Lucknow-From Art City to Smart City

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Dr. Binti SinghThe Smart City Mission of Lucknow, launched in 2014, charts out new pathways providing pan city solutions and area based development just like in the case of other cities of India through green field, redevelopment or retrofitting solutions that calls for each city to prepare specific Smart City Plans (SCPs) based on its particular context.

Once approved from the Centre, such SCPs acquire funding from the central government in New Delhi to implement their desired strategies for urban development. Lucknow’s SCP is based on the following vision: ‘Lucknow Smart City aspires to leverage its culture and heritage by investing in inclusive and transformative solutions that enhance the quality of life for its citizens’ (Source: Executive Summary Smart City Proposal official website accessed on 17th September 2016).

On the description of contemporary Lucknow, an official remarked:

We would like to brand Lucknow as a “smart heritage city”- a city that has a rich historical and cultural legacy and is also modern in terms of physical and social infrastructure, greater connectivity, advanced information technology with free Wi-Fi zones and a safe environment for tourists.

There are two kinds of smart city solutions that are planned for Lucknow.

  1. Area based development with retrofitting solutions as is currently operational in Qaiserbagh in the inner city of old Lucknow.
  2. Pan city solutions pertaining to various areas of the urban economy like waste management, transport and traffic, water and sanitation. These essentially pertain to Information Technology (IT) and digital solutions, and e governance.

The pan city solutions are explained in the diagram below.

Smart city blueprint of Lucknow

The Smart city blueprint of Lucknow stands on four pillars:


This refers to basic infrastructure to meet the demand and supply gap in a proactive approach. A holistic transformation across infrastructure delivery to provide better quality of life will be carried out in a phased manner.


Traffic and transportation have emerged as major themes for city wide interventions. Smart solutions will be implemented in the city in sync to area based development. Smart solutions like smart bus shelters, smart parking solutions will seek to provide better movement of traffic, encouraging walkability and cyclability for commuters’ ease.


Sanitation, the eradication of open defecation, solid waste management, pollution, unorganised and inaccessible open spaces have been identified for  smart interventions.


Harnessing on its heritage, culture, handicraft, cuisine and connectivity to generate economic opportunities, conserve the city’s unique culture and showcase it to the world.


All four strategic focal points- JEEVANT LUCKNOW, SUGAM LUCKNOW, SWACHH LUCKNOW and SAMRUDDH LUCKNOW are envisioned as part of single strategy with components embedded in both Pan City and Area Based Development.

Revitalisation of Qaiserbagh Heritage Precinct

A city based heritage conservation architect Asheesh Srivastav had prepared the Heritage Development Plan of inner city areas of old Lucknow way back in 2010-11.

This Plan covered monuments, havelies, gardens, palaces, colonial cemeteries, schools, churches and clubs that render Lucknow its unique idenity. Picking the threads from there, the present day Smart City Plan focuses on revitalisation of the heritage precinct in Qaiserbagh in the inner city of old Lucknow. This comes under the Area Based Development of the Smart City Plan currently operational in Lucknow.

According to Srikant Jain, Transportation Planner, Smart City Project, Nagar Nigam Lucknow:

The revitalisation of the Qaiserbagh heritage precinct comes under the category of Area Based Development. But we do not believe only in retrofitting solutions and restoring the old monuments in the precinct. Rather than focussing on the spot solutions only, we are aiming at creating greater mobilities and linkages of the larger precinct which symbolises Lucknow’s historical and cultural legacy.

This place represents 500 years of history, from the times of the Mughals, Nawabs, French and British colonial rule when Awadh reached its pinnacle and evolved as the high seat of culture in the East. The idea is to recreate the Oriental experience complete with cobbled pathways, facade upliftment, landscaping, widening roads, better lighting, garbage disposal, sewage and drainage, greater connectivity through roads and public transport. We have networked with experts like historians, Conservation architects, citizens and taken their views while developing this Plan.

The Lucknow Management Association, a prominent citizens’ group comprising eminent people from the city have been instrumental in sharing their inputs. We had 16 public meetings through various stages of the preparation of the draft of the Smart City Plan of Lucknow, created a huge team of more than 60 people, installed apps and websites to ease the interface with people. We have also interacted with institutions like the INTACH, Department of UP Tourism, and ASI.

(Views expressed in this article are of  Dr. Binti Singh, an Urban Sociologist who researches and writes on cities)

To read about her work please visit drbintisingh. com
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