Introducing the Hub: Bringing connectivity and collaboration to Indian cities
By Chhavi Dhingra Mumbai | June 5, 2014
India is home to one of the fastest growing urban populations in the world. Indian cities are expected to grow from 340 million in 2008 to 590 million people in 2030, and with that growth comes significant challenges for the country’s city planners and leaders.
When it comes to sustainable urban transport and city planning, growing Indian cities lack capacity in crucial areas – policymaking, investment decisions, planning and design, service quality, and more. Policymakers, planners, researchers, consultants are all grappling with the need for more credible data and localized information. Students find it hard to acquire credible datasets and analyses for their research due to availability, budget, and time constraints. At times it is not the absence of credible ground-level data, guidance documents and best practices that is an issue, but simply the lack of access to this information or knowing where to find it.
The Hub is designed to meet this challenge.
What is The Hub? The Hub is a free online capacity building portal built to facilitate knowledge sharing, peer learning, and collaboration in the fields of sustainable urban transport and urban development in India. The objective of the Hub is to bridge the existing gaps in individual and institutional capacities, best practices, and ground-level data that act as barriers to making sustainable transport a reality and making Indian cities better places to live.
Rooted in EMBARQ India’s research and areas of work, the hub is the go-to source for accessing research, reference documents, data sets, videos, toolkits, and other ready-to-use resources. The Hub also offers e-learning opportunities through webinars, expert talks, and training materials. It also hosts email discussion groups and social media channels to enable experts and the common citizen alike to learn, connect, contribute, and collaborate.
EMBARQ India currently works with over 15 cities, and has established relationships with officials, decision makers, and key stakeholder groups in sustainable transport. The Hub is intended to be a platform that will disseminate the knowledge and resources related to sustainable urban transport and urban development that EMBARQ India and partners have collected and produced through their engagement with Indian cities.
How does The Hub work? The Hub offers a range of content focusing on the topics of active transport, buses, health and environment, intermediate public transport, mobility policy and planning, road safety, and transit-oriented development (TOD). In the Hub, you’ll find: 1. Publications, academic papers, project reports, presentations and other reference material on sustainable urban transport and planning 2. Data, maps, infographics, and planning documents on urban transport and planning in India 3. Training modules and toolkits 4. Various online and in-person capacity building workshops and events 5. Educational videos and photo sets on various facets of urban transport and planning in Indian cities 6. Mailing lists and discussion forums
Barring the reference documents which are mostly government documents, all of this content content is created and/or curated by EMBARQ India.
Better yet, the Hub continues to evolve, and will look to add enhanced functionalities for e-learning, data sharing, crowdsourcing, peer networking, and many other features over time.
EMBARQ India builds capacity for India’s sustainable urban future
EMBARQ India – through its network of experts – is an established solution provider for building sustainable cities and has actively shaped the dialogue on sustainable transport in India since 2006. EMBARQ India produces foundational publications – like Bus Karo: A Guidebook on Planning and Operations, Sustainable Urban Transport in India: Role of the Auto-Rickshaw Sector, and Integrating Health Benefits into Transport Policy and Planning in India – which provide the necessary baselines for intelligent policy and decision-making.
EMBARQ India has collaborated extensively with India’s national Ministry of Urban Development to build capacity and expertise for sustainable urban transport amongst individuals and institutions in India, already acting as an organizer or trainer in over 80 training courses, workshops, study tours, and seminars on sustainable urban transport targeted at building capacity amongst government officials, institutions, students, the private sector, and NGOs.
EMBARQ India also facilitates talking, learning and mentoring transit workshops with city agencies across India through its peer learning platform Bus Karo Plus. Over 2,500 individuals have been trained directly through classroom training sessions conducted by EMBARQ and partners, till date.
As India’s urban areas grow – and with them the challenges of sustainable urbanization – knowledge exchange platforms like the Hub can bridge the gap between information and action, helping to build thriving, livable cities for India’s increasingly urban population.