Monday, June 25, 2018

Roundtable Meeting of AIIB (Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank) on Sustainable Cities

I am now in Mumbai, since yesterday evening. This is in response to an invitation from Dr. Joachim von Amsberg, AIIB Vice President for Policy & Strategy. Details of the event can be seen at

The roundtable conference on Sustainable Cities took place today morning at Mumbai. Experts from Sri Lanka, HongKong, China, Singapore, Korea and India (that was me) spoke. They were interested in   focusing on how AIIB could better support infrastructure development in cities. They invited two groups of stakeholders, including senior city representatives (i.e. vice mayor for finance) and senior practitioner experts (e.g. CEO of HK MTR, VP of Shanghai Municipal Investment Corp, Veolia, and Korea Public and Private Infrastructure Investment Center). AIIB hopes to use the roundtable opportunity to establish first contact with the cities, and followed by continued interaction to explore possible collaboration. Details can be seen in the link above.

Lady opposite to me is Mayor of Colombo

Right: Vice President of AIIB
AIIB said they wanted to be different from World Bank, ADB etc and so wanted to understand new approaches including looking at city level models that have been successful. I narrated the journey of New Town and indicated how it was progressing towards a green city, an IT city with Silicon Valley. I suggested that AIIB could look at technology, electric cars etc and also mentioned that a pre-feasibility study for Monorail has been done. I invited Vice President to visit Kolkata.

I mentioned that New Town was a qualified Smart City among the 100 smart cities of India, that it was a Solar City designing to cut down carbon emissions, a Technology City with Fintech Hub and Silicon Valley Project launched, an inclusive city with care for the young and old, a densified city with additional FAR for optimum utilization of land, and was trying to, with IIT, move towards a Happy City. I invited AIIB to consider funding of technology infrastructure - including high speed broadband, electric vehicle charging network,  and monorail.

In the afternoon follow up, I learnt how shops and well-lit bus stops add to a feeling of security in deserted streets in some cities, and how, in these days of easy movement of capital and workforce, the quality of life and social infrastructure make investment decisions sway one way or the other.

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