So far our time here in India has been a good mix of days filled with exploring the city and touring the sites, and working hard with our client Viva Group, a company that heavily dominates the real estate space in Mumbai. Our team, Kopri – Smart City, was posed with the questions, “what is a Smart City?” and “how can Kopri Colony become this type of city?”
We were not given much information prior to arriving in Mumbai, so the first week was filled with various client meetings to learn more about Viva and plans for their new development Kopri Colony. We were able to talk with Viva’s Group CEO, VP, the Planning and Development team, members of the American consulate, the town planner of Virar, and several other employees. Before getting to India we had already come up with our definition of a Smart City and had researched a good number of successful and unsuccessful examples. What was left was to find out what Viva believed to be a Smart City, their goals for Kopri and if sustainability and advanced technology were truly capable of being implemented there.
One of the most helpful meetings we had was with the Planning, Development and Construction team. Here we were able to truly learn about Viva’s realistic objectives for the new city. We learned that while sustainability and smart technology are important, the bottom line is to provide affordable housing for the residents. If that is not achieved, Kopri will not be able to generate adequate demand for inhabitation. We were also given details on the size of planned developments in the city and basic infrastructure ideas. One of the major concerns for this piece of land is being able to manage and store runoff from the mountains close by. Additionally, being able to provide access to major systems of transportation such as the nearby rail stations and major highways is vital. This gave us a much better foundation on which to prepare our recommendations. With this new information we are excited to continue with our research and construct our final proposals for Viva Group.