Strategies for Making Chandigarh a Smart City, Architect Jit Kumar Gupta


Strategies for Making Chandigarh a Smart City

                                                                                                    *Ar Jit Kumar Gupta


Abstract : Chandigarh, as one of the most significant urban planning experiment, has emerged as symbol of planned urbanism of the 20th century.  By ushering modern idioms of architecture and planning, city has set new benchmark for excellence in landscape planning, architectural vocabulary and building typology  Conceived originally as an administrative city, with a precise goal and precise  population of half a million, Chandigarh in last 65 years of its existence, has grown into a major regional centre of repute  and a magnet in  the domain of  trade and commerce, education, healthcare and  cultural activities for several states of the region. City has already achieved a population of 10.55 lakhs, as per 2011 census. With highest car-man ratio and large influx of multi-nationals, corporate houses involved in IT, ITES, migratory labour and working population, city is reeling under enormous developmental pressure leading to traffic and transportation blues, mushrooming of slums and ever widening gap between demand and supply of basic amenities and infrastructures. Quality of life in the city has been adversely impacted. City has now found place among 100 slots reserved for the smart cities in the country. In search for appropriate solutions and strategies to overcome existing problems and to make city  smart, paper tries to look at the options of making city compact; making existing large institutional complexes self-sustaining; planning for people and not for vehicles; promoting accessibility rather than mobility and re-planning sectors  to make them self -contained and self-sufficient in all basic needs and infrastructures besides making Chandigarh Zero Energy and Zero Carbon city.


Chandigarh has its genesis in the crisis emerging out of partition of India in 1947 when Pakistan was created as a separate nation. In this partition, states of Punjab and Bengal lost large part of their territory, which went to Pakistan. Bengal was lucky to retain Kolkata their capital city, but state of Punjab was left without its capital city with Lahore going to Pakistan. Initially state capital went on shifting between Jalandhar as winter seat and Shimla as the summer capital of Punjab. Search for a permanent capital began soon after independence.  After detailed study, critical analysis and intense discussions, government took a decision to create a new capital city instead of opting for upgrading an existing city. Search for an appropriate site for the capital city was soon initiated

In March 1948, the Government of Punjab, in consultation with the Government of India, approved 114.59 Sq.Kms. tract of land at the foothills of Shivaliks as the site for the new capital. Site was part of the erstwhile Ambala district. Site was selected by a team comprising of experts and state officials under the chairmanship of Dr. M.S Randhawa, the then Deputy Commissioner of Ambala. Original site had about 59 villages. The team zeroed on site in 1948, located in the sub-mountainous region, 260 kms North of Delhi.The site was found suitable due to its  central location, proximity to the national capita, availability of sufficient water,gentle gradient for natural drainage and freedom from physical encumbrances with mango groves and temples dotting the site  Chandigarh positioned under the shadow of nature, derives its name from the temple of Goddess “Chandi”  (the power) located in the area and a fort or “garh” lying beyond the temple. The site chosen was free from existing encumbrances of old towns and old traditions.  Site of capital city of Chandigarh is known for its unique setting, character, location and natural features. As per City Development Plan Chandigarh:

Chandigarh is located in the foothills of the Shivalik range of hills  in the north, which form a part of the fragile Himalayan ecosystem. It is occupied by Kandi (Bhabhar) in the north east and Sirowal (Tarai) and alluvial plains in the remaining part. The subsurface formation comprises of beds of boulders, pebbles, gravel, sand, silt, clays and some Kankar. The area is drained by two seasonal rivulets viz Sukhna Choe in the east and Patiala-Ki-Rao Choe in the west. The central part has two minor steams. The steam passing through the central part is called N-Choe and the other Nala which initiates at Sector 29.  The city has a pre-historic past. The gently sloping plains on which modern Chandigarh exists, was in the ancient past, a wide lake ringed by a marsh. The fossil remains found at the site indicate a large variety of aquatic and amphibian life, which was supported by the environment. About 8000 years ago the area was also known to be a home to the Harappans. Since the medieval thru’ modern era, the area was part of the large and prosperous Punjab Province.

The city was conceived not only to serve as the capital of East Punjab, but also to resettle thousands of refugees who had been uprooted and migrated from West Punjab. In addition it was supposed to serve role model of urban planning and architecture in order to put region and the nation on the path of state of art and planned urbanisation. The foundation stone of the city of Chandigarh was laid in 1952.  In the words of eminent Architect B V Doshi, ‘Chandigarh is the product of constraints of Indian economy, technology and climate and the aspiration of the large population befitting a new century. There was the great ancient past and unknown future, which had to be captured and manifested in the new city’,

City was to be first large expression of creative genius flowering on our newly earned freedom. Chandigarh was supposed to be planned paradise.  In the words of India’s first Prime Minister Pandit Nehru, ‘Let Chandigarh be a new town, symbolic of the freedom of India, unfettered by the traditions of the past and expression of the nation’s faith in the future’.

.Planning of City

 The Mayer Plan

With finalisation of the site, search began for the team of architects who could design the city. Near vacuum of local design expertise prompted state to seek best of western skill to realize the dream of creating a beautiful city. Considering the financial, other constraints and defined goals, the search was narrowed down to a good modern architect capable of developing new concept suited to Indian climate and  available materials keeping in view the  functions of the new capital. First team of architects engaged for planning and designing the city was lead by American Architect Albert Mayer and  Mathew Nowicki. The plan prepared by Mayer visualized a fan shaped layout, set between the two seasonal streams defining the location and setting four major elements of the capital city with capitol complex placed at the head, the civic centre in the middle, the university campus on the western edge and the light industrial area to the east, adjacent to the Kalka-Ambala railway line.  The plan gravitated around two major principles:

  • Use of superblocks as the basic neighbourhood planning unit with fast moving traffic confined to periphery to safeguard residential areas from rapid vehicular traffic, and providing basic facilitates, urban amenities and services within easy reach of the residents.
  • Location and topography as the basic determinant of the overall form and contours of the city.

The basic planning unit was conceived to be the superblock.  Three such blocks, accommodating 3500 families, were to be grouped together. The superblock covered an area of 500m x 1000m, and was graded according to population density representing three different income groups-low (75 persons/acre), medium (50 persons/acre) and upper (25 persons/acre). However, some mixing of these categories was also envisioned. The residential areas were placed at the edge of the superblocks, while facilities and amenities (schools, parks, community centres etc.) were located in the centre. Land was also reserved for meeting the unforeseen future needs. The house design included an inner courtyard, a characteristic feature of a traditional Indian house. The road network was adapted to the terrain. A curvilinear network of main roads was to surround the superblocks and separate interior roads were planned for pedestrians, cyclists and animal-drawn traffic. The plan provided for two large parks extending east-west through the city.  It also proposed a series of dams on Sukhna Choe to create a permanent water basin around the Capitol Complex. According to Mayer, the proposed plan, based on ‘humane ideals’, was meant to create a peaceful city, not one where complications are counteracted by other complications.

Corbusier Plan

Sudden demise of architect Mathew Nowicki in 1952, in an air crash, changed the destiny of Chandigarh. Second team of architects lead by Le Corbusier (also called Charles Edouard Jeanneret), Pierre Jeanneret, Jane B Drew and Maxwell Fry took over. As per Master Plan of Chandigarh,’ Le Corbusier designed an iconic city, fulfilling not just a utopian agenda, but reflecting concepts of ‘modernism’ movement that arose in Europe but took root here too. The city reflects the forceful personality of Le Corbusier in many tangible ways using the urban philosophy laid down by CIAM, creating modular, geometric and cubist idioms using ‘brute’ materials yet the sub- text was drawn from nature (the head / lungs / heart / limbs) and incorporated the essentials of site /climate/culture/tradition. Planned on a rigid  rectangular  grid iron pattern of roads, half a mile apart in the east- west direction and three- quarter of  a mile in the north-south direction, the Chandigarh plan promised basic amenities of life even to the poorest of the poor of its citizens to lead a dignified life.  Safe from fast traffic, in easy reach of all needs of material, mental and moral sustenance and growth, surrounded by nature in an intimate community and yet part of a real city, this was the life envisioned for the 5 lakh inhabitants to be brought into the city in two distinct phases of development.  A distinct quality of life was accordingly assured to a distinct class of people to be housed in this capital city to be established on a terrain with great mountains to the north, and two rivers flowing approximately 7-8 kms. apart.  The human life in the city was proposed to be compartmentalized and put into air-tight containers of working, living, care of body and spirit, known as SECTORS, each having human contents varying between 5,000 & 25,000, separated by fast moving traffic arteries known as V2 and V3 and connected with a central green flowing from south to north in the direction of great mountains. The Master Plan of the city re-drawn by Le-Corbusier in four hectic days of inspired activity in February 1951, was largely based on the well-advanced master plan prepared by Albert Mayer.  It changed the shape of the city from a leaf to a rectangle, reducing considerably the size of the city in the process.  The basic unit of planning was changed from a super-block to sector based on the same neighbourhood concept i.e. city within a city.  The sector constituted an attempt to create space, which provided for day-to-day material and social needs of the citizens in easy reach of home, but at the same time linked to a larger scale of the city in terms of transport and services.  The entire network of sectors was woven with a so called efficient system of traffic and transportation governed by the rule of 7 Vs, changed by adding V8 to suit the specific needs of the city.  Sector planning was made introvert with no door opening on to V2 & V3.  The focus of life within the sector was V4 – the shopping street -which was to contain amenities needed for catering to the material needs of the residents.  The size and shape of the sector was based on considerations with focus on human scale, human needs and aspirations and their welfare.  The industrial area was placed on the south-east of the city to eliminate any possibility of heavy traffic entering the city. A 500 feet wide green belt provided an organic green to seal the residential sectors from industrial fumes and noise. Educational area occupied the north-west side with work centers concentrated in the Capitol Complex, City Centre, Sub-city Centre and along the major axis.  The Master Plan envisaged a distinct density pattern with density level much higher in the second phase as compared to the first phase.  An effective mechanism of controlling and safeguarding the space around the new city from the onslaught of haphazard growth and development was provided by declaring an area of 5 miles, which was subsequently increased to 10 miles, as periphery area.  Tree preservation order and advertisement control order were issued to protect trees and to regulate the display area.  These in nut-shell were the planning and protective mechanisms evolved to safeguard the quality of life in the city of tomorrow’s India.

Impact of Chandigarh

Chandigarh, since its inception in 1951, has made a mark in the area of city planning, development and management, which can be briefly enumerated in following terms:.

  • Defining a new system of urban planning in the country.
  • Inducting a system of urban controls to promote urban design including use of zoning and architectural controls
  • Introducing concept of Master Plan for promoting planned development in the northern India.
  • Promoting neighbourhood  planning in the form of Sector planning
  • Introduced concept of 7Vs as  a strategy to rationalize traffic and transportation
  • Introducing concept of Periphery to promote Regional Planning for integrating urban and rural settlements
  • Safety from fast moving traffic through Introvert Planning
  • Adopting human analogy for planning of cities.
  • Proving good urbanism makes good money.
  • Ushering a new era in planning of new settlements and extension of old settlements through Sector planning.
  • Reinforcing efficacy of Linear Shopping in the shape of V4.
  • Naming roads based on direction/ purpose it served rather than glorifying individuals.
  • Promoting Garden city concept in city planning.
  • Proving efficacy and efficiency of Grid Iron Planning.
  • Emphasizing role of Pure Land Use Planning.
  • Establishing the hierarchy of commercial areas.
  • Proving efficacy and efficiency of bureaucratic and professional dominated model of city planning, development and management
  • Establishing the role, importance and recognition of Planners/Architects in urban and social context.


During the short span of 65 years of its existence, as briefed above, Chandigarh has emerged as the role model of urban development locally and globally. It is known for its state of art planning and architecture. It has given a new theme to urban living and quality of life. In addition, Chandigarh has the distinction of achieving number of mile-stones which range from achieving substantial degree of growth and development as per the provisions of the Master Plan; achieving its projected and targeted population of 5 lakh in the year 1991,within four decades of launching; making provisions of a sufficiently high order of amenities and services; ensuring much better quality of life to the residents; setting high norms and standards of planning and development; creating awareness about the importance of planned growth and to prove good urbanism makes good money.  These mile-stones have been achieved despite tremendous population and developmental pressures which the city was able to cope effectively and efficiently in the face of unforeseen developments emerging out of changes in geo-political situation of the region in 1966, when state of Haryana was carved out of state of Punjab and city became union territory besides capital of states of Punjab and Haryana. However, city in the recent past has started showing signs of enormous stress due to ever increasing population and administrative pressure, rapidly transforming urban form, fast changing class-structure, traffic and transportation problems, mushrooming of slums, high deficiency in basic services of water supply, energy , solid waste management, ever rising carbon footprints, increasing pollution, lack of safety and ever increasing unplanned and unforeseen physical and economical activities.  There is an urgent need of quantifying these stresses and suggesting appropriate strategies to minimize them.

Chandigarh, the city beautiful, is today passing through an emerging crisis which is threatening its basic fabric and structure. Chandigarh is reeling under the enormous pressure of population with figure rising above 10 lakh. City has failed to honour its commitment of providing basic amenities of life to the poorest of poor, with more than 20% of population living in slums. Informal sector has virtually taken over the city and has overshadowed the formal development. Traffic and transportation network is reeling under enormous pressure due to highest car -man ratio prevailing in the city. Majority of city infrastructure is under pressure, including health and education, leading to fast deterioration of quality of life. Land speculation on the part of parastatal agencies has made the shelter unaffordable for majority of residents leaving them with no option but to tap illegal/grey markets. City has fast emerged as city of elites with perpetual neglect and exclusion of the majority of city population. City looks clearly stratified into  North  and South divide, with distinct variations in quality of life, open spaces, basic services, amenities etc. With large population getting concentrated in Southern part, these sectors represent high degree of congestion and chaos. Ruthless exploitation of urban villages by speculators has created high degree of congestion and pollution, leading to numerous problems to the adjoining planned areas and the city. Periphery which was essentially created to be the protector of the city has emerged as the greatest threat to the very fabric and existence to the city due to large scale haphazard, planned and unplanned urbanization taking place in the area. Creation of Mohali and Panchkula, within the Periphery and in close vicinity of the Chandigarh, has converted periphery   into a large urban mass. In the process, city is fast losing its identity. Chandigarh, as it stands today, has lost most of its administrative relevance and is fast emerging a commercial city with large scale industrialization taking place in and around the city with surrounding areas fast becoming IT & ITES hubs. With policy option of granting liberal permissions to allow change of land use of industrial units into commercial use, basic principle of pure land use planning made applicable to the city has been totally diluted and stands violated. Allowing much higher FAR  recently, on existing residential plots is having major impact on the  growth and development with city becoming more and more congested resulting in further lowering and diluting the quality of life. Tempering with the different kinds of controls, essentially put in place to regulate the built environment, on large scale is fast changing the vocabulary of Chandigarh Architecture.

In the given scenario, it becomes critical that the entire process of growth and development of Chandigarh is re-looked and reviewed in order to make it more rational. Looking at the ground realities, growth of Chandigarh cannot be seen in isolation, devoid of what is happening in the area defined as periphery .Chandigarh needs to be looked in the Regional Contest with strategy focusing on preserving the  basic character of  the city and diverting major growth and development to the surrounding settlements. Let the growth and development of Chandigarh, Panchkula & Mohali be governed by a uniform set of rules and regulations, administrated by unified agency comprising of all the three units including Punjab, Haryana and  Chandigarh. The entire growth of the Chandigarh Capital city has to be reviewed at two distinct levels ie in the Regional Context and Local Context.  Contours of the Regional Plan of Chandigarh needs to be  drawn based on  the analogy of National Capital Region  and the entire growth of the region has to be based in a co-ordinated manner rather than in a spirit of competition. Chandigarh today represents a unique example where majority of damage to the city and its environs is the outcome of planned efforts undertaken by different states in an un-coordinated manner. Urgent steps are called for in order to preserve the basic  character and glory of the so called city beautiful Chandigarh.

Way Forward

In order to rationalise the urban growth, provide basic amenities of life to all the citizens, improve quality of life, decentralise planning and making development people centric, Government of India has launched the Smart City Mission. Mission focuses initially on 100 selected cities in the country based on detailed selection criteria. Chandigarh has been selected as one of the mission city. In order to make Chandigarh a smart city in the real sense of term, paper makes following suggestions, adoption of which would help in making  Chandigarh not only smart but would also  go a long way in overcoming  majority of its  existing problems.

Making Chandigarh Compact

As per projections made and going by the existing trends of population growth,  Chandigarh will have population in the range of 15-16 lakhs  by the year 2031, as against  population of 10.55  lakhs in the year 2011. In order to accommodate the addition population appropriate space for housing, education, healthcare, open spaces etc within the city will have to be created. In order to achieve this, it will be critical to avoid horizontal spread of the city to minimise traffic and promote economy in the provisioning infrastructure. In this context option available would be to use the mandate given by Le- Corbusier  in  the master plan to take up Stage-III  of the development of Chandigarh, providing for, ’Re-densification of Stage-I’ , which has been planned and designed as low density area. However, this would require a detailed study and analysis, before coming out with a policy framework for creating additional space. Option will have to be given to owners of large sized plots by pooling their land and going with higher density leaving large green areas on the prescribed norms.  In addition, area will have to be supported with additional input of services, in order to maintain the standard of services provided. For search of appropriate solutions, it will be desirable to constitute an expert group or hire a agency, having in depth knowledge and expertise,  on priority to finalise the modalities of the re-densification of the city in order to safeguard it from  future population and developmental blues.

Planning for People and not for Vehicle

Chandigarh has been planned as a city for machine age with wide roads and state of art road hierarchy defined by the system of 7Vs.  Accordingly, city has large influx of mechanical vehicles. In terms of car- man ratio, Chandigarh ranks high in the country. With focus on personal vehicles, Chandigarh is passing through an era of   crisis in traffic and transportation, despite wide and well laid road infrastructure. Focus of Chandigarh traffic and transportation is vehicle, leading to widening of roads and providing large parking spaces, In order to rationalise the traffic and make city smart, the focus of traffic management has to shift from vehicle to people. Once this is adopted as policy, the   highest priority in traffic planning will go to promoting pedestrianisation, followed by Cycling and   Mass Transportation with least priority going to the Personal vehicles. This would require making Chandigarh a Cycle City with highest proportion of travel/ trips going to cycling and pedestrians. This can be achieved by incorporating V8bc in the city road fabric, which was part of original transportation plan to cater to the two wheeler traffic in the city. Once this is put in place city would see a drastic reduction in traffic, accidents, pollution, congestion and delay in mobility on day to day basis. However, in addition to providing   network of cycle/pedestrian tracks, city has to make its mass transportation highly effective and efficient and user friendly.  Chandigarh, considering its size, population   and grid iron planning does not need a metro based mass transportation system. It has to be a bus based system which needs to be put in place after detailed study and analysis of  existing successful systems in the country including Ahmadabad

.Plan for Accessibility than Mobility

All planning policies and programs besides conducting businesses and   providing services to citizens focus on promoting mobility. This has led to more and more travel on the part of users and stakeholders for availing or paying for these services. In fact the focus has to change from mobility to accessibility so that users can access and pay for those services without much movement. This would require digitising all services on priority and making it available to people while sitting at home or in offices. Grievance redressal system also have to be made online in order to minimise travel. Accordingly, all Chandigarh sectors have to be provided with Sampark Kendra, already working in few sectors. All citizen centric services should be made available in Sampark Kendra which would help in rationalising travel. In this regard, role of IT and It services assume added importance, which need to be used on large scale. Building plan approvals, admission to educational institutions, healthcare etc can all be brought on line, which can radically improve the accessibility and reduce mobility to access administration and services in the city

Make all Institution Campuses Self- contained

Chandigarh, as a planned city, has the distinct advantage of housing large number of healthcare, education, research and development campuses, occupying large area of the city and housing and serving large number of users. They also consume large amount of resources in terms of water supply, energy besides generating large waste. In order to make city smart, it will be critical to make these institutions smart and role model of good management. They need to be made zero cars, zero carbon, zero waste and water efficient. This would require water treatment plant to be put in these campuses on standalone basis, which can recycle the water and use the water to irrigate large open and landscaped areas besides using it for the toilets. These  campuses has large roof areas and open areas, which can be used for generating solar based power to meet their energy related demand. These institutions can also make their campuses vehicle free by running special buses to ferry employees, residents and users within and outside the campus. This will help in overcoming the prevailing electricity and water shortage in the city besides eliminating the need of putting additional tube- wells, pumping  large water from Bhakra Canal for  ensuring 24×7 water supply in the city.   Punjab University, PGI, CSIO, Microbial Institute of Technology, Punjab Engineering College, National Institute of Technical Teacher Training Education and Research, Govt College for Boys/women, MGSIPA etc can be taken up as the institutions in the first case for making them self-contained and smart in services and energy.

Promoting Green Buildings

Buildings are known to be large consumers of energy, water and  resources besides generators of waste, if Chandigarh has to be made really smart, it must immediately put in place  a well-defined policy framework for incentivising  green buildings in the city. Despite the fact majority of states and union territories have policy framework promoting green buildings but Chandigarh continues to avoid the same. I feel Chandigarh will find it hard to become a smart city unless it promotes the idea of making all buildings green. Chandigarh has large number of  government buildings which have large energy, water and carbon footprints including Capitol Complex, administrative buildings of states of Punjab, Haryana and UT, which should immediately be taken up for retro-fitting to make them green buildings. This would reduce their electricity and water consumption by 30-50% leading to making city self-sufficient in energy and water besides lowering the generation of waste. All government residential complexes housing the government employees and all co-operative housing also needs to be made green by giving incentives in the shape of rebate in the property tax. This would go a long way in making Chandigarh a sustainable and smart city.

Zero Energy City

Chandigarh has the capacity and potential to become zero energy city, if proper policies and programs are put in place. Chandigarh is already a solar city and is making focussed attention on generating electricity using buildings as the medium. However, efforts are focussed only on the government buildings. Little effort is being made to make it people centric. In order to make Chandigarh ultimately Zero Energy city, it will be critical to make it people and institutional centric. City must prepare a road map which will lead to make it Zero energy city. It has to be done in phases involving people, communities, stakeholders and industry. In the initial stage, large population living in the phase-iii of Chandigarh in group housing co-operative societies should be involved in the process. They should be given cash incentives in the form of rebate in property and other taxes for making the society green. They should also be recognised and honoured on becoming green. Administration should hold competitions to award societies doing exceptional work on annual basis. Administration should also provide resources and technical know how to make societies green. This would make Chandigarh a role model in the area of energy efficiency in the country. All street lights must be brought under an integrated grid on the pattern of Vijayawada to monitor their performance and operation, switching on and off from a central system, ensuring energy is not wasted by them.



Re-planning Sectors

Chandigarh has the distinct advantage that city has been planned, designed and developed on the basis of well defined sectors which are known to be self-contained and self- sufficient in day to day needs. In order to make them self- contained and self-sufficient in the real sense of the term, it will be desirable that they should be made so by adopting a strategy based on decentralisation. Initially, city should take up water supply and sewerage disposal to achieve self-sufficiency. For this sewerage treatment plants must be put at the sector level, which should collect all the used water, treat it and recycle it  to be used by the sector itself. This would not only considerably reduce the fresh water requirement but would also save administration in transporting sullage water through long network of pipe , treat them and reuse them by pumping against gravity. Where economically not feasible, two/three sectors could be combined. Further, it should be made mandatory that up to primary level, all children should be admitted in the sector/ near the sector to minimise large traffic on this account. However, administration must ensure that appropriate number of quality schools are made available in the sector. Accordingly, sector planning needs to be, critically and objectively, looked at to make them self-contained. Local welfare committees need to be actively involved in achieving the objective.

Adopt Ducting Technology

Despite the fact Chandigarh has state of art planning, its services has not been planned and placed in a rational manner. It follows the normal system leading to lot of overlapping, wastage and mismanagement. All the time when any new service is to be laid, it involves lot of digging, wastage and destruction of roads etc. This also leads to disruption of normal life besides loss and injury to human life in few cases. In order to make Chandigarh smart, it will be important for the city to make a road map for effective laying, monitoring and managing its services. All services need to be documented and should be available with local authority for taking appropriate decisions,  when any repair, maintenance is to be carried out or a new service to be laid. For effectively managing all the services, city must adopt ducting technology in which large number of services can be laid in a single duct provided with large number of shoulders/hangers for laying underground services including water supply, sewerage, electricity, cables, wires etc. This would help in rationalising the provision, servicing, maintaining and laying new services without causing damage /inconvenience to operation of services and community. Initially concept needs to be used in the new area and then extended to the entire city network. Cost can be recovered from agencies providing services. This will not only make provision of services but also their maintenance, upkeep and servicing ,highly economical, efficient and effective.


Cities are highly complex entities having large number of stakeholders based on whose decisions they continue to grow and develop in both planned and un-planned manner. To rationalise the cities, it will be critical to make city growth people centric. Making cities smart is an enormous, complex and long drawn task requiring sustained efforts on the part of parastatal agencies and active involvement of communities. However, solutions to make them smart will have to be specific and found locally and not imported or copied from outside. Further, the solutions have to be simple and contextual, which can be implemented easily within minimum timeframe and with minimum cost, benefitting large number of residents. Policy has to be, doing more with less. Chandigarh, being one of the best planned cities, offers most appropriate case-study, as to how to make cities smart. Government of India should leverage the strength of Chandigarh planning, development and management, as the role model to showcase how to make smart cities in the country.  However, Chandigarh still requires large number of actions on the part of administration, institutions, communities and residents for making it smart. Chandigarh needs to change its basic character from a government city to city of people, by changing the focus from administration to people. City needs to create its ownership clearly defining the role of Chandigarh administration and Chandigarh Municipal Corporation to make city people centric, Mayor and Deputy Mayor of Chandigarh should be elected directly for a period of 5 years and not indirectly for a period of one year. City must promote accessibility rather than focussing on mobility. It must shift its emphasis from planning for vehicles to planning for people. It should immediately put in place a incentive based policy to promote green buildings and green communities besides taking up on priority a well defined program to make sectors self-contained and self-sufficient in day to day needs including living, working, services and basic amenities. Adopting this agenda will help Chandigarh in making a smart city in true sense of the word.


  • Takhar Jaspreet; Editor, Proceedings of Seminar Celebrating Chandigarh: 50 years of the Idea; 9-11 January, 1999- Chandigarh Administration,
  • Kant Surya; Chandigarh- Rise Of a Phoenix  From the Trauma of Freedom, Million Cities of India, 2015 unpublished paper
  • Gupta J K; Planning the Capital City of Chandigarh: Problems, Prospect and Lessons, Seminar Chandigarh 2020, Chandigarh Administration, presented paper
  • Chandigarh Administration; Chandigarh Master plan- 2030.


* Author       *Ar.  Jit Kumar Gup

                  Former Advisor (TP)

Punjab Urban Development Authority

Former Director,

College of Architecture, IET Bhaddal, Punjab,