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Smart City Governance in India: Collaboration vs Competition

Authors: Deepti Prasad*, The University of Sydney, Tooran Alizadeh, The University of Sydney, Robyn Dowling, The University of Sydney
Topics: Urban Geography
Keywords: collaborative governance, competition, governance, smart cities, India
Session Type: Paper
Presentation File: No File Uploaded

Amid the speedy uptake of smart cities worldwide, there is a widening North-South divide; as smart cities of South and their governance are understudied. This is hugely concerning, considering the rate of urbanization and the proliferation of the smart cities initiatives in the Global South, including but not limited to India. In order to contribute to such a gap, the paper investigates the governance structure in place for smart city development in India. In particular, it focuses on the Indian State of Maharashtra, which is home to eight of the listed 100 smart cities, introduced by Government of India, as part of the Smart Cities Mission in 2015. The proposed smart cities in Maharashtra include the two cities of Pune and Solapur that are among the first 20 smart cities prioritized for implementation. The paper studies the governance of smart cities in Maharashtra by first) offering a critical policy analysis focused on the 'Smart City Proposal(s)' put forward, and second,) fieldwork case study investigation (interviews and site visits) focused on the two (shortlisted) cities of Pune and Solapur. The findings show the role of governance in smart cities in India due to (1) the composite hierarchy of governments, (2) the crowded urban policy environment, and (3) the conflicted role of the Special Purpose Vehicles (SPVs). The discussions shed light on the issues of shrink of power in local governments, and the absence of collaborative governance as significant challenges for smart city development in India.

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