By Erin Harrison
Urbanization is modernizing many areas of the world that were previously without access to healthcare, education, employment – and technology.
According to Alcatel-Lucent, 60 percent of the world’s population expected to live in cities by 2025, which means that “neo-urbanization” — the transformation of historically rural and typically impoverished areas into cities — will have far-reaching implications and impact, including improved quality of life for countries with exploding populations.
In literally a quest for a deeper understanding of the impacts of all this the Alcatel-Lucent Market and Consumer Insight group has teamed up with IMRB International to piece together the “neo-urbanization” puzzle. The group is traveling across areas of India to better understand the “neo-urbanization” phenomenon in the Indian context and predicting how it will unfold in the next five to 10 years.
In addition, the group is learning how digital urbanization is playing a role in neo-urbanization and in socio-economic development, such as the speed at which people exchange information.
The first stop and live blog entry for the group was Ahmadabad in Gujarat state where they posted their “live research” digital diary on November 29, setting the stage for what are sure to be a rolling thunder of fascinating insights. Ahmadabad was an excellent starting place since it represents the parts of India becoming networked hubs that are oriented and planned around smart functionality and sustainability. It was the home to jungle territory 10 years ago but now supports large concrete buildings with rapid changes occurring on an ongoing basis.
In speaking with native Indians, Alcatel-Lucent has discovered how much life has changed for the better with the advent of wireless technology and other digital advancements that were not available a decade ago. An example of this can also be found in the sprawling development of Gujarat International Finance Tec (GIFT) – a hi-tech city in the making.
On the second leg Valad, an hour drive from Ahmedabad, was the destination to look at a truly rural area on the verge of development where they witnessed the first stages of neo-urbanization.
Next week, the group is heading south to the state of Tamil Nadu, conducting ethnographic research in the cities of: Ahmedabad; Noida and Gurgaon in the NCR; and the city of Coimbatore and rural areas around each of these cities.
You are encouraged to learn more about ALU’s Market and Consumer Insight (MCI) organization’s efforts, and bookmark this page to stay updated on the live research. Read, hear and see what neo-urbanization in India can teach us about the role of ICT in accelerating economic development in a rapidly changing part of the world.