Technology has changed the way we negotiate the world. It has changed the way we commute, eat, consume information, and even socialise. In Indian cities, a growing ecosystem of start-ups are developing solutions aimed at more efficiently managing various aspects of our everyday lives., including water, waste, energy, and mobility. At present, most of our cities are struggling to stretch limited budgets in order to provide for basic services. So, how can they leverage this growth in innovative technologies in order to arrive at a win-win solution for all stakeholders?
- Inspiring Innovation for Urban Transformation
India’s urban population is expected to double in the next two years, but 75% of the infrastructure required to serve this population is yet to be built. City officials across India are having to find alternative, innovative ways to stretch their limited budgets to meet infrastructure and service provision needs. To aid this, there is a growing ecosystem of domestic startups that are developing solutions aimed at managing urban water, waste, energy and mobility. Solutions these companies offer range from supply-side efficiencies such as better materials or efficient equipment, to demand-side management like monitoring and IT-enabled solutions. This session will bring together government officials, private investors and other stakeholders to discuss varied pathways to use innovation to accelerate sustainability, resource efficiency and service delivery in cities, particularly through new technologies like AI and Internet of Things, and alternate methods to overcome public process hurdles towards accessing markets and scaling. The session will also discuss ways in which to ensure that solutions that are coming from the innovation ecosystem are inclusive.
Part 1: Unlocking Finance for Sustainable Infrastructure
This session will be a technical discussion on infrastructure financing, including challenges and opportunities around banking, innovative financing schemes, donors, venture capitalists and will be geared towards TheCityFix/labs cohort.
Part 2: Conversations with Smart Cities
- Inclusion and Equity in the Transition to Zero Carbon Buildings in India
How will Indian cities prepare for national and global calls for action on carbon neutral buildings, low emissions free transportation systems, reduced water consumption and efficient resource use? Some Indian cities have recognized the benefits of sustainability and are changing the ways in which they plan, build and retrofit and incentivize low carbon technologies. However, policies, schemes, financing, incentives and awareness about low C technologies for buildings sector continue to target high income consumers. A recent WRI report described the adoption of rooftop solar only by the very rich. Information on energy efficient appliances (barring LEDs) and their adoption has not touched low income groups. How can low C technologies in the built environment, contributing eventually to carbon neutral buildings, enter poor and low-income homes? Can the transition be an opportunity to build resilience of poor and vulnerable communities?
Then there is the issue of costs associated with the transition to low carbon or zero carbon buildings which can be better absorbed by some households and businesses than poor vulnerable communities. Cities must engage vulnerable communities in the dialogue on sustainable buildings, protecting them from the ‘’burden’’ of the transition and making them the beneficiaries.
Taking the case of carbon neutral/zero carbon buildings, the panel will deliberate, the role of all stakeholders in rising up to the challenge of restructuring, reorganizing and rethinking ways in which we build, ensuring that the transition benefits all and doesn’t adversely impact the poor and vulnerable communities.
- Last Mile Connectivity
Part 1: What are commuters looking for and how can cities provide for it?
Commuting preferences are based on different parameters. Travel time, cost, ease of access to metro, safety and security are a few factors. The STAMP program has always looked at enabling multimodal commuting with the metro as the central spine- understanding the needs of the commuters and how these modal choices are made becomes the foundation to shape this strategy. To understand this better, the STAMP survey has been conducted with metro commuters over multiple stations across 2 cities and the findings will be presented in this session and form a background for the panel discussion. The findings of the survey will help shed some light on the way commuters structure their decisions and the finer nuances of commuting challenges being faced. The discussions in the light of the learnings with city agencies and mobility solution providers, will help highlight insights on how integrated city transportation services can be modeled so that they provide for commuting needs of everyone.
Part 2: Pitch session for Kochi Data Innovation Challenge finalists.