The Government of India announced its plan to build 100 smart cities and rejuvenate another 500 cities. Subsequently, Rs.980 billion for the development of the 100 cities, and Rs.480 billion for the upgrading of 500 others. By January 2018, 99 cities under the Smart City Mission were selected for the next evolution in urban infrastructure and planning. Cities in India have spent over $ 400 billion, on both capital-expenditure and operating-expenditure aspects of their infrastructure projects, over the past decade and a half.

There are around 1,700 cities in Asia with a population ranging from 150,000 to over a million, and based on existing projections 76 per cent of the world’s population will live in cities by the next decade, and five of the top mega-cities will be in Asia. In many countries today there are several challenges, the reason why sometimes these projects don’t work is because either on one hand the government is not ready or on the other the private sector is not willing to invest. For successful implementation both have to work in tandem, that’s the only way the hands will clap.

How can a city become a ‘smart city’? This is how Tel Aviv did it.
To be a smart city is to know your people, know what they want, and know what they need.

Smart cities, digital cities, virtual cities, connected cities. Are these just trendy buzzwords? Perhaps. But these types of cities are supported by the infrastructure that is more than bricks and mortar. These cities are smart (thoughtful, people-centric), digital (driven by data acquisition, measured, analysed and sometimes exchanged) and virtual (experiential). And, as a result, they are connected, creating more potential interactions between people and their place.

Tel Aviv is one of these cities. Undoubtedly the 2009 book Start-Up Nation: The Story of Israel’s Economic Miracle contributed to its reputation as a “non-stop city” with innovation clusters teeming with companies at the cutting edge of technology. However, Tel Aviv’s standing is not only built on commercial success — it has an internationally recognised local government. Winning first place in the 2014 World Smart City Awards not only boosted its profile on the international stage, but Tel Avivians, well, they actually have positive things to say about their local government. This was not always the case. Municipal leaders had to do something to change how the community perceived them.

In 2011, the municipality organised focus groups with residents, heard their complaints and listened to what they said they needed. The municipality realised it needed to change the way it engaged with citizens. A cultural shift was needed, an internal one, to deliver an intelligent and active municipality.

Tel Aviv, like Detroit, is an urban laboratory; a test-bed for city projects that combine public and private efforts, startups and university centers. As Israel’s leading business center, its main priorities are supporting high-tech companies and startups. Located in a geopolitically contentious region, challenges faced by Tel Aviv residents over the years have also driven a new wave of urban administration — emphasizing transparency, trust and local government led by residents.

Israeli companies excel in providing cutting edge technologies and enhance R&D services. Companies in India can benefit from the advanced Israel technology on Smart cities projects.

Relevant companies, interested to learn more on potential collaboration are invited to contact the Economic and Trade Department at the Israeli Consulate General in Bengaluru.

For further queries, contact: Kavitha Saravanan, Trade Officer, and Bengaluru.