The Smart Cities Mission was launched by the Government of India in 2015. The goal was to create model cities that were citizen-friendly, sustainable, and clean, with great infrastructure to offer the residents an excellent quality of life. The mission was launched as a centre-state collaboration through the PPP route to showcase community development, integration, innovation, technology, and sustainability. This retrofitting and redevelopment mission has remained firmly focused on environment-friendly and sustainable development, which shall serve as the model for urban development for times to come. Nearly 100 cities across the country were chosen for the mission, and the state of Maharashtra has played a central role in this ambitious endeavour.
Since the inception of the Smart City Mission, several cities in Maharashtra have been nominated for redevelopment along the mission charter's guidelines. While several of them have dropped out of the mission, the state government remains committed to its goal of developing vibrant and thriving communities across the state.
Apart from Mumbai, Navi Mumbai and Pune, several cities like Amravati, Aurangabad, Kalyan-Dombivali, Nagpur, Nashik, Solapur, and Thane are booming IT and commercial hubs. This spurt of growth has, in turn, led to planned infrastructural development and a renewed focus on e-governance.
Navi Mumbai's urban landscape
Navi Mumbai is a prime example of urban planning and mixed development in Maharashtra. This smart city is a model that embraces the benefits of futuristic urbanisation. Large commercial spaces, luxurious residential projects, hospitals, malls, educational institutions, wide roads, and expansive green spaces – Navi Mumbai seems to have it all. The upcoming international airport and the Mumbai Trans Harbour Link are just a few of the impressive projects that are contributing to the city's remarkable growth and development. Navi Mumbai started as an extension of Mumbai but has now grown into one of the most impressive smart cities in the country.
Thane's meteoric rise
Thane's organic growth as an industrial town has been overshadowed by the planned development of the city in recent years. Several IT parks have sprung up all over Thane, and this has added a new texture to traditional manufacturing and transport industries. The state government has invested in several road and rail connectivity projects, such as the six-lane Motagaon – Mankoli bridge, the planned underground metro mass rapid transit project, and the Thane-Borivali underground tunnel, which is set to become the longest tunnel in the state. Ongoing work on the integrated cities and revitalisation of lakes and green spaces has seamlessly blended urban development with ecological preservation in the city.
Pune – The Oxford of the East
Pune is known for its sophistication, rich culture, and peaceful environment. With several new businesses, IT parks, and educational institutions coming up across the city, it is now full of young professionals and homebuyers looking for a trendy and upscale lifestyle. The city has become a coveted real estate destination with the expansive Hinjawadi Rajiv Gandhi Infotech Park and the upcoming metro rail system. The city's spectacular infrastructural development has transformed it into one of the premier smart cities in India. According to a recent news report, Pune is the most affordable real estate destination among the country's metro cities.
Smart cities and housing demand
The one major trend that has become evident as a result of the development of smart cities in Maharashtra is reverse migration. As more corporations and businesses are setting up offices in the state's smart cities, homebuyers are moving from the heart of Mumbai to these centres. The boom in housing demand following the end of the COVID-19 pandemic has revitalised the real estate sector. Some of the top builders in the country have taken a keen interest in developing elegant commercial spaces and wonderful residential projects with state-of-the-art amenities and facilities in these smart cities.
The smart cities in Maharashtra are transforming into beautiful and modern centres with thriving communities at their core. Smaller cities like Amaravati, Nashik, and Nagpur are now competing with larger metros in terms of development. The upcoming decades hold much promise for these cities.
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