Building a typology of the 100 smart cities in India

Sarbeswar Praharaj, Hoon Han

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

17 Scopus citations


Purpose: The Smart Cities Mission (SCM) in India is generating significant interest among researchers and policymakers globally. Cities under the SCM, irrespective of their locations, size, capacities or local needs, are heavily investing in technological solutions to improve civic conditions. The purpose of this paper is to build a typology and urban classification system of these 100 smart cities using a series of key performance indicators (KPIs) around urban development and access to public services. The paper also systematically recognises the diversity of challenges facing these cities and assess whether a generic technology-based approach is adequate to address them. Design/methodology/approach: A two-stage statistical process is employed in this typology building exercise – first, a cluster analysis is conducted to classify the selected cities, then a multiple discriminant analysis is used to characterise each classified city. Findings: The urban typology analysis finds that vast disparities remain across India’s urban centres, located in different geographical regions, in terms of access to social capital and physical infrastructure. The KPIs around education, health and social services emerged from the analysis as the most significant drivers in the urban typology building process. The lack of basic community infrastructure, especially in the small-to-medium-sized cities in India, exposes the shortcomings of a one-size-fits-all technocratic smart city development strategy that assumes foundational infrastructure is already in place for technology to take effect. Originality/value: The research methodologies developed in this paper offers a novel planning approach for smart city policymakers to devise place-based smart city interventions, acknowledging diverse cultures and specific community needs.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)400-414
Number of pages15
JournalSmart and Sustainable Built Environment
Issue number5
StatePublished - Sep 11 2019
Externally publishedYes


  • Cluster analysis
  • Smart city
  • Urban typology

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Civil and Structural Engineering
  • Cultural Studies
  • Architecture
  • Renewable Energy, Sustainability and the Environment
  • Building and Construction
  • Urban Studies


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