Table of Contents
4........................................................ The Modern Day Architects
4........................................................ India’s Urban Burden
6........................................................ The Drivers of Change
6........................................................ The Role of Large Organizations
The world population has more than doubled in the last 50 years from
3.5 billion in 1960 to about 7 billion today. This is expected to continue.
According to the UN, this number is expected to reach a whopping 9.2
billion by 2050. But our resources are not following the same expansion
and inflation pattern. In fact if we continue to function the way we do
today, our future will be highly unsustainable. What we do today will be the
foundation of how our future will shape. Cities form the core of the holistic
This is where our future takes shape resting on the pillars of
economic growth given the bustling activities of more than half the world’s
population. But today cities are also home to our most pressing
environmental challenges. It is in our hands to help the cities become more
liveable, more competitive, and more sustainable.
For the first time in history, more than 50% of the world’s population
are living in urban areas. By 2030 this number will grow to 60%, and is
expected to reach almost 70% by 2050. Since 2007, the balance of
the world’s population has tipped from rural to urban. The number of
hypercities, or metacities (the UN’s term for urban centres of more
than 20m people) is growing, Tokyo, with its 35m people, is the largest;
others in the metacity club include Guangzhou, Seoul, Mexico City,
Delhi and Mumbai, with New York and São Paulo close behind. This grand
urbanization is increasing the complexity for urban development. There
is increasing pressure on our cities to deliver to this growing urbanization
in terms of infrastructure and resources. But mindless investment in the
growth and expansion of cities is not the solution. As our urban clusters are
growing by the minute, a persisting question before all of us is: how do we
make sure that the growth is sustainable?
Sustainability here includes good governance, environmental
efficiency and green technology. To ensure a balanced future we will
need to look at interlinked solutions across these three platforms and
together they will enable a promising future. Today skyscrapers account for
majority of a city’s energy consumption and greenhouse gas emissions.
They are a major roadblock in sustainable development. But they also
represent an enormous potential for energy savings and can be looked as an
important contributor to sustainable city development.
According to the “Liveable Cities”, an Economist Intelligent report, traffic
and transport are the main concerns of citizens. Nearly 60% people would
improve transport and roads before anything else to make their city less
stressful and a better place to live. More than one-half would pay more, in
tax or other ways, to get better roads and transit systems.
According to the same report, more than 58% people consider the jobs
market and cost of living top the list of factors considered important in
making a city an attractive place to live. Our future cities need to be more
efficient and sustainable i.e. minimize water usage, collect rainwater, and
reuse and recycle water, renewable energy sources to power our cities
making our dependency on fossil fuels negligible.
Our future cities need to become virtual living organisms - seeing,
hearing and thinking with the help of advanced technologies. The growing
population, shrinking spaces and budgets along with the expectation of a
higher quality of life, puts immense pressure on both infrastructure and
environment. This paper attempts to look at solutions that will drive
sustainable growth leading to smart future cities.
The Modern Day Architects
Great cities thrive when public policy, market forces and urban planning are
aligned. In simple words, good governance, healthy economy and a futuristic
approach. These three trends are the modern day architects defining what
and where we are today.
Talking of good governance, there is widespread acceptance of
democracy. Although how democracy can help our future cities
become ‘fit’ is a complex and subtle process. Not very surprisingly, urban
professionals strongly believe that it is largely up to their governments
to shoulder the responsibility for the services that will contribute to
smarter future cities. Yet citizens are not entirely happy with the way
municipal governments are run. The political scientist Larry Diamond has
written that “predatory, corrupt, wasteful, abusive, tyrannical, incompetent
governance is the bane of development.” However, this doesn’t mean
that democracy will automatically reduce corruption or produce
Responsible governance requires political will, effective institutions,
professional officials, and informed, alert, and aroused citizens. But
without democracy none of these things are possible, and the absence of
political and legal restraints will inevitably lead to disruptive forces posing a
great threat to future development. The principal conclusion of the Human
Development Report 2002, published by the United Nations Development
Program, notes that “democratic governance can trigger a virtuous cycle of
development – as political freedom empowers people to press for policies
that expand social and economic opportunities, and as open debates help
communities shape their priorities.”
A healthy democratic society thriving on policies of good governance
will automatically lead to a healthy economy. In fact, research has
shown that democracy not only helps people influence government
policy but aids development in even more fundamental ways by fostering
productive economic activities. Richard Roll and John R. Talbott, in a study
percent of the cross-country variation in per capita income growth among
developing countries (using date compiled for 1995-99) can be explained
by factors that are aspects of democracy, among them the presence of
strong property rights, political rights, civil liberties, and press freedom.
They also found that dramatic increases in per capita income in
developing countries have tended to follow democratic events (such as
the removal of a dictator), and that antidemocratic events have tended
to be followed by a reduction in economic growth. The importance of a
prosperous economy cannot be emphasized more for the development of
desired future cities.
A healthy economy in turn will foster better and smarter developmental
initiatives, both on the part of the government and private organizations.
Having an eye for the future and making space for upcoming needs will be
the key to developing sustainable cities today. Any development around
water, sanitation, energy, food, communications and mobility needs to be
done bearing the future requirements in mind.
India’s Urban Burden
The global urban population is expected to grow roughly 1.5% per year,
between 2025 and 2030. As cities are growing at an alarming pace, the
complexities around managing them and developing them are also
increasing. Adding to this situation is the recent economic downturn
and the need to tighten budgets. Urban policymakers are looking for
ways to share the burden of city management and future planning.
While the current metacities are independent social and economic units
with vast populations and huge economies, politically they still remain
inextricably connected to their hinterlands, dependent on national
budgets with no autonomy to make decisions on key aspects of city
economics and infrastructure. The quality of life of our future cities will
depend on efficient, transparent and robust growth in the following areas:
As our cities continue to grow, it is clear that in the future they will need
more autonomy in managing their affairs and achieving the goals set in the
above mentioned parameters. Today even global trade centres such as
London and New York are dependent on the state to sign the decrees
and chequebook on vital issues such as public transport, healthcare and
the environment. In the coming future, the tug-of-war policy will become
more fervent as civic authorities will try to meet the enormous demands of
increasing infrastructure. As more than half the world’s population lives in
cities and continues to grow, it becomes important that they have a bigger
say in national planning and resource policy and more power to implement
their own policies.
India has realised that the choices it makes to manage its
urbanization will have a lasting impact on its economic future. So while
traditionally India has always focused on rural development, it is now taking
corrective steps to manage its cities and plan better for
future cities. India sought to correct the lack of coordination between
urban planning and local governance through the adoption of the 74th
Constitutional Amendment Act (CAA) in 1992, which proposed that
Urban Local Bodies (ULBs) be established and strengthened in order to
improve the quality of the urban environment, provide services in a more
responsive and effective manner, and enhance participation of local
stakeholders in decision-making processes. The amendment has been
Urban Planning & Design
Urban Capacities & Resources
Empowered & Legitimate
QUALITY OF LIFE
described as -“…the first serious attempt to ensure stabilization of
democratic municipal government through constitutional provisions.”
(Savage and Dasgupta 2006: 43). Having said that, the urban local
bodies need to be both empowered and legitimate to meaningfully discharge
their role as local self-governments. The figure below (from the Annual
Survey of India’s City-Systems - 2013) illustrates how some leading
cities of India compare with their global counterparts in effective city
management owing to more autonomous city councils.
Indian cities have weak Mayors and Councils. The Mayor is directly
elected only in three out of the eleven cities surveyed (in the
illustration above) and has less than a five-year term in six cities. In
Bangalore, the term of the Mayor is just one year. Similarly, the Council
and the ULB handle very few critical functions. According to the ASICS
Survey- 2013, out of a select ten critical functions, all from Schedule XII to the
Constitution (Seventy-fourth) Amendment Act, 1992 and
recommendations of the Second Administrative Reforms
Commission (SARC), the best Indian city in this respect handles only five.
future cities are growing and shaping up, they will need more autonomy for
managing their affairs.
With its 1.2 billion-plus population in diverse corners of the country, India
is a story of rapid economic growth and the challenge is to ensure this
growth carries forward to benefit the coming generations. With rapidly
housing problems, waste disposal and shortage of electric power.
According to the United Nations, by 2025, Delhi (32.9 million) and Mumbai
(26.6 million) will be the second and fourth largest urban agglomerations
in the world.
India has been termed as a ‘reluctant urbaniser’. According to
McKinsey’s recent report, India’s urban awakening: Building inclusive cities,
sustaining economic growth, in the next 15-20 years, 590 million people
will live in cities, nearly twice the population of the United States today.
Ahd Blr Che Del Hyd Jpr Kpr Kol Mum Pun Sur NY Lon
3.2 1.9 4.1 2.2 2.6 4.5 4.0 4.3 3.8 3.8 3.2 9.4 9.3
Empowered and Legitimate Political Representation
Based on the same report, 70 percent of net new employment will be
generated in cities. This clearly emphasizes the urban movement of India.
Decentralization is seen as a panacea for a host of problems of
governance thrown up by economic globalization the world
over. The Government of India made the first formal attempt at
decentralization through the 73rd and 74th (Constitutional) Amendment
Acts of 1992. Jawaharlal Nehru Urban Renewal Mission (JNNURM) is a
unique project launched by the government of India in 2005, dedicated at the
redevelopment of India’s 65 cities. As India has traditionally primarily
focused on the development of rural areas, JNNURM is seen as an
earnest effort to address the unplanned growth of urban India.
JNNURM aims at creating ‘economically productive, efficient, equitable and
responsive Cities’ by a strategy of upgrading the social and economic
infrastructure in cities.
India is set to be the next superpower that held a steady growth rate during
the recent recession. But unplanned growth has taken a toll on urban India.
According to the ASICS-2013, Indian cities compare very poorly in the four
basic parameters of city-systems against their global counterparts.
As per the information in the JNNURM mission brochure as launched by
the authorities, cities and towns account for 30 percent of the country’s
population, contributing 50–55 percent of the gross domestic product
(GDP). The degrading conditions in cities have forced the government
to rethink their strategies to adhere to the socio-economic objectives of
The Drivers of Change
Our cities are growing at an ever-increasing speed and the
forces of change are being unleashed on several fronts - demographic,
environmental and economic. While some urban policymakers have
the resources to meet these challenges, others are struggling to cope
with the strains these pressures are placing on infrastructure and
services. There is an urgent need for major infrastructure investments in
the right direction. This becomes an even more challenging task in times of
restricted budgets. There is a need to acquire and adhere to new services
and business models to be able to take constructive steps towards our
The Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development
estimates that required investments for road, rail, telecommunication,
electricity and water infrastructure will reach $71 trillion worldwide by 2030,
which is about 3.5% of global GDP. Power and transportation will be the
key focus areas for future cities consuming a great share of this investment.
Looking at the finer nuances, the priorities of developed countries may
be different from those of emerging economies, but they share an
overall need for serious infrastructure investment. According to McKinsey’s
recent report, India’s urban awakening, in the coming 15-20 years in
India, 700-900 million square meters of commercial and
residential space needs to be built – or a new Chicago every year. Given the
challenges before our cities for future growth, the message for
policymakers is clear—they cannot do it alone.
While there is a need to make our cities more autonomous, the
role of individuals cannot be left out to make their cities attractive
places to live. Civic authorities need to harness the energies of all the
individuals and businesses flocking into their metropolises. There is a need to
foster the innovative spirit of social entrepreneurs who can step in with new
solutions to meet demands for services and infrastructure.
Social entrepreneurship will play a very important role in future cities.
Mumbai is an example of the same where civic services are minimal and the
gap between rich and poor enormous. Entrepreneurs have stepped in to
establish an ambulance service which operates on the principle that those
who can afford to pay for it do so.
Policymakers must increase their political clout by forming productive
partnerships with the private sector and civil society groups. Business and
government corporations must act as the vehicles of change. Today, there
is an increase in the social scrutiny and organizations must leverage this for
Role of Large Organizations
Role of large organizations.To coax and wrestle the best out of a city,
and contain its worst tendencies, urban policymakers must themselves
possess large measures of creativity and a wide innovative streak. The
people and business thriving in the urban centres will define the future of
resources around us are fast depleting. The advancements in
consumption level is predicted to grow by 56% from 630 quadrillion
Btu in 2010 to 820 quadrillion by 2040. What does this mean for global
organizations that operate on large footprints? Of the world’s 100 largest
entities, 51 are now corporations. For a sustainable future, it is critical for
these large organizations to lead the way. Businesses will have to rapidly
redesign value chains to increase efficiency / reduce consumption and
dependence on ‘constrained resources’. There is a lot that
organizations can do to create a ‘just, equitable and socially and ecologically
At Wipro, which has been part of Dow Jones Sustainability Index
consistently for 3 years and a sector leader in 2012, 83 percent of the
waste and 32 percent water is recycled. With 19 certified facilities and
over 5.7Mn sq. ft of built-up space, Wipro holds one of the largest
Corporate Portfolios of Green Buildings. Wipro has also been making Carbon
disclosures for the last 5 years and is part of the Carbon Disclosure
Leadership Index (CDLI) 2012 – comprising 51 companies from
Ahd Blr Che Del Hyd Jpr Kpr Kol Mum Pun Sur NYC Lon
Urban Planning and Design (UPD) 2.5 2.9 2.2 3.9 2.9 2.5 2.8 4.2 2.6 0.7 2.5 8.8 8.8
Urban Capacities and Resources (UCR) 2.5 0.9 2.2 2.9 2.1 2.4 1.8 2.0 2.7 2.6 2.4 9.9 8.1
Empowered And Legitimate Political
3.2 1.9 4.1 2.2 2.6 4.5 4.0 4.3 3.8 3.8 3.2 9.4 9.3
Transparency, Accountability and
1.5 3.0 2.9 1.2 4.4 1.2 3.1 2.9 3.3 3.2 1.4 8.9 8.1
City-wise ASICS scores on a scale of 0-10
across the world and the only one based in India. Wipro’s sustainability
initiatives are comprehensive and inclusive and cut across - Ecology,
Workplace and Employee Advocacy, Customer Stewardship, Supply Chain
and Public Regulation and Policy.
India is the country with highest withdrawal/usage of ground water. More
than ½ the water used comes from ground water in the country. It is
estimated that in the next decade, 50% of ground water blocks across
the country will be in a critical condition. Wipro for its planned offices has
embarked on projects that will reduce its Water footprint by 75% and
its 6 MW Solar project that is underway is the largest roof top project in
There are two motives for organizations to implement
• Conserving Energy
• Conserving Resources
• Reducing Pollution
• Reducing Waste
• Generating Revenue
• Cost-reducing Potential
Businesses need to acknowledge the fact that they do not exist in a vacuum
and are a part of the larger society around them. It is imperative for them
to act in the larger interest of society and integrate action within businesses.
Also the policymakers need to engage with stakeholders (govt, academia,
community) in a holistic manner.
What constitutes a city? The people who live in it, their economic
dependence, their social connections and their environmental
integration. So it is clear that the for developing successful, desirable and
sustainable future cities, the onus lies on each one of us to play our
A city... is the pulsating product of the human hand and mind, reflecting man’s
history, his struggle for freedom, his creativity, his genius—and his selfishness
and errors.— US planning pioneer Charles Abrams
Destinies of our Cities and Businesses are deeply interlinked. Let our future
cities tell the successful story of our journey into time.
Annual Survey of India’s City-Systems - 2013
Liveable Cities - Challenges and opportunities for policymakers: A report from the Economist Intelligence Unit
About the Author
Hariprasad Hegde, Global Head – Operations, Wipro Ltd. Hari is ‘Global Head – Operations’ of Wipro Ltd., a US$ 7.5 billion IT and Consulting Services
provider with its presence in 57 countries. Hari, in his present role, is responsible for all of the Supply-chain and Operations functions; this among others
includes the ‘Global Procurement Organization’ of the corporation and functions responsible for ‘Creation of New Infrastructure’. Wipro has built more than
16Mn sq. ft. of office space and holds one of the largest Corporate Portfolios of Green Buildings globally. Hari has contributed significantly in creation of these
facilities & campuses. He also built ‘Wipro Water’ – the water business of Wipro; scaled it up and led the business till 2012. He champions many sustainability
initiatives for Wipro.
Hari is on CII’s (Confederation of Indian Industry) Karnataka State and Southern Regional Council and leads its ‘Water Task Force’. He is on National Water
Council and on other consultative groups on Energy and Green Buildings. He was a core member of Planning Commission’s industry working group on ‘Land
& Water’ and ‘Green Manufacturing’ for the 12th ‘Five Year Plan’. He is on the Governing Council of ‘Electronic City Industrial Township Authority’ that runs
the newly formed autonomous industrial town; a recent progressive attempt by the Government at ‘local self-governance’.
Hari brings significant understanding and expertise on micro and macro issues of managing water in a rapidly urbanizing world and experience of dealing with
challenges related to large scale commercial development in Indian cities. Emerging trends and Future solutions in the area of sustainability, water, energy
and mobility are his areas of work and he has spoken at National and International forums on these subjects. Mr. Hegde received his degree in Mechanical
Engineering from Jawaharlal Nehru University; he resides in Bangalore.
About Wipro Council for Industry Research
The Wipro Council for Industry Research, comprised of domain and technology experts from the organization, aims to address the needs of customers by
specifically looking at innovative strategies that will help them gain competitive advantage in the market. The Council, in collaboration with leading academic
institutions and industry bodies, studies market trends to equip organizations with insights that facilitate their IT and business strategies. For more information
please visit www.wipro.com/insights/business-research/
About Wipro Ltd.
Wipro Ltd. (NYSE:WIT) is a leading Information Technology, Consulting and Outsourcing company that delivers solutions to enable its clients do business
better. Wipro delivers winning business outcomes through its deep industry experience and a 360 degree view of “Business through Technology” - helping
clients create successful and adaptive businesses. A company recognized globally for its comprehensive portfolio of services, a practitioner’s approach to
delivering innovation and an organization wide commitment to sustainability, Wipro has a workforce of 140,000 serving clients across 57 countries.
For more information, please visit www.wipro.com