Sustainable urban development takes center stage at CONNECTKaro 2015
The third edition of EMBARQ India’s annual CONNECTKaro conference (#CK2015) will take place this year in New Delhi from April 15-16, 2015. More than 350 experts—including government officials, policymakers, and practitioners in the fields of urban transport and urban planning—will convene in an international forum to explore the opportunities and challenges for sustainable urban development in India. Several political leaders, senior bureaucrats, business leaders, and experts are slated to attend, signaling that public awareness and concern over the effects of India’s rapid urbanization is growing.
Given the Indian government’s announcement last year to build 100 smart cities across the country, this year's theme of Smart Cities for Sustainable Development is particularly relevant to the current conversation about India’s future. The smart cities initiative includes $1.2 billion in public funding as well as significant private investment to utilize new technology for urban development that is both efficient and responsive to residents’ needs. The conference will also focus more broadly on how improved mobility and access, enhanced urban design, equitable land management, and good financing models can help Indian cities grow efficiently, sustainably, and inclusively, transforming urban life in India.
Introducing the CONNECTKaro Awards 2015
For the first time, EMBARQ India will be presenting the CONNECTKaro Awards, inviting applications from leading and emerging players in the field of sustainable mobility. The theme for this year’s awards is active transport, and the awards will recognize organizations, teams, and individuals who have delivered answers to mobility challenges in ways that are bold, innovative, and impactful. Many cities in India already have high modal shares of active transport, as residents have in the past relied on walking and rickshaw transport. However, given India’s rapid urbanization and rising average incomes, urban mobility leaders are concerned about preserving a strong culture of active transport and constraining over-reliance on private cars. The CONNECTKaro Awards 2015 acknowledge the leaders, activists, and entrepreneurs who are exploring ways to solidify active transport as a staple of urban mobility in Indian cities.
CONNECTKaro is part of a global series of events hosted by the EMBARQ network. Eminent speakers at these past events have included three-term New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg, Curitiba Mayor Jaime Lerner, and Danish architect and thought leader Jan Gehl. 250 participants attended the last edition of CONNECTKaro, with an additional 2,000 joining online.
Here are some of the speaker's highlighting this year's conference:
Mayor Marcio Lacerda from Belo Horizonte, Brazil will speak from his experience improving quality of life in his city. Under his leadership, Belo Horizonte has improved urban transport, public spaces, mobility, and accessibility and changed the urban development paradigm by prioritizing people over cars.
Indian Minister of Road Transport and Highways Nitin Gadkari’s proposed road safety and transport bill incorporates best practices from around the world and includes better regulation, enhanced traffic management, simplified processes, and improved safety for all road users.
Jeff Olson from Alta Planning founded a successful bicycle planning and design consultancy. His public bikesharing business grew steadily and was recently bought by a leading real estate company now responsible for operating 17,351 bicycles and 1,534 stations across ten cities. Olson will speak about his experience of making bicycling a mainstream form of mobility in cities.
Listed as one of Forbes (2012) ‘Richest Green Billionaires’, WRI India Chairman Jamshyd Godrej is committed to making cities liveable and our environment greener by supporting sustainable public transport in India. In 2011, he announced the target of halving the carbon footprint of the Godrej Group of companies.
EMBARQ Brasil’s Project and Operations Director Daniela Facchini will engage in an India-Brasil dialogue. Facchini will focus on national policies that have helped scale up sustainable initiatives in Brasil.