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How Greenfield Cities are Shaping Our Future

Posted by Joel Mascarenhas on 15th March 2022

Estimated reading time: 16 minutes

As traditional cities and their surrounding become overcrowded, healthy and sustainable living is becoming more and more difficult. By planning new greenfield cities from ground up we can handle the the rise of rapid urbanisation.

Not only should existing cities plan to become more sustainable, but in the long run they should also plan new and efficient cities for their growing population.

Infographic showing Greenfield smart city

What is a Greenfield City?

A Greenfield city is built from scratch on previously undeveloped land.

Ilustration showing the Greenfield smart city

Greenfield cities often address a specific need such as housing or economic development in a region while also keeping sustainability design principles in mind.

How do you build greenfield cities?

The process of building a greenfield city isn’t simple as it requires a lot of planning, research, and collaboration from government and the private sector to ensure that the city will be successful.

Steps towards building a greenfield smart city:

Infographics describing the 4 steps of building a smart city
  1. Urban Planning
  2. Development Plan
  3. Approvals and clearance
  4. Construction

There are many things to consider when building a greenfield city. The most important thing is to determine how many people will live in the city and what their needs are. Another important consideration is the location of the city. The key to choosing the right site is having access to fresh water, transportation, and food production

Infographics describing the 3 key ingredients while creating a Greenfield smart city
Infographics describing

Elements of a GreenField smart city

Infographics describing the 6 element of a Greenfield city

Greenfields are eco-sustainable urban centers that have been designed to prepare for the future. They keep a balance between nature and urbanity and offer housing and work opportunities for everyone.

Designing and building a community with low environmental impact is a key while building Greenfield cities.

A well-planned city with ICT-enabled infrastructure allows for zero waste, systems for 100 percent recycling & reuse, renewable energy generation, and desalination. These in turn make the cities self-dependent and sustainable in all aspects.

The core elements while planning a greenfield city include:

  • Residential Buildings – Residential neighbourhood
  • Commercial Buildings – Office Space, Restaurants, coffee shops, Retails spaces, community centres, health clinics.
  • Industrial Buildings – Different Industrial spaces such as Coal, Cotton or Textile industry.
  • Schools- Private and Public schools
  • Hospitals – Private and Public Hospitals
  • Parks- Amusement public or private theme parks

Are all Greenfield Cities Smart?

Smart cities are increasingly becoming the focus of urban development and planning around the world. Countries such as San Francisco, Dubai, and Singapore have taken major steps in developing their infrastructure towards become more sustainable.

Skyline of a Smartcity
Photo by Peng LIU on Pexels.com

A smart city has integrated system of information technology solutions, data collection systems for data analysis, and data sharing.

Smart cities can improve the quality of life for their residents by using sensors to monitor:

  • Pollution levels
  • Traffic congestion
  • Noise levels

They can even measure how many people are at a bus stop at any given time!

Leveraging information and communications technology (ICT) smart cities can better engage with their citizens and improve their city services.

Infographics describing the 8 elements of ICT that acts as a brain for a smart city

Being sustainable is the main aim for Greenfield cities. For this reason, they are more likely to use smart technologies in different areas. For example, creating their own energy and water supply rather than relying on external sources. They also have to be sustainable in terms of transportation and living space requirements. However, not all GreenField cities, Smart cities.

What is a BrownField Smart City?

Well you can call a regular city a Brownfield smart city, when the city adds technology and sensors to its current infrastructure to help it make better decisions.

Ilustration showing the transformation of regular cities to brownfield smart cities

By taking into account the impact they have on their surrounding environment, they utilises data to make better decisions. The idea is to implement sustainable and environmentally friendly building practises in order to minimise the impact on their environment. It is a way for cities all over the world to combat the pollution and waste that comes from urbanisation.

How are greenfield smart cities different from brownfield smart cities?

Retrofitting new cities with sensors and new technologies can create brownfield cities, whereas Greenfield cities need to be built from scratch.

Infographics showing the 4 Key difference between the Greenfield and brownfield smart city

Testing new technologies at Greenfield smart cities are much easy. However, brownfield cities must wait for current infrastructure to become obsolete before beginning renovations.

Advantage of greenfield smart city vs brownfield smart city

Infographics describing the 3 key benefits of a Greenfield smart city

Using the latest technologies to be more sustainable than a brownfield smart city. Greenfield tend to have a net positive impact on the environment

  • Low in Operation cost
  • Low maintenance and replacement expense
  • Uses Latest Technology and is more sustainable
  • Positive impact on the environment

Core benefit of a greenfield smart city

By reducing the maintenance and other expenses for the city, Greenfield cities tend to be more economically viable. Moreover using multi-leveled policies greenfield cities can help reduce the total operation costs of their city.

Living in a Greenfield Smart City

Imagine a life where the city can give you back the countless hours you spend traveling to work. By designing smart greenfield cities like Dholera which have a walk to work model. You can be less frustrated with the traffic and have more time to spend with your loved ones.

Ilustration of happy citizen living in a Greenfield smart city

Greenfield smart cities are an optimistic idea for the future. Designing cities that are more focused on being sustainable while also improving public transportation and reducing pollution.

Benefits of greenfield smart cities:

Infographics showing the 4 key experiences of a citizen living in a Greenfield smart city
  • Improved quality of life
    • By providing access to clean energy and reduce pollution with features like sustainable transportation systems, eco-friendly buildings and green spaces.
  • Reduced air pollution
    • By setting up policies that incentivise the use and development of pollution free technologies across the city
  • More productivity and efficient lifestyle
    • Using advanced technologies like virtual reality, artificial intelligence and machine learning to create better experiences for its residents.
  • Reducing the travel time
    • City planners could design cities where residents could walk or cycle to work
    • Building specific areas with high traffic flow to reduce the total commute time.
  • Improved safety
    • Using the Latest Technologies make them to be more safer.
    • Proactive crime prevention and faster emergency services.

How Greenfield Smart Cities are transforming countries like India

An Illustration stating a quote by Abraham Lincoln that states The best way to predict future is to design it

As India’s population grows over the next ten years, the demand for employment will increase at an accelerated pace. To keep up with its demand for employment while still growing its economy. India has wants to build 100 greenfield smart cities that will transform the countries unban planning

India is building a mega project called the Delhi-Mumbai Industrial Corridor(DMIC) at an estimated cost of USD 90 Billion. Along the DMIC, India plans to build its first 8 Greenfield smart cities. The largest of which will be the city of Dholera at Gujarat.

India’s Mission for a GreenField Smart City: 

India wants to improve the quality of life of its citizens based on a few parameters including:

  • Physical and mental health
  • Safety and security
  • Health and education
  • Economic and financial opportunities
  • Education and culture
  • Spirituality and right to personal beliefs
  • Public services and transportation
  • A well-balanced live, work, and play environment.

Building Greenfield smart cities have the potential to maximize these parameters through better planning and design.

India wants to create a new model for urban living while embracing greener technologies and innovative solutions. As India’s population is rises it would need to build sustainable, liveable cities for its citizens to live and work.

Ilustration showing the full form of smart cities

In order to do this, India plans to invest in urban infrastructure and transportation. They want everyone to get around easily and reliably, while also making sure that there are enough schools, hospitals and jobs the residents of its new cites.

Top 5 most Promising Greenfield Smart Cities across the world

We have shortlisted some of the most promising smart cities being planned in 2022. Cities that will have a net positive impact on the environment and its country’s economy. Here’s our list of the best planned greenfield cities across the world.

Dholera, India

Dholera was an ancient port-city in Gulf of Khambhat, that is now being transformed into India’s first Greenfield Smart city and is part of the ambitious USD 90 Billion dollar DMIC project. The project is a dream project by Indian prime minister Sri Narendra Modi. Dholera is a smart city built to result in a sustainable and eco-friendly environment for its citizens. The city also plans to build the largest international airport in India.

Image of Dholera in India
Image Courtesy-

Neom, Saudi Arabia

Neom is planned futuristic city that is being built in the Tabuk Province of northwestern Saudi Arabia. The project is a brain child of crown prince MDS and will position Saudi Arabia as the leader in future manufacturer.The site is north of the Red Sea, east of Egypt across the Strait of Tiran, and south of Jordan.

Image of Neom in Saudi Arabic
Image Courtesy – NEOM

Masdar, UAE

Masdar City is a planned city project in Abu Dhabi, in the United Arab Emirates. Its core is being built by Masdar, a subsidiary of Mubadala Development Company, with the majority of seed capital provided by the Government of Abu Dhabi.

Image of Masdar in UAE
Image Courtesy – CNN Style

Songdo, South Korea

South Korea is ambitious about exporting its advanced smart city technology and experience. It is a smart city or ubiquitous city built from scratch on 600 ha of reclaimed land along Incheon’s waterfront, 30 km southwest of Seoul, South Korea

Image of Songdo in South Korea
Image Courtesy – Business Destinations

Konza Techno City, Kenya

Konza Technopolis, previously called Konza Technology City, is a large technology hub planned by the government of Kenya. It is a large technology hub built 64 km south of Nairobi on the way to the port city of Mombasa. 

Image of Konza in Kenya
Image Courtesy – New Atlas

The story of India’s first Industrial Greenfield Smart City at Dholera

India loosing to Chinese manufacturing

At the turn of the century back in the 90’s China was spending tons of money developing its infrastructure, so that they could attract American and European business. that were starting to look out for cheaper manufacturing destination.

Now India was part of this manufacturing gold rush too but while the west look at India as a great place to manufacture textile, all the high margin high growth manufacturing industries were only looking at China because of their well developed infrastructure.

India knew it couldn’t win this battle in the 90s with its limited resources, but India had a plan brewing to get back its rightful position in global manufacturing.

The unproductive land of Dholera

India had very successful port town a couple of centuries back called Dholera in the state of Gujarat, but over the past few decades the salt waters from the Gulf of Khambhat entered the flat lands of Dholera and made it unproductive for agriculture.

This meant that the state of Gujarat now has a huge land parcel spread across thousands of kilometers that isn’t able to generate any revenue for India.

India’s masterstroke in urban planning

Now India had this massive plan brewing to position itself as manufacturing powerhouse called the Delhi-Mumbai Industrial Corridor that would connect India’s financial capital ( Mumbai ) with its national capital ( Delhi ) via a freight line called the Dedicated Freight Corridor to dramatically reduce the cost of transportation.

Since we’re being honest, India does’t exactly have the best infrastructure when compared to more developed economies like China, but along this DMIC India planned to build new cities with world class infrastructure that would bring in global investors to manufacture in India

Gujarat took this opportunity to utilise the unproductive land it had at Dholera and build on it a new mega greenfield industrial smart city that would be larger than Singpore.

Infographics showing the 4 key benefits of Dholera Smart city

If you’d like to know more, we get in depth on how this new smart city is transforming the economy of India.

What makes Dholera special?

  1. Future proof dig free infrastructure ready planned and constructed for the next  30 year 
  2. Designing world class infrastructure, that exceeds international benchmarks.
  3. Well Planned Walk to work, city layout.
  4. Largest land parcel available in south east asia
  5. Connected to a dedicated freight corridor that will reduce transportation cost and environmental impact.

4 Important Facts you might have not known about Dholera

  1. Dholera has the largest land parcel in south east which makes it the perfect destination for Aerospace and defence manufacturers.
  2. Dholera will be an alternative to pollution-generating cities like Delhi and Mumbai.
  3. The city will have completely integrated infrastructure that includes sustainable transport system and green power generation.
  4. Dholera will have a population of 8 Lacks residents and will be a major manufacturing hub for India.

Conclusion: The Future of Urban Planning is in the Hands of Greenfield Cities

The future of urban planning is not in big cities, the next wave of global growth will come from developing countries that create sustainable cities for its citizen that create a net positive impact on the economy and environment. These new cities will provide a better lifestyle and create numerous opportunities for its residents.

Frequently asked question about Dholera

What is a greenfield smart city?

A Greenfield Smart City is a city built on previously undeveloped land. Since its constructed from stratch they tend to be more sustainble and eco-friendly. 

Which is India’s first smart city?

GIFT City is India’s first fully operational smart city located in Gujarat.

What Is Dholera Greenfield Smart City?

Dholera is India’s first greenfield industrial smart city located in Gujarat. The city is built from scratch on previously undeveloped land and by using the latest technology, the city aims to be a model for the development of sustainable and ecofriendly cities of the future for India.

What are the elements while planning a greenfield smart city 

The elements while planning a greenfield smart city are Physical and Social Utilities Ecological, Operational, and Advance Technologies.

What are best example of greenfield based development?

The best examples of greenfield based development are as Belmont, USA, Quayside, Toronto, Neom, Saudi, Masdar, UAE and to name a few more.

Which is the future city of India?

Dholera will be the future smart city of India.

What are greenfield projects in India?

A greenfield project in India is a project that has not yet constrained by prior work.

What are the upcoming GreenField projects in India?

The upcoming greenfield project in India is Dholera, a smart city that is built from scratch and that results to be sustainable for the environment.

Why are Greenfield cities famous?

Greenfield cities are famous because they are highly sustainable, eco-friendly and built with latest technologies.

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