Solomon Darwin Meets Chief Minister
Chief Minister of Andhra Pradesh & Solomon Darwin

Chandrababu Naidu, the Chief Minister of Andhra (one of the prominent states – also called the rice bowl of India) provided input on the upcoming Smart Cities Course offered in the fall to both Engineering and Business School Students at UC Berkeley. As the course is project based, Darwin was confronted with two options: 1. Take up Vizag City that was selected by the Obama administration for investment as a smart city or  2.Choose to go with the newly proposed green field city called Amaravati that will serve as the state capital.

 

The Chief Minister advised Darwin to explore both possibilities to add a higher learning experience to the students, however Darwin would agree that each city is equally strategic. The new green field city may be easier for the students, as it can be designed from ground up – this will capitalize on the imagination and creativity of the students. An existing city like Vizag presents more challenges of re-engineering of the old infrastructure.

Vizag is the city chosen by the Obama Administration to set the standard and serve as a model for future brown field cities in India. This may offer learning opportunities for students to work with USTDA (United States Trade and Development Agency) that administers the project.

The engineering and business students at UC Berkeley will work with the major corporations involved in building Vizag as well as with the local state and city government officials in completing this semester long project. The deliverables will consist of frame works and suggestions for cost effective technologies. Students will develop apps that create value for the citizens of Vizag. The class will consist of 25 students divided into five teams. Each each team is expected to undertake one or two verticals of the city’s operations that is intended to make the city smart through cost effective and efficient technologies. Decision-making  based on pattern recognition and imitability functions will be taken over by intelligent computers systems. The objective is to reduce cost, save time and provide a better quality of life for the citizens. Students are expected to come up with a unique business model through public private partnership to sustain the cities ongoing operations while adding value to the citizens. Final presentations to the Chief Minister and his cabinet will be made by the students at the state capital in Hyderabad in early January 2016.

Berkeley students are excited about this course as it adds value to one of the most prominent states in India.