Key Partners

Indore Smart City Development Ltd. and Smart city mission of Govt. of India



JSIPL’s USAID-funded Building Healthy Cities (BHC) project was implemented in the city of Indore in Madhya Pradesh, India, as part of a five-year cooperative agreement signed in 2017. Apart from India, this multi-country initiative tested healthy urban planning approaches in Makassar (Indonesia), Kathmandu (Nepal), and Da Nang (Vietnam). The project aimed to ensure that health is appropriately accounted for within the urban planning and development context and wherever applicable, collaborate with the Smart City initiative. Three core values of the project were multisectoral collaboration, data- driven decision-making, and community empowerment to address social determinants of health. BHC aimed to produce data that can influence policy decisions and empower citizens to demand better health-related services.

In Indore, India, a Smart Health Working Group was constituted and steered by the CEO of Indore Smart City Development Ltd and the Chief Medical and Health Officer of Indore. The project used a systems approach to identify issues and potential action points in not only health sectors but also other sectors that can influence the health of citizens, including transport, environment, sanitation, education, women and child development, information, and communication industries.

Addressing Gaps and Challenges

  • Home to over 1.3 billion people, and rapid urbanization, India is fast moving towards becoming the world’s most populous country, which adds pressure on urban infrastructure and services and poses challenges related to building institutional and systems capacities for improving and managing public health.
  • As urban populations grow exponentially, the urgency to improve urban health has become a global priority, especially in the wake of COVID-19. Projects like the BHC draw attention to problem areas deep in the urban health landscape and city policy design, leading to equity and data-driven decision-making to improve health outcomes.
Key Objectives

To embed a health equity lens into city policies, planning, and services while improving data flow across sectors.

To adapt and scale urban health approaches by developing dynamic systems maps to generate data.

To document project processes, successes, and failures to bolster global learning on urban health approaches.

JSIPL's Role in Implementing the Project

JSIPL played a lead role in implementing the BHC project in Indore, Madhya Pradesh, and was a technical partner to Indore Smart City Development Ltd. By leveraging its global expertise in public health, JSIPL strengthened tech-enabled coordination in transport, sanitation, education, and the environment to improve access to health services and reduce the disease burden. It engaged Smart City citizens of every demographic so they could have a voice (via citizen reporting systems and participatory research) and be empowered to advocate for the needs of their communities.
With a renewed and dedicated focus on urban planning, the project used a systems thinking lens to define “urban health.” As part of the project, a participatory systems mapping exercise was undertaken, and its findings fed into developing a much-needed coherent action plan.


Achievements Of JSI in HEALTHY CITIES

  • Setting up “Health Promotion Corners” in 148 schools which adopted healthy lifestyles and benefitted from placement of first aid boxes by the Health Department and the holding of online post-training assessments for teachers.
  • Addressing air pollution through community engagement by deploying air quality sensors in slums, schools, traffic congestion points, food streets, and industrial zones.
  • Conducting participatory research in poor urban communities in partnership with the Centre for Urban & Regional Excellence, where poor urban communities were selected and a qualitative and quantitative survey was completed.
  • Harmonizing decision-making on Health and Smart Cities planning to decrease lifestyle and environmental risk factors for poor nutrition and NCDs, reducing the speed of transmissi on during infectious disease outbreaks, and increasing data availability for urban health decision-making.

Looking Ahead

In the future, the project will strengthen citizen involvement and ownership using evidence-based approaches, demonstration models, and innovations.

The project will encourage other Smart Cities to grow while maintaining strong systems to improve citizens& health continuously. Citizens from every demographic will be involved in ways that give them a voice to articulate their views and concerns as they learn to participate in their growth story.