CHENNAI : Does your city have real-time data on how many vehicles are plying on city roads or how much water is generated in the city and consumed by consumers? The answer could be in the negative as policy makers are dependent on secondary data which is old and obsolete, thus hampering key decisions by the government, according to an expert.
Now to resolve this issue, the National Institute of Urban Affairs (NIUA) has tied up with the Madras Chamber of Commerce and Industries (MCCI) to set up the urban observatory in the city. The urban observatory will provide real-time spatial data on various sectors that will enable easy decision-making, according to the NIUA chief project manager Anand Iyer.Iyer told Express that the urban observatory project would be taken up jointly with the MCCI and a steering committee has been set up which consists of MCCI, director of NIUA, along with director, IIT Madras, director of Madras School of Economics and chief planner of the Chennai Metropolitan Development Authority. “The steering committee will be holding key discussions on the project on Saturday,” he revealed.
The project is not government-driven but it will be supported by the state government, he says.
Chennai has helped in structuring the roadmap and defining the urban observatory. It is envisaged to launch a Chennai urban observatory which will contain spatial data on various sectors that will enable easy decision-making.“This will enable urban monitoring to support local planning and governance processes-linking data to policy,” said Iyer.
The entire real-time data will be on a Geographic Information System, he says. Interestingly, the steering committee is likely to discuss whether they are taking a ward of the Chennai Corporation as a pilot project or it would be enlarged further.“It could be anything, from the waste generated in the city to inundation of the city during rains,” he says.The observatory can make Chennai globally visible especially as the Union government is supporting major urban sector investments through new generation urban missions.
City-led envisioning aided by citizen participation
Interestingly, the proposal to have urban observatory in Chennai comes in the wake of the country’s urbanisation taking a new turn through city-led envisioning aided by citizen participation as well as the ICT-enabled governance. This further got support from the UK-India Joint Network on Sustainable Cities.