During 2016, 2017 and 2018, prominent institutions from Germany and India conducted several Indo-German workshops in India that focus on the potentials and the challenges of the concept of smart cities. These events have been coordinated by the Heidelberg University (Branch Office New Delhi), jointly with the Observer Research Foundation (ORF) and the School of Planning and Architecture (SPA New Delhi). The events were supported by the Friedrich Naumann Foundation for Freedom. Consequently, workshops have been organised in Aizawl, Bangalore, Bhubaneswar, Coimbatore, Kochi, New Delhi, New Town (Kolkata), Pune, Ranchi, Shimla and Kolkata, which will be continued in 2019.
In continuation of this initiative, a workshop on Smart Cities was held in Kochi on September 20, 2019 at Hotel Marriott, organised by the South Asia Institute of Heidelberg University (Branch Office New Delhi), ORF, SPA (New Delhi) and Impact and Policy Research Institute (IMPRI) in collaboration with Centre for Public Policy Research (CPPR).
The aim was to generate awareness and discourse creation on how cities irrespective of their physiological and political diversity can be governed and managed ‘smartly’. The overarching theme of the Smart City Mission is to address the urban challenges and foster sustainability – thus calling for interdisciplinary inputs and collective ideation. By bringing together experts from India and Germany, the workshop discussed the opportunities, benefits and challenges of Smart Cities. The participants of the workshop included urban planners, architects, engineers, academicians, environmental and civil society leaders, students, research scholars, representatives from government organisations and departments and media. In a working knowledge transferoriented environment that bridges science, policy and practice, the participants presented their work, initiatives and ideas, exchanged their views and approaches, and jointly sought for commonalities and innovative solutions.