Friday, Oct 31, 2014

CEPT launches first ever course on ‘smart cities’

Express News Service | Ahmedabad | Posted: July 23, 2014 9:19 pm

Premier planning institute CEPT University has announced one of the first academic courses in ‘smart cities in India’, for the post-graduated students of architecture, planning, technology and management.

The announcement comes as Urban Development Minister Venkaiah Naidu on Wednesday said that the government is working on the concept of ‘smart city’ and the contours of implementing the project for developing100 such cities.

Under the mentorship of senior faculty Sejal Patel and Saswat Bandyopadhyay from the Faculty of Planning at CEPT; the course will entail visiting faculty inputs from UK and Europeon Union, by Ian Mell of University of Liverpool, UK and Francesca Soratrio and Andrew of University Cardiff, UK.

“In view of recent government announcement of ‘100 smart cities’ and USD 1.2 Billion (Rs 7600 crores), there is an excitement across the states and cities. However, the general understanding of ‘what is a smart city’ is not much known, nor there exists any trained manpower or expertise who could make a road map. This elective course is positioned in this context and attempts to expose the course participants with the global and regional discourses, policies and practices of Smart Urbanism and Cities across the regions including the issues of inclusiveness, feasibility and sustainability. The course will be delivered through a mix of interactive class room sessions, review of case studies, short talks and movies and participatory exploration,” said Bandyopadhyay.

Among some of the objectives in the course include concepts like ‘Understanding the concepts, discourses and practices of ‘smart cities” across the regions, critical reflections on inclusiveness’, ‘feasibility, sustainability of smart cities in the context of developing economies such as India’ and ‘How to develop parameters, criteria to evaluate and monitor the ‘smart cities” performance’.

Bandyopadhyay added, “We will also deliberate on the issue of integrating ‘urban poor’ in the smart cities which are a segment that are largely ignored. Another area we aim to look at feasibility of greenfield versus brownfield smart cities and whether new infrastructure for smart cities should be built or old cities should be refined, in the course. Since municipal finance is very poor in India, we will also study how local cost can be recovered in this scenario.”

He added that while the course is scheduled to be launched from 25th July, its announcement in the campus saw more than 120 university students apply for it for a batch intake of 40.

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