prasanna Desai, Dr. Ashok Patil, Mr. Anurag Batra, Mr. Vijay Sharma and Mr. DK Hari. The Symposium was organized by Habcraft and MARG Swarnabhoomi. The partner organizations were Council of Architecture (COA), Indian Institute of Architects (IIA), CREDAI and FICCI.

To take the Smart Cities initiative further, MIDAS Institute of Smart City Planning and Management (MISPM, www.mispm.in) is starting a PG Diploma course on Smart City Planning. Inspired by numerous case studies and sustainable planning experiences across the world, the research team has collated urban analytics developed a suitable program to suit the Indian context under the banner of MISPM. The program is titled PG Diploma in Smart City Planning and Management.