An interview with 2016 Technical Committee Member Mr. Ajay Suri
Mr. Ajay Suri is the Regional Adviser–Asia of Cities Alliance, who is also the TC Member of 2016 Guangzhou Award. Recently, Guangzhou Award Secretariat had an interview with him. Here is what we have discussed.
In the previous cycle of Guangzhou Award where you served as a jury/TC member, which initiative impressed you the most, and why?
Bottom-up planning process adopted by Jakarta City Council whereby residents associations/communities submit on-line development proposals which are consolidated into an annual development plan by the City Hall. It is a replicable innovation in participatory planning for metropolises.
The Guangzhou Award is a platform for sharing innovative experiences in urban development between cities and regions. How do you think the Guangzhou Award can help further communication and exchange of knowledge, expertise and experience between cities and regions?
The Guangzhou Award platform is an excellent initiative for identifying good practices of local governments, global depository of knowledge and facilitated knowledge exchange both virtually and visits. The knowledge dissemination needs to be complemented with technical assistance to facilitate replication of good practices though appropriate localization in support of global agenda – SDG and NUA – and initiatives such as Belt and Road Initiative Cities Alliance (BRICA).
Citizens should be the prime beneficiaries of urban innovation. How can they participate more actively to improve urban governance?
Local governments may build citizens’ capacities ad facilitate their participation in budgeting, local area planning and third party performance audit for effective delivery of development in cities.
In your opinion, how can urban innovation better integrate with the Global Agenda and more specifically the SDGs and the NUA?
Localization of SDGs and NUA and promoting urban innovations to achieve local targets and sustainable city development agenda.
As for urban governance, what new trends do you think there will be in the future?
In the perspective of COVID 19 pandemic, it is clearly evident globally that local governments are playing a key role in managing the spread of infection and mitigating the impacts of disease and consequent lockdown on local communities. This is despite the fact that this is not the mandated role of large proportion of local governments globally. Urban governance structures and institutional framework in cities need to be strengthened to enable local governments to make cities and communities resilient to manmade disasters such as the pandemics and climate change and natural disasters.