Updated: Sep 20, 2021
Excerpt from Practical Cities Initiative- Master Class I
Practical Cities is an initiative that showcases best practices that cities have undertaken in managing and implementing successful urban planning and governance systems across the globe. It is a concept that covers a series of masterclasses from grass-root level city planners, managers and practitioners who portray an understanding of how few cities have been successful in implementing good governance system. The first masterclass of the series was based on the theme urban governance “City of my Dreams” by Mr. Nimitt Karia who is a Managing Partner at development2020. Mr. Karia shared his idea of city of his dreams through his vast and varied experience of travelling more than hundred cities across the globe.
Quoting Mr. APJ Abdul Kalam “Dreams become your thoughts and thoughts become your actions”, he mentions that his idea of an ideal dream city is not just one city in the world but an amalgamation of various aspects of different cities across the globe. According to him, an ideal dream city would be inclusive, free, smart and technology-friendly, walkable, pedestrianized with great public spaces and accessible to all. It can have un-bounded public spaces and parks with literally no walls, clean water-bodies within and accessible to all creatures. It can be children-friendly, old-aged friendly and also open to pets. London is a best example of such beautiful public parks.
Image: 1 Green Park in London in which the Mall runs along one edge and Buckingham Palace is just a stroll away. People play frisbee, bring their chairs and organize weekend outings.
(Image Source: Major parks in London, Author: Time Out London Things To Do and Ellie Walker-Arnott, 2019)
A dream city should offer varied economic and employment opportunities for its people. Cities of Singapore and New York are best examples of well managed cities with great employment opportunities. ‘The more pedestrianized a city is, the more business it will create’. Most of the European cities like Cambridge, Prague are pedestrianized and walkable and hence a dream city should be walkable and pedestrian friendly also carving out spaces for well managed cycling tracks. A dream city should be technological friendly with great city centers with IEC components like LED boards and signages. Many cities of Singapore are good examples of such smart cities.
Image 2: Singapore Ranks First in Global Cities’ AI Readiness and Smart City Effort
(Source: Article, Fintechnews Singapore, 2019)
‘City of Dreams’ should have great rejuvenated and colorful public spaces revived through public art. Many European cities which were war-toned 25 years ago have revived their public spaces incredibly, making them more accessible and friendly for its citizens. Cities like Zegreb (capital of Croatia), Bratislava (capital of Slovakia), Jaipurn (Rajasthan, India), Ahmedabad (Gujarat, India) etc. are best examples of such a practice. Vibrant food space like Manekchowk in Ahmeddabad is an example of revived public space that changes across the day. The riverfront development in a city can be developed into more than a walkable path, the water body can be made more accessible for kids to swim. A dream city can be a combination of all these parameters. With all these aspects, an immediate, systematically designed process should be adapted by a step by step approach to create a dream city which has a government for governance and its citizens that enjoy benefits of this city.
Image 3: Sculptures installed on streets of Bratislava, Slovakia, Image 4: Walkable Street in Prague
(Source: Images deprived from pinterest.com)
Cities will undergo many reforms with the Covid-19 outbreak. Hence, cities will have to be more resilient. Mr. Karia anticipates that post COVID era, traveling will become less, the need for commercial spaces might reduce, high street retail might flourish and there might be varied reforms across cities irrespective of their urban-rural linkages. An urban area might need an agricultural or horticultural park and a rural area might need more infrastructure development. There will be huge revolution and adaption through interruption in disruptive technology in public transport authorities. Reskilling of services and jobs is the need of the hour. In the next five years, cities will be less authoritative with more governance, little government and consistent rules for all.
Keywords : practical cities, dream, accessibility, walkability, open parks, development, public art
Blog by Saubiya Sareshwala
You can watch the session online, it is available on :