India’s emerging urban moment is caught between two realities: inadequate systems in public transportation, housing, waste management, and access to sanitation and health; and a burgeoning ecosystem of enterprising individuals, communities and start-ups pushing innovative solutions to these very same civic issues. This paper examines India’s urban picture and understands how the urban narrative of crumbling systems and inadequate infrastructure is created. It makes a case of how such narratives often fail to highlight the innovative and enterprising spirit of Indian cities. The paper also seeks to reorient current notions of “rural” and “urban” as distinct categories, and highlights the multidimensional processes of urbanisation. It outlines the emerging challenges and opportunities in India, particularly climate change, sustainability, resilience, and the possibilities of digital technologies. The paper closes by locating platform thinking and design thinking as two pillars of a new thought architecture that will convert the challenges of India’s urban moment into opportunities.