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Seamless information access enabled by mobile technology combined with realtime sensing is beginning to change the way citizens inhabit their cities. Around the globe, there is increasing evidence of smart city experiments and implementation through leadership at a city level or at a national level. The analysis of the real-time functioning of the cities using sensing techniques and data analytics is seen by city administrators as an effective strategy to achieve seamless flow within a city. India’s Smart Cities Mission is a step towards futureproofing its cities, an initiative that requires careful analysis of existing Smart City practices by other countries. India needs to adapt pertinent methodologies in terms of its governance of the mission, funding mechanism, business models for implementation, choosing the right smart city services and technology. One of India’s frequent reference points is its neighbor China, which has consistently seen far higher levels of urbanization and initiated smart cities pilot projects far ahead of India. China’s ‘One city one policy’ for all its 300 smart cities is a commendable approach. The National Smart City Joint Lab’s continued work on Chinese smart cities standardization with a guidebook for city leaders and a people-centric urbanization approach are positive values for India to adapt. This paper compares the smart cities timelines of the two countries and analyses China’s initiatives and responses to roadblocks to provide valuable insight to the local bodies, urban planners and designers in India.
This document has been peer reviewed.