Project Details

Smart Solutions Challenge and Inclusive Cities Awards

CLIENT/FUNDER: United Nations Resident Coordinator's Office






PROJECT LEAD:  Utsav Choudhury

The growth of India’s cities is fuelling the world’s largest urban transformation. India’s urban population is projected to increase from about a third of the total population to almost 40% by 2030 - that would mean 600 million people living in India’s urban centres. Moreover, the number of persons with disabilities living in cities, who now number roughly 8 million (or a third of all persons with disabilities in India) is set to increase. Persons living with disabilities, women and girls, the elderly and other vulnerable populations already face increased difficulties in accessing transport services, sanitation, health, education, and other public services. And these projections suggest increasing levels of stress on the existing overburdened infrastructure of Indian cities. As the pandemic has demonstrated, it has become ever more important to reimagine the nature and use of public spaces and infrastructure especially with accelerating digitalization and use of advanced ICT-enabled infrastructure and services, data-driven decisions, and operations for enhanced citizen services and quality of life. With cities implementing new projects and adopting new technologies, it is important to raise awareness and foster learning and knowledge sharing among planners, practitioners, and policymakers aligning with universal design principles and the immediate need for accessible, inclusive, safe, and resilient urban development through citizen-centric and participatory approaches. There is also a need to innovate and foster novel home-grown solutions and approaches through citizen participation, in much broader contexts for finding new ways to bridge the digital divide in urban development. With this context, NIUA and the UN in India has launched the ‘Smart Solutions Challenge and an Inclusive Cities Award’ under the aegis of the Ministry of Housing and Urban Affairs in India specifically addressing SDG 11.

Utsav Choudhury Team Leader

Monica Thakur Program Associate