Plan

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Regional Transformation

As a destination city, Visakhapatnam has a lot to offer: beautiful beaches, friendly people and a robust economy. With a great natural harbour, Vizag is a natural hub for defence, shipping, trade, and manufacturing. The division of Andhra Pradesh into two states has given additional impetus to an already vibrant economic growth trend in Vizag. The advantages of living in Vizag as opposed to other knowledge industry capitals have not been lost on India’s young professionals, who appreciate the unspoiled natural environment, affordable housing and laid-back lifestyle on offer. Vizag, with its increasingly diverse economy and proven leadership team, is poised to grow. The challenge for Vizag will be to realize its ambitious economic growth goals while preserving and enhancing liveability for the benefit of local citizens.

The Smart City Framework Plan lays the groundwork for the development of Visakhapatnam from a 20th century port city into an integrated 21st century city-region. Each of the four major centres of Visakhapatnam Metropolitan Region (VMR) will develop its own distinct urban character:

  1. The city centre will raise its profile as the business and cultural centre of the region by carrying out signature development projects in the Central Business District, along the beach Road and at Old Town.
  1. The southern industrial area will develop of smaller, mixed-use urban sub-centres that offer jobs-housing balance and improved living conditions for the local workforce.
  1. Madhurawada and Rushikonda will emerge as high-end knowledge industry clusters that offer world-class educational, recreational and tourism facilities.
  1. Vizag’s unique selling point — its coastline — will be developed as a set of distinct recreational, ecological and livelihood destinations.

New growth areas within all four centres will locate housing near jobs, preserve ecological assets, and minimize natural hazard risk. Binding the centres into a coherent regional whole will be smart transport, water and energy infrastructure that ensures smooth and timely flows of people and resources throughout the VMR. ICT innovations will allow infrastructure managers to anticipate stress points, take corrective action and enhance system performance. Citizens in Smart Vizag will also gain visibility into infrastructure systems and be able to participate in decisions about future improvements.

By embracing Green Living and Smart Business, Visakhapatnam Metro Region will become South and Southeast Asia’s Clean Commerce Capital for the 21st century.

Urban Development Framework

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VUDA projections for the Greater Visakhapatnam Municipal Corporation and the Visakhapatnam Metropolitan Region (VUDA planning area) depict a region that will slowly expand to 6.1 million people by 2021.

The Average Annual Growth Rate (AAGR) from 2001 to 2011 is only 1.34%. Based on an AAGR of 2%, the population figure will rise to 7.56 million in 2030. More than half of the total regional population will still live in GVMC.

Table 1.1. Population of VMR, 2016-2030

Area 2001 2011 2021 2030
GVMC area 2,200,000 2,797,100 3,195,200 4,169,000
Other VMR 2,000,000 2,542,900 2,904,800 3,395,674
Total VMR 4,200,000 5,340,000 6,100,000 7,564,674

Source: GVMC, VUDA 2006; Census of India 2001, 2011

GVMC = Greater Visakhapatnam Municipal Corporation

VMR = Visakhapatnam Metropolitan Region

The average household size in the planning area, according to the 2011 census, was 3.91 persons. The following table breaks population down into households during the planning period.

The five-year period between 2016 and 2021 is treated separately from the ten-year period between 2021 and 2030 (inclusive).

Table 1.2. Household Projections, 2016-2030

Area Households 2021 Households 2030 Change in HH 2016-2021 Change in HH 2021-2030
GVMC area 817,187 1,066,240 51,740 249,053
Other VMR 742,916 868,459 47,032 125,543
Total VMR 1,560,102 1,934,699 98,772 374,597

Source: VUDA; AECOM, 2016

Housing

VUDA projections for the Greater Visakhapatnam Municipal Corporation and the Visakhapatnam Metropolitan Region (VUDA planning area) depict a region that will slowly expand to 6.1 million people by 2021.

The Average Annual Growth Rate (AAGR) from 2001 to 2011 is only 1.34%. Based on an AAGR of 2%, the population will rise to 7.56 million in 2030. More than half of the total regional population will still live in GVMC.

Table 1.3. Housing Needs Projection VMR, 2016-2030

Area Additional HH 2016-2021 Overcrowded Households 2016 Total DUs Required 2021 Additional HH 2021-2030 Total DUs Required 2030
GVMC households 51,740 25,097 76,837 249,053 325,890
Other VMR households 47,032 10,756 57,788 125,543 183,331
Total households 98,772 35,853 134,625 374,597 509,222

Source: AECOM 2016 based on Government of India census data

In addition to the new households, existing households living in overcrowded conditions are in desperate need of new housing. UN-Habitat’s work in slum housing indicates that approximately 50,000 households in existing slums in Vizag required new housing in 2006. Since then, 14,000 units have been delivered through low-income housing programs. For the remaining 35,000, housing solutions are still needed. This is a conservative estimate, as additional households have surely migrated to and settled in informal areas in the intervening years. The total number of required dwelling units during the planning period is about 509,000.

The expanding city should provide housing solutions for all of these households. The type, size, and character of the housing solutions will vary with the buying power and individual preferences of the household, among other factors. Most households will find housing through existing market mechanisms. Even for low-income households, it is not necessary for GVMC or any public entity to construct housing for all of the households; rather, satisfying housing need for the society as a whole is about enabling the provision by many different actors (most of them private sector) of a broad range of housing solutions, from apartments to free-standing houses to serviced residential land plots.

Densification Potential

Densification of existing urban areas presents opportunities to fully utilize existing infrastructure, and is therefore generally considered more economically efficient than greenfield development at the urban periphery. This section looks at the potential for densifying VMR’s existing urban fabric in order to absorb a share of the future population and household growth described above.

The existing urban centres around VMR have generally been developed to a density that is appropriate for the location and size of the city. The prevalent mid-rise, party-wall construction type (5-8 stories) has a number of attributes:

  • it is relatively compact, with a corresponding small carbon footprint;
  • it is human scale, and provides a physical framework for the creation of walkable streets and public open spaces;
  • it has parcel sizes that are small enough to provide some diversity of urban form and building design, which adds to the character and attractiveness of the public realm.
  • it sits comfortably within the green ridges that separate Vizag’s urban centres into a series of urban “rooms,” many of which face the sea.

For these reasons, redeveloping existing neighbourhoods in Vizag to a higher density is generally not advised. Razing whole localities of mid-rise buildings and replacing them with high-rise buildings will not, in most cases, yield a higher quality urban environment. Moreover, mid-rise, party-wall development is often built at a similar density to high-rise development, given the need to locate the high-rise buildings farther from each other.

This does not preclude the redevelopment of some smaller localities within the city to a higher density than currently exists in Visakhapatnam. The revitalization of the central business district, which is identified as a key project in the Vision Statement, could potentially include some high-rise development. High-rise development may be appropriate if the future CBD sees an increase in explicit financial services functions concurrent with the strengthening of Vizag’s logistics sector. The CBD is one of a number of nodes within the existing fabric of the city centre that would be an appropriate location for moderate densification using a mid-rise development model (see Settlement Typologies below).

Other sites with potential for densification are existing vacant parcels within the urbanized area. There are 2,740 vacant parcels with a total area of 534 acres scattered around the city, even in areas with high land values, such as those along R.K. Beach Road. These parcels should be prioritized for new development. Infill development using such parcels should be privileged over greenfield development outside of the existing urbanized area. The land use proposals in the Smart City Master Plan will support and target an infill development strategy.

Figure 1.1 Regional map of emerging economic character zones

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The team observed emerging economic character zones along the coastline that could be enhanced and reinforced in order to optimize advantageous synergies between similar industries, avoid land use conflicts, and emphasize individual community identities. Additionally, this strategy can help encourage appropriate investments in infrastructure services. Systems of liveability are also provided in the most suitable locations. Overall, the team observed patterns supporting four economic character zones following the coastline, from south to north. The Industrial/Manufacturing Hub links planned and existing Ports and SEZ locations south of Vizag to strengthen production and export potential. The Commercial Hub represents the heart of the GVMC, and features the financial and support services necessary to assist key market sectors. This area will feature the urban retrofits needed to enhance liveability and productivity within central Vizag. The Knowledge/IT Hub builds on the emerging “Health City” and “IT City” north of Vizag. The evolution and expansion of these target areas should be planned in concert with strategic enhancements to the beach corridor. The Aerotropolis represents the most northern zone, and is conceived around the proposed greenfield airport site near Bhogapuram.

This critical infrastructure and associated development must be leveraged, in order to drive the logistics and tourism industries, and to provide the social amenities needed by the northern communities. These character zones should overlap, reinforce each other, and become more nuanced over time. However, initially, they will need help establishing a broad spatial economic framework that informs infrastructure needs and opportunities that support green living and smart business.

The Integration of the Growth framework is based upon the fundamental alignment of its Development, Water and Ecological components. These three interdependent systems each have a hierarchical structure with complimentary elements. Connected through mobility, energy, water and social infrastructures, these structures act as a platform for Smart City policies, programs and projects.

Figure 1.2 Integrated framework for development

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Challenges to address

Additional socio-economic, spatial, and environmental challenges inform the proposed urban development framework. Insights from the Task 2 representative household survey have guided the tone for interventions as part of the Smart City Master Plan and Sector-Specific Projects.

Survey findings verify many of citizens’ concerns with quality and quantity of access to water, sewerage, energy, transit options, and a safe public realm. Field observation by the AECOM consortium team confirms these findings.

Figure 1.3 Regional map of water bodies, saturated soils, and flood zones

Another challenge is the current pattern of urbanization, and its conflicts with the existing water system, topography, and ecology. The Visakhapatnam regional study area includes greater Visakhapatnam and Vizianagaram, which are more intensely developed and connected, and lack the agricultural productivity of the diffused network of smaller towns, villages, industrial estates and agriculture that are also part of the greater regional study area. Agricultural land along transit and economic corridors has been the preferred land type for development in the recent past. Retrofitting dilapidated buildings/infilling vacant and reserved land within previously developed areas has been a less popular development option.

This pattern of urbanization has occurred at times in conflict with the existing water systems, topography, and ecology, leading to erosion and increasing public health risks, such as flooding and landslides, ground and surface water pollution, and human settlement in areas with saturated, poorly-draining soils.

Download Urban Development Framework

ICT and Integrated Urban Management

In the information age, businesses cannot succeed without effective information sharing between employees, departments and customers. This is true for governments as well—operating in isolation, governments cannot deliver efficient protections and value-added services to citizens. The effectiveness of government services depends directly on the quality of their interaction with citizens, business partners, and employees in the context of agency and business processes.

The process of implementing a smarter city must be considered as the process of combining technology into the development process for starting, growing, and transforming the city as time progresses. Initiatives should also look at improving the efficiency and efficacy of city operations.

A city should go beyond instrumentation, and be an interconnected and intelligent place by integrating different service areas, such as energy, water, transportation, public safety, education, health care, etc. Information and communications technology (ICT) can help citizens, governments, utilities, businesses, and organizations address water issues like aging infrastructure, efficiency, accountability, and governance. ICT solutions are designed to enhance infrastructure visibility, and to deliver an advanced level of situational awareness, event and incident management, informed decision-making, and stakeholder collaboration.

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Mobility

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As Visakhapatnam expands from a core city into a polycentric metropolitan area, providing alternative connections among various employment and residential sub-centres is becoming increasingly important. From the perspective of the broader VUDA Metropolitan Region, additional mass transit lines are required to link the multiple existing and new subcentres, thereby facilitating the flow of goods and people among employment, service and residential areas. In the context of this ambitious transport service expansion, intelligent transport systems can help improve the efficiency of existing works as well as enable future improvement plans to achieve higher benefit-cost ratios.

First, ICT can be used to upgrade the two existing BRT lines. Second, real time vehicle tracking systems and signal prioritization can be integrated into plans for new mass transit lines, including the MRT. Third, major arterial roads in the city centre can be progressively redeveloped over time as technology-enhanced multimodal corridors. Finally, Visakhapatnam can take advantage of Andhra Pradesh’s electricity surplus to set a national standard for electrification of transport of across all modes.

Water

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GVMC is currently implementing a phased capital improvement program that will increase the supply of water and the share of the city served by piped sewerage. In the context of this large-scale service expansion, smart approaches to service delivery can help improve the efficiency of existing works as well as enable improvement plans to achieve higher benefit-cost ratios. First, ICT can improve the visibility into the system so that system managers can track water flows and make adjustments to bring supply in line with demand. This visibility extends to customers, who will have increased access to information about service quality, coverage, cost and planned improvements.

Second, increased storage can be used to increase the total capacity of the system at a relatively low cost. Finally, concessions can be used to deliver and operate distributed water and sewerage systems in satellite towns at the periphery of GVMC.

Energy

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Too often the energy sector is thought of as segregated infrastructure that serves customers independently of other urban systems. In reality all urban systems are energy systems of one kind or another and either directly, or indirectly effect the conversion of primary energy sources. Energy conversions are implied in all infrastructure services and behaviour patterns and as such, all systems should be considered when attempting to meet energy system goals. While all systems involve conversions of energy, the electricity system will be the central focus as it plays a particularly important role in supporting quality of life for residents as well as industry and the capacity, resilience, cost and environmental profile of this system will be even more critical as the region grows.

While current generation exceeds demand, the region is growing and with expected increases in industrial demand, increased desire for air conditioning and increases overall in electrified systems in general, increased cleaner generation must be considered now. The current system is dependent on thermal conversion of coal and subject to price volatility and high greenhouse gas emissions. The long term affordability and liveability of the system must be considered when planning for growth.

Green Framework

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The open space system informs suggested growth patterns and provides the guiding framework to achieve both “Green Living” and “Smart Business” aspirations. This framework includes layered strategies which combine to protect and improve environmental quality and public health as well as make visible Vizag’s unique features of liveability. In many cases these features will drive economic value and contribute to the region’s brand identity. The strategies also help site future settlements and employment centres in a manner that protects public health and improves logistics of doing business.

The individual layers in a connected system to preserve unique environmental features, provide valuable ecosystem services and support urban resilience.

Planning Scenarios

As the VMR population grows to over 7.5 million people during the planning period, new growth areas must be planned to accommodate the population growth and preserve and enhance liveability for all residents.

Given the limited densification potential accommodated through infill development within existing localities, most of the new households and commercial will have to be accommodated through greenfield expansion. But the amount of land required and growth pattern for that expansion will vary based on the predominant uses and density of the development type adopted.

Three alternative growth scenarios have been defined and evaluated against social, economic, and environmental criteria with a view to identifying a preferred scenario. The criteria include:

  • Compactnesss of the metropolitan development pattern. Urbanizing land near existing built-up areas is more effective and cost-efficient as existing trunk infrastructure systems can often serve both existing and new areas. Siting of new mixed use residential areas near existing employment areas will shorten commute distances, which in turn enhances environmental quality, liveability for residents and the competitiveness of the urban economy. The mean distance from centre of the growth areas at build-out to major employment centres is used to evaluate compactness.
  • Sensitivity to the regional water system. Urbanization outside of low-lying and flood-prone areas lowers disaster risk, reduces the incidence of mosquito-borne diseases, and avoids some of the negative impacts of urban growth on natural watersheds. Growth scenarios are evaluated according to the percentage of area built on saturated (wet) soils and percentage of area lying within flood plains.

The following three scenarios are explored in this section:

  1. Business as usual – Assumes continuation of existing urban development trends. Also takes into account existing plans for local area development. Manifests itself as contiguous, often ribbon development along roads and on greenfield sites, sometimes in flood-prone areas.
  2. Alternative 1 – Future growth occurs as infill development in existing urbanized areas and as incremental development of a number of smaller greenfield development areas adjacent to existing urbanized areas distributed throughout the greater Visakhapatnam region. Explicitly aims to achieve live/work balance at the sub-regional level and to site development on suitable soils with low natural hazard risk.
  3. Alternative 2 – Future growth occurs as infill development in existing urbanized areas and as incremental development of a few large greenfield development areas distributed throughout the greater Visakhapatnam region. Explicitly aims to achieve live/work balance at the sub-regional level and to site development on suitable soils with low natural hazard risk.

Business as Usual Growth Scenario

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In the Business as Usual scenario, 10% of population growth is accommodated through infill redevelopment and the remaining 90% of population growth is accommodated through greenfield development. Assuming an average of 40 dwelling units per hectare (DU/ha), the total greenfield land requirement over the planning period is 15,903 hectares.

This growth pattern yields a mean distance from growth areas to major employment centres of 7.87 km. Approximately 79% of the growth is on saturated soils and 27% within floodplains.

Alternative 1 Growth Scenario

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In the Alternative 1 scenario, 20% of population growth is accommodated through infill redevelopment and the remaining 80% is accommodated through greenfield development. At an average of 40 DU/ha, the total greenfield land requirement over the planning period is 14,136 ha.

This growth pattern yields a mean distance from growth areas to major employment centres of 3.33 km. Fifty-eight percent  of the growth is on saturated soils and 11% lies within floodplains.

Alternative 2 Growth Scenario

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In the Alternative 2 scenario, 20% of population growth is accommodated through infill redevelopment while the remaining 80% is accommodated through greenfield development. The total greenfield land requirement over the planning period is 14,136 hectares at an average of 40 DU/ha.

This growth pattern results in a mean distance from growth areas to major employment centres of 3.33 km. About 56% of the growth area is on saturated soils, while 11% falls within floodplains.

Table 1.4. Evaluation of growth scenarios against criteria

Compactness (Mean distance from the growth area in 2030 to major employment centres) Sensitivity to Watershed (Percentage of 2030 urbanized area within saturated soils) Sensitivity to Watershed (Percentage of 2030 urbanized area within floodplains)
Existing condition >7.87 km 74.4 % 15.2 %
Business as usual 7.87 km 78.92 % 27.4 %
Alternative 1 3.33 km 55.71 % 11.4 %
Alternative 2 4.26 km 55.71 % 11.4 %

The table shows that Alternatives 1 and 2 both achieve higher marks for compactness, as new growth areas are located closer to existing employment centres. They also interfere less with natural water systems than the Business as Usual scenario. Alternative 1 further improves the proximity of new growth areas to existing employment centres than Alternative 2 by dispersing more compact, lower impact development around employment centres throughout the region.

As compared to Alternative 2, Alternative 1 is easier and less costly to implement because it takes advantage of existing trunk infrastructure (so has lower per unit development costs). Alternative 2 has higher commercial risks associated with undertaking large satellite city-type development in outlying locations, e.g., near the proposed Bhogapuram Aero City. (Sometimes when you built it, they don’t come.) Alternative 1 is considered the preferred scenario.

Generalized Land Use Framework

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Settlement Typologies

A number of high-level development typologies have been formulated to serve as guidance for the nature and character of the different proposed greenfield development areas. These typologies are mixed use, mimicking existing land use patterns in Vizag, and reflecting international best practices for developing vibrant and sustainable communities. However, each typology has a predominant use that is either commercial or residential. There is also a density (and built intensity) gradient originating from the city’s centre, and spreading to the built-up areas at the urban edge and non-contiguous communities in more remote locations.

The higher intensity of the more centrally-located areas reflects their complexity and socioeconomic functions within the metropolitan area. The proposed settlement typology is not intended to replace the local area planning or zoning instruments in place in Vizag today. Rather, it provides a way to establish, at a high level, the character of each new development area, as well as the relationships among the 15 development areas in the VMR.

Type Number Type Name Allowable Land Uses Average Density (DU/ha) Maximum Building Height (stories)
1 City Centre Commercial - High Density Primarily commercial; also residential, institutional 70 G+9 to G+13
2 City Centre - Commercial Primarily commercial; also residential, institutional, low-impact industrial 50 G+4 to G+9
3 City Centre - Residential High Density Primarily residential; also commercial, institutional 80 G+4 to G+9
4 City Centre - Residential Primarily residential; also commercial, institutional, low-impact industrial 50 G+2 to G+5
5 Urban Edge - Commercial High Density Primarily commercial; also residential, institutional 20 G+7 to G+9
6 Urban Edge - Commercial Primarily commercial; also residential, institutional, low-impact industrial 40 G+3 to G+5
7 Urban Edge - Residential Primarily residential; also commercial, institutional 40 G+3 to G+5
8 Satellite - Commercial Primarily commercial; also residential, institutional, low-impact industrial 20 G+2 to G+4
9 Satellite - Residential Primarily residential; also commercial, institutional, low-impact industrial 30 G+2 to G+4
10 Agricultural Agricultural, Conservation 15 G to G+1
11 Industrial Industrial 0 G to G+2

Table 1.6. Breakdown of Land Use Typology by Polygon of Greenfield Development

Land Use Typology Vizag Airport Mudasarlova Valley Madhurawada Rushikonda Pendurthi Pudimadaka Atchutapuram Cheepurupalle Parawada Anakapalli Bheemunipatnam Cherakupalle Bhogapuram Vizinagaram Total HH
Total Area DU/ha ha 688 541 1,420 327 1,420 618 997 1,097 1,266 780 918 1,709 1,210 1,915
City Centre Commercial - High Density 70 %
ha
City Centre Commercial 50 % 15 %
ha 103
City Centre Residential - High Density 80 % 35 %
ha 241
City Centre Residential - High Density 80 % 35 %
ha 241
City Centre Residential 50 %
ha
Urban Edge Commercial - High Density 20 % 10 %
ha 142
Urban Edge Commercial 40 % 10 % 10 % 10 %
ha 54 142 33
Urban Edge Residential 40 % 90 % 90 % 90 % 90 %
ha 487 1,278 295 1,278
Satellite Commercial 20 % 8 % 8 % 8 % 8 % 5 % 5 % 5 % 5 % 5 %
ha 49 80 88 101 39 46 85 60 96
Satellite Residential 30 % 92 % 92 % 92 % 92 % 95 % 95 % 95 % 95 % 95 %
ha 569 917 1,009 1,165 741 872 1,624 1,149 1,819
Households 24,430 21,640 56,800 13,120 53,960 18,050 29,110 32,030 36,970 23,010 27,080 50,420 35,670 56,490 478,780
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Area Vision Plan Summaries

Four area vision plans have been developed in greater detail to articulate urban transformations in example communities. The example communities were chosen to align with the settlement typology categories and to highlight new local and regional amenities.

Resilience

Resilient settlement patterns and resilient infrastructure systems will be increasingly necessary for maintaining a high quality of life as the region grows, and will also be critical for attracting the businesses and residents that will drive that growth. Cities that can provide continuous services and maintain a support network for businesses and residents in the face of threatening conditions will develop a significant competitive advantage.

Resilience and “Green Living”– Future residents will seek out Vizag because of its inherent quality of life, its transparent communication and governance,  and the systems that have been built to protect and preserve its natural and cultural heritage.

Resilience and ‘Smart Business’– Future businesses will seek out Vizag due to the predictability of its infrastructure services and access to reliable critical facilities.

A resilient VMR will anticipate threats to public health and the economy, and mitigate and/or respond to these challenges.

Strategic considerations

Building on the initial recommendations from the Task 3 assessment, the following considerations can inform future project development, and integrate “resilience thinking” into future initiatives.

Comprehensive asset management and planning

The TERI database is comprehensive and very robust; however, we have found no evidence that it is being maintained as a dynamic planning tool that incorporates new plans and completed projects and modifications into the database. An update process to keep the database current would be a very effective tool for resilience planning. We recommend that the database is also expanded to address all hazards, not just the core climate hazards (SLR and storm surge) covered in the initial study. Consistent with the transport recommendation in the IBM report, a comprehensive database could be the basis of an asset-management system to assist in planning, and assess not only future hazards, but also the state of good repair (SGR) of existing assets. This aids in addressing both preventative-maintenance issues as well as emergency-response activities.

Downscaling of climate data for use in planning

In order to facilitate better planning for the impacts of climate change impacts on proposed and existing assets, we recommend that Visakhapatnam and Andhra Pradesh partner with academic and research organizations to develop and maintain downscaled climate impact assessments, based on the latest observation and modelling data developed by the GOI and IPCC. The downscaled data and assessments could be incorporated into the system described in Recommendation 1, and used to analyse proposed public investments and land use decisions to improve the resiliency of new projects.

Improved situational awareness and devolution capabilities across Districts

Disaster-management coordination is housed within the office of the District Collector. As described in previous IBM recommendations, an Intelligent Integrated Command Centre will improve situational awareness across the District and improve the resilience of District assets. However, large incidents like cyclones and tsunamis tend to impact a larger area than the District boundary, and coordination and visibility across Districts could improve situational awareness and resource sharing. The Collectors report to the State, which coordinates across Districts, but State officials receive data from each District. If the systems are connected across Districts, there would be two major improvements in resilience. The first would be that State officials would have consistent visibility of assets and impacts across the entire affected region, and could more effectively coordinate asset and resource sharing. The second would be that, if one District’s command centre is impacted or becomes unsafe, staff can relocate to another District, and still be able to access all of their systems and sensors remotely. In an extreme case, state officials could also devolve the functions of one District to another less-impacted District or to the State command centre.

Leverage broadband infrastructure investment to improve information and healthcare access (telemedicine)

Access to timely healthcare services improves the prevention and treatment of disease threats to the population. In rural areas, this access is often greatly affected by the travel distance required to access these services, level of demand, and scheduling of limited resources within the local area. In less affluent areas, people tend to only seek medical attention when a crisis occurs, because it is difficult and time-consuming to access the providers. A lack of preventative assessment and timely attention to acute problems can lead to a lower standard of health in these populations. The state-wide investment in broadband infrastructure allows for the opportunity to establish a comprehensive telemedicine program for those with limited access to healthcare. In addition to improving the frequency and timeliness of care from a health professional, the telemedicine program would allow a better balance of demand and resources across the greater area. Patients could theoretically access providers across Andhra Pradesh, or even across all of India, and beyond, using this technology. While telemedicine cannot address all medical needs, through the use of video, remote sensors, and biometrics, many routine screenings and triage assessments can be performed the would allowing patients to have to travel to a healthcare facility only when absolutely necessary.

Integrated approach to risk mitigation

Resilience in the face of threatening conditions is best achieved by integrating responsive practices and/or technologies into all urban systems. In Vizag, this can be achieved by insisting that proposed urban planning approaches and infrastructure systems contribute to geographically-specific resilience objectives. These fundamental objectives include:

Understanding the current and future flows of people, goods and services

Projects that build awareness of people’s real-time behaviour and/or measure the flow of vehicles, water, energy, waste, and the other externalities of urban life can help to better anticipate threats to urban services and public welfare. They can also assist in efficiently allocating resources before, during, and after threatening events.

Avoiding and or augmenting vulnerable locations and time periods

Locating growth areas to avoid vulnerable locations and/or limiting exposure during high-threat timeframes is the most efficient way to mitigate the influence of threatening events. Design elements that augment existing conditions can reduce vulnerability and/or increase response-time windows that limit damage or downtime.

Improving Information exchange

Means of communication are critical before, during, and after threatening events. Projects that improve reliable, efficient dialogue between municipal leadership and citizens can greatly reduce  negative impacts.

Improving service reliability and consistency

Projects that build redundant means of service delivery, and/or integrate the storage of water, energy or necessary goods, reduce system downtime, or improve response times can also limit the negative impacts of threatening conditions.

Diversifying resource base

Dependence on a limited number of resources can inherently pose significant economic challenges, should conditions change and resources become scarce. Diversifying sources of water and energy, and improving transportation mode choice, act as a hedge against scarcity and improves reliability.

Distributing critical systems

While centralized infrastructure can be simpler to control and manage, it can also increase vulnerability. More complex networks of interconnected systems allow managers greater flexibility in isolating problems, adapting to changing conditions, and expanding system capacity.

Leveraging natural systems

Resilience goals can be more easily and consistently achieved by harnessing and working with natural systems, rather than against them. For example, it is far more efficient to protect an existing wetland that filters runoff and absorbs floodwater than it is to rebuild a flood wall that degrades with every storm. Similarly, it is more efficient to preserve or revegetate a forested hill side than it is to constantly remove eroded soil from adjacent drainage areas.

These objectives can work in combination to further strengthen urban systems. Projects and policies that meet multiple resilience objectives create co-benefits that can accelerate Green Living and Smart Business aspirations.

Integrating policy infrastructure & urban resilience

The various components of the Smart City Integrated Framework plan recommend polices, programs, and projects that were conceived to improve urban resilience by responding to the threats and achieving the objectives that were identified earlier.

The following table illustrates the objectives addressed by the integrated policies and programs.

Download Draft Resilience Plan

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