Smart Cities

Journal Articles

An, Y., Hall, R. P., & Yoon, T. (2021). The Complex Relationship between Capacity and Infrastructure Project Delivery: The Case of the Indian National Urban Renewal Mission. Sustainability, 13(16), 9356. https://doi.org/10.3390/su13169356

Keywords: Capacity development, Indian urban sector, urban infrastructure development, project performance, project hurdles, urban development policy.

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Abstract: Capacity development (CD) interventions are becoming a vital component of development projects. However, there is a lack of information about the relationships between capacity and project delivery. This paper presents the results of a study of how CD was applied to one of India’s largest urban infrastructure programs. While the Indian government considered a lack of capacity to be the main problem in project delivery, there is little evidence that explains the relationships between capacity and project delivery. This study analyzes the content of 58 interviews with project engineers, managers, and administrators about the hurdles they experienced at each stage of project delivery and seeks to understand these hurdles through the lens of CD. The study identifies the influence of capacity factors on project delivery and the converse influence of project performance and outcomes on CD. Ultimately, this study reveals the complex two-way interactions between capacity and project delivery.

Gupta, K., & Hall, R. P. (2021). Exploring Smart City Project Implementation Risks in the Cities of Kakinada and Kanpur. Journal of Urban Technology, 28(1-2), 155–173. https://doi.org/10.1080/10630732.2020.1796115

Keywords: Smart cities, smart city mission, risks, risk causal mapping.

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Abstract: With an increasing number of smart city initiatives in developed as well as developing nations, smart cities are seen as a catalyst for improving the quality of life for city residents. However, the current understanding of the risks that may hamper the successful implementation of smart city projects remains limited. This research examines the risk landscape for implementing smart city projects in two Indian cities, Kakinada and Kanpur, by interviewing 20 professionals from industry and local government who were closely associated with implementing smart city projects. Seven risks are identified—namely resource management and partnership, institutional, scheduling and execution, social, financial, political, and technology—using thematic analysis. Further, the interrelationships between the risks are modelled using causal mapping techniques. The results suggest different risk priorities among the two types of professionals interviewed. Further, a number of risks were found to be closely connected. These findings suggest that risk mitigation strategies need to take a comprehensive view towards all risks and their interconnections instead of managing each risk in isolation.

Gupta, K., Zhang, W., & Hall, R. P. (2021). Risk priorities and their co-occurrences in smart city project implementation: Evidence from India’s Smart Cities Mission (SCM). Environment and Planning B: Urban Analytics and City Science, 48(4), 880–894. https://doi.org/10.1177/2399808320907607

Keywords: Smart cities mission, risks, likelihood-impact, risk co-occurrences.

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Abstract: With an increasing number of smart cities initiatives in developed as well as developing nations, smart cities are seen as a catalyst for improving the quality of life for city residents. However, current understanding of the risks that may hamper successful implementation of smart city projects remains limited due to inadequate data, especially in developing nations. The recent Smart Cities Mission launched in India provides a unique opportunity to examine the type of risks, their likelihood, and impacts on smart city project implementation by providing risk description data for area-based (small-scale) development and pan-city (large-scale) development projects in the submitted smart city proposals. We used topic modeling and semantic analysis for risk classification, followed by risk likelihood–impact analysis for priority evaluation, and the keyword co-occurrence network method for risk association analysis. The risk classification results identify eight risk categories for both the area-based and pan-city projects, including (a) Financial, (b) Partnership and Resources, (c) Social, (d) Technology, (e) Scheduling and Execution, (f) Institutional, (g) Environmental, and (h) Political. Further, results show risks identified for area-based and pan-city projects differ in terms of risk priority distribution and co-occurrence associations. As a result, different risk mitigation measures need to be adopted to manage smart city projects across scales. Finally, the paper discusses the similarities and differences in risks found in developed and developing nations, resulting in potential mitigation measures for smart city projects in developing nations.

Gupta, K., & Hall, R. P. (2020). Understanding the What, Why, and How of Becoming a Smart City: Experiences from Kakinada and Kanpur. Smart Cities, 3(2), 232–247. https://doi.org/10.3390/smartcities3020014

Keywords: Smart cities, smart cities mission, rapid urbanization, inclusivity, public convenience.

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Abstract: Rapid urbanization can result in challenges, such as overcrowding, congestion, and a lack of urban services. To address these challenges, an increasing number of communities are exploring the concept of a smart city (SC). Although rapid urbanization is a problem for cities around the world, its consequences can be severe for those located in developing nations. While previous studies have focused on SCs that were built from the ground up, there is a critical need for studies that focus on how to advance SC initiatives in developing regions faced with limited land and resources. This study identified two proposed SCs in India—Kakinada and Kanpur—which are currently implementing SC projects to explore their SC transformation. This case study aims to explore how “smartness” is understood in these cities and examines the local conditions shaping SC objectives by studying the existing issues in the cities, the proposed projects, and the perception of SC experts on a) what they understand by “smartness”; b) why cities want to become smart; and c) how they will become smart. The study findings indicate that although the high-level goals of the proposed SCs in India are similar to those of existing SCs in developed nations, the underlying objectives and strategies vary and are shaped by the urbanization challenges facing the Indian cities. This research also highlights the key questions a SC planning effort should address, especially in a developing nation context.

An, Y., Garvin, M. J., & Hall, R. P. (2017). Pathways to Better Project Delivery: The Link Between Capacity Factors and Urban Infrastructure Projects in India. World Development, 94, 393–405. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.worlddev.2017.02.004

Keywords: Capacity development, project delivery, qualitative comparative analysis, urban development, Asia, India.

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Abstract: This study focuses on the concept of capacity development (CD) that has been accepted widely in the international development community, but has not been investigated extensively by empirical studies in academic research. While empirical evidence is essential to understanding causality between capacity and project outcomes, past CD research primarily focuses on case studies. Using fuzzy-set Qualitative Comparative Analysis, this research analyzes 126 urban infrastructure projects in India that were funded by a national urban renewal program to find which combinations of capacity factors at the enabling environment, organizational, and individual level led to successful or unsuccessful project delivery. The results identify six pathways to success and three pathways to failure and reveal the complex causality between capacity factors and project delivery. This study moves beyond theoretical discussions found in existing CD literature by providing an example of how CD can be studied in the context of a real-world development program, and contributes to our understanding of how capacity is interconnected with project delivery.