Planned Megacities

Tapping India's Urbanization Drive

  • Why it matters

    Why it matters

    As India invests billions of dollars in creating new modern cities, European firms are vying to win lucrative contracts to assist in the effort. German firms like Siemens stand to gain.

  • Facts


    • One million people are born every month in India, a country whose population is already at a staggering 1.3 billion.
    • Most of those people still live in rural areas, but every year, around 10 million people migrate to India’s cities.
    • With the help of European firms, India hopes to build more than 100 entirely new “smart cities.”
  • Audio


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83389818 India Cities Ap Capital BIG
Amaravati, one of India's planned smart cities, could soon be home to as many as 12 million people. Source: Ap Capital

From a rooftop garden in Amaravati in the southeastern Indian state of Andhra Pradesh, shoppers can enjoy a sweeping view of the surrounding metropolis. Trains leave a nearby station on time, their clean windows glinting in the sun as they speed past roads free of suffocating traffic.

What may sound too good to be true in a country famous for its congested streets and crumbling infrastructure, is in fact, still only an unrealized vision. But it’s a vision that the head of Andhra Pradesh’s government, Nara Chandrababu Naidu, hopes to realize within a few years. Amaravati is a planned city on the banks of the Krishna River that stands a critical test of India’s drive to create livable space for its rapidly expanding population. Now, only some 14,000 people live in Amaravati, but Mr. Naidu says the population could soar to 12 million once construction is finished. The city is part of a larger national project, the “Smart Cities Mission,” meant to create 100 modern, high-tech cities, virtually from scratch. A separate project will fund the upgrade of 500 existing cities.

For European firms, India’s ambitious plans for urban modernization represent lucrative opportunities. Overall, the construction of Amaravati is slated to cost some €14 billion over the next 15 years, and Mr. Naidu has already tapped a number of European firms that specialize in the use of technology to prevent traffic jams, keep trains and busses running on time, and to avoid crippling disruptions in the electrical grid.

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