Amaravati, the new capital of Andhra Pradesh (AP)—prime minister Narendra Modi will lay the foundation stone later today, on Dussehra—could well be the test bed for urbanisation in modern India. AP which currently does not have a capital of its own is sharing space with Telangana in Hyderabad. Since the AP secretariat needs to move out of Hyderabad in 10 years, AP chief minister Chandrababu Naidu’s plan for a new capital makes eminent sense.

Amaravati, being built on the banks of the Krishna River is India’s first greenfield smart city and could well be the precursor for more such cities. The Amaravati seed capital area (SCA)—as designed by Singapore’s Surbana Jurong—spread over 16.9 sq km with an 8-kilometre frontage on the Krishna, will be the core of the city, housing government offices, business districts and a population of about 3 lakh people.

To build the city spread over 217 sq km—the capital region itself is planned at 7,420 sq km—the AP government has pooled 33,000 acres of land so far. ... Amaravati incorporates many new ideas that are critical for a large city, including transit-oriented development, modern waste collection and disposal mechanisms and maintaining the ecological balance with green spaces. By getting the Singaporeans to help design and build the city, Naidu has given Amaravati a veneer of class. All this while, it has been about conceptualising the city. Once Modi lays the foundation stone, the real work begins, and that includes financing the city over the next 10-15 years.