What We Do

City to City Partnership


City to City Partnership

Across the world, cities face similar problems when it comes to urban governance. It is on these premises that the partnerships between local, regional and international cities are based.UMC believes that sharing and exchange of knowledge, expertise and experience have always been effective means of learning.
UMC catalysis change by exchange of innovations, knowledge, expertise and experience aids development of solutions between local governments within India and abroad. We facilitate the exchange of best practices and successful innovations between cities by acting as a guide for recipient cities to adapt the innovations in their own context as per feasibility. In the past we have created successful partnerships among cities and organizations in India, Afghanistan, US and other South Asian cities.

CityLinks Partnership: Indore Municipal Corporation, Madhya Pradesh, India  with City of Garland, Texas, USA 


Client: United States Agency for International Development 

Location: India  

Duration: 2002-2004 

Indore, the business capital of the state of Madhya Pradesh, India a fast developing city with a  population of 19,60,631 (as per Census of India 2011) spread over an area of approximately 526  sq km. With increasing population and rapid urban growth, Indore Municipal Corporation (IMC)  struggled to provide adequate civic services to citizens; IMC also faced issues of tax payments and poor solid waste management. To tackle such urban issues faced by developing cities worldwide through the exchange of best-practice ideas to find solutions to specific issues, International City/County  Management Association (ICMA) developed the CityLinks Programme 2002-2004 with financial aid from United States Agency for International Development (USAID). Under this program, the City of Garland, Texas, US, and Indore City, India agreed to become resource city partners for a period of  18 months to enable Indore to get specific assistance and identify areas of mutual interest in the partner cities. The partnership also gained the beneficial support of the INDO-US FIRE project. ICMA India (now working as Urban Management Centre) was the resource and management organization. 

Indore Municipal Corporation (IMC) along with the City of Garland, Texas identified two issues as focus sectors for the CityLinks Programme. The first issue was revenue generation with citizen communications and outreach with the objective to improve revenue collection and piloting the use of a GIS-based management information system to improve billings and collections. The second issue was solid waste management and designing a landfill site to comply with the Supreme Court guidelines on solid waste management. 

Revenue Generation  

City of Garland officials recognized the need for citizen compliance with regard to taxes and fees in order to increase Indore’s revenues and developed initiatives to address the issue. Then-Mayor of  Indore established a computerized civic centre adapted from a model in the City of Garland. As per IMC data, total revenue increased from Rs 450 million to Rs 750 million in three years through this initiative. Influenced by Garland’s use of Geographic Information System (GIS) to maintain a comprehensive database of information on properties in the city, Indore also contracted out for the development of a GIS system that would computerize its property tax rolls.  Indore followed Garland’s lead in piloting ‘Water  Civic Centres’ to improve the city’s accountability for water services and responsiveness to citizen concerns. The intensive campaign streamlined the redressal of water-related grievances and also helped increase revenues from water taxes. 

Solid Waste Management 

Garland and Indore focused on diagnosing specific solid waste management issues and improvements required to bring Indore’s system into compliance with the directives of the government of India. Garland displayed its solid waste and recycling landfill site to its Indore counterparts during a field visit — Indore also learned about Garland’s solid waste collection system and the city’s financial management plan for its entire solid waste services. Garland officials led workshops for Indore’s solid waste staff on principles of waste management,  including primary collection methods, segregation and recycling, appropriate collection receptacles, loading equipment, and labor needs.  The US city provided assistance in preparing preliminary designs for a new, sanitary landfill site and helped establish management principles to be implemented at the landfill.

For more information contact us at info@umcasia.org 

Citylinks Partnership: Jabalpur, Madhya Pradesh, India with Sacramento Country, California, USA


Client: International City/ County Management Association, United States Agency for International Development

Duration: 2002-2004

Location: Jabalpur

Jabalpur is the third-largest municipal corporation in the state of Madhya Pradesh with a population of 10,54,336 (as per Census of India 2011) spread over 5,211 sq km. A defense and military hub, it is one of the fastest developing cities in the state. However, while the city’s population has grown, the civic services have not developed. Rapid urbanization created inadequate service coverage and poor levels of infrastructure. As in other developing Indian cities, Jabalpur Municipal Corporation (JMC) faced challenges in its efforts to effectively manage its finances and generate sufficient revenues to provide quality public services, undertake long-term planning and increase the involvement of citizens in the local government. Under the CityLinks Programme 2002-2004 developed by International City/County Management Association (ICMA) and funded by United States Agency for International Development (USAID), Sacramento County, California, US was selected as JMC’s partner city. An MoU was signed between the corporations and resource cities to facilitate support in the chosen sectors. 

Municipal Corporation along with Sacramento County, California identified two issues as focus sectors for the CityLinks Programme. The first issue was the management, handling, processing, and disposal of municipal solid waste; the second issue was the planning of urban transport elements to mitigate traffic congestions. 

nullSolid Waste Management Jabalpur Municipal Corporation (JMC) and Sacramento County, California identified goals at the onset of the solid waste management project — improvements in garbage collection, the establishment of regulated waste transfer stations that would reduce the number of trips to the dump, design, and construction of a sanitary landfill site. Officials from Sacramento County shared information about the door-to-door collection, routing, and management practices; public outreach and partnerships to encourage recycling and waste separation at source; design and management of transfer stations and sanitary landfill sites. Arrangements were made to facilitate the shift from manual garbage loading to mechanical loading and grates were installed over open sewers to prevent wastewater from entering sewers thus reducing the need for workers to enter sewers. JMC and Sacramento County worked to create awareness about the importance of safe waste disposal, recycling, and separation of organic and inorganic waste. Sacramento County also provided technical support in planning, siting, and designing regulated waste transfer stations and a new sanitary landfill site. 

null Traffic Management Jabalpur and Sacramento County introduced traffic improvement projects to increase the safety of pedestrians, reduce vehicle collisions by introducing clear rules of the road, and ease traffic congestion at intersections in two pilot areas. The partners selected two chowks (intersections) to pilot the introduction of safety features and improvements – they designed directional and explanatory signs in the two chowks and assisted with the installation of signs at the chosen places. Sacramento County assisted JMC in the development of a public education campaign to educate citizens about changes in traffic management.

For more information contact us at info@umcasia.org 

Citylinks Partnership: Bangalore, Karnataka, India with City of Reno, Nevada, USA


Client: International City/ County Management Association, United States Agency for International Development

Location: Bangalore

Duration: June 2005- 2007

Bangalore, the administrative, cultural and commercial centre of Karnataka, India faced urban planning and governance issues due to rapid urbanization. The International City/County Management Association (ICMA) with funding from the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) developed the CityLinks Programme 2002-2004 with the aim of strengthening municipal management and improving services in selected participating cities. ICMA/USAID selected the City of Reno, Nevada, the US to partner with Bangalore City Corporation, India due to its reputation of being an exceptionally well managed hi-tech city. Bangalore City Corporation (BCC) along with the City of Reno, Nevada identified three issues as focus sectors for the CityLinks Programme. The first issue was preventive maintenance of streets and sidewalks-creation of a road and pavement condition index and setting standards for the development of sidewalks; the second issue was to evolve information management system and Geographical Information System (GIS); the third was to develop a one-stop permit place adapted on the lines of Reno’s model.

nullPreventive Maintenance of Streets and Sidewalks Bangalore then had undertaken capital investment to cope with the city’s rapid growth and the largest investments were done in construction and resurfacing of streets and sidewalks. One of the biggest challenges the city faced was creating a proper operating and maintenance plan for the redeveloped infrastructure. ICMA facilitated a study tour for Bangalore officials to the city of Reno to study their system and methodology. Bangalore then prepared a preventive maintenance plan and created a Pavement Condition Index (PCI) with the help of the City of Reno officials. 

nullInformation Management System and GIS Reno implemented a successful GIS system in their city that enabled city officials to assist Bangalore ineffective implementation and integration of GIS and the Management Information System (MIS) then used in Bangalore. ICMA encouraged Bangalore to share its pilot project on GIS with the decision of standardizing property numbers. The teams prioritized requirements to be underlined in the GIS plan. Reno’s experience helped Bangalore decide the level of implementation of the GIS system in BCC, how Bangalore could enhance its revenues and facilitated solutions to various issues. BCC planned to achieve the inclusion of the management information of four municipal departments. 

nullOne-Stop Permit Place Under the CityLinks Programme, ICMA and Reno helped Bangalore set up four civic centres — adapted from Reno model — which acted as one-stop shops for citizens and helped improve BCC’s interface with its citizens. The purpose of setting up the centres was to provide a one-point office to BCC where citizens could get their documents registered, pay property tax and get their grievances pertaining to civic amenities redressed. Citizens could also get their accounts extracted and apply for transfer of the same at these centres. Bangalore City Corporation made plans to establish a centre for building plan permits in the city.

CityLinks Post-Tsunami Recovery Program in Cuddalore and Nagapattinam, Tamil Nadu, India in partnership with Cities of Florida, USA


Client: United States Agency for International Development (USAID)

Location: Cuddalore and Nagapattinam, Tamil Nadu, India, and Florida, USA

Duration: April 2005 - April 2007


On December 26, 2004, a tsunami destroyed India’s southern coast leaving behind hundreds of dead, damaged property worth millions, and shambled infrastructure. The districts of Cuddalore and Nagapattinam in Tamil Nadu state bore the maximum brunt. In Nagapattinam, 6,065 people lost their lives and 1,922 were reported missing. The death toll in Cuddalore reached 617 and 192 were reported missing. Nearly 2,96,000 people in both districts were directly or indirectly affected by the disaster. To assist with the recovery process, the International City/County Management Association (ICMA), with financial support from the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) launched the CityLinks Post-Tsunami Recovery Program. The CityLinks Program brought together city practitioners of Palm Bay, Palm Beach Gardens, Port Orange, and Oldsmar, Florida (US) with city officials of Cuddalore and Nagapattinam to share resources and technical expertise to improve the lives of urban residents. 

This program was supported by UMC, in partnership with representatives from Florida analyzed the technical assistance needs and implemented various pilot projects to aid recovery of Cuddalore and Nagapattinam. The partner cities selected target areas in the two cities for technical assistance — CAD mapping, financial management strategies, improved water supply services, flood mitigation, playground, and park redevelopment.

CAD Mapping: UMC realized that the implementation of plans for the physical improvement of cities is possible only with updated topographical and land use maps. Officials from visiting US cities realized that both Cuddalore and Nagapattinam had ancient maps. Satellite images of the cities were procured, interpreted, and verified. Local government officials provided old maps of the cities to verify details of municipal wards and boundaries. Florida officials trained local government officials in the usage of AutoCAD to develop an interactive and vibrant mapping system.

Financial Management Strategies:  UMC/ICMA targeted re-engineering of financial procedures and systems of the two cities and worked to reconcile accounts of property tax, water charges, and professional tax. Following an extensive survey of existing properties in Cuddalore, UMC/ICMA and the US delegation along with local government officials undertook identification of new properties. The survey helped update the database with over 10,000 new properties and also revealed vital information about the number of properties escaping the tax net due to lax officials. The restructuring of the financial system gave the cities over 75% increase in their assessments with over $800,000 in back taxes collection and $540,000 collected subsequently from other cities.

Improved Water Supply Services:  UMC/ICMA improved access to and quality of drinking water. The overall objective of the water improvement programs at Cuddalore and Nagapattinam was the improvement of the existing water supply system in relation to quality and quantity of water provided to each user by the municipality; improvement in access to information for citizens and increase transparency in urban governance for better service delivery. UMC/ICMA conducted a survey of citizens to determine why some residents of both cities did not connect to the municipal water system followed by a water testing study at the end-user level. The team also procured 13 and 12 pressure gauges for Nagapattinam and Cuddalore respectively and installed them to enable monitoring of water supply pressure. To protect the consumers from health risks, the team installed a 4kg capacity chlorinator with 2 cylinders (one as standby) with auto change over the system for each town to ensure a better quality of water. The CityLinks team then developed a public awareness campaign to educate citizens about the actions undertaken by municipal corporations of Cuddalore and Nagapattinam following the survey to convince citizens about the quality of water. At the end of the program, almost 20,000 citizens in each of the cities had access to safe drinking water.

Flood Mitigation: Cuddalore and Nagapattinam’s infrastructure decay increased due to the lack of a proper, implementable flood mitigation plan. The objective of the CityLinks project was to build the capacity of the two cities to mitigate the impact of future floods resulting from heavy rains, storm surges, and tsunamis. In order to reduce the risk of flooding in Cuddalore and Nagapattinam, the CityLinks team, in consortium with local stakeholders, local consultants, and Florida partners designed city-specific plans for mitigation of flooding. UMC/ICMA facilitated the study, development, and implementation of stormwater drainage and ditch maintenance plans. The team cleaned drainage sites in low lying areas in both cities, with 750 running meters of drainage cleaned in Cuddalore. In Nagapattinam, interconnections for 12 of the city’s historic retention ponds were cleaned, which has allowed for water to flow more freely. Flood prone areas were identified through updated base maps and the capacity of Cuddalore and Nagapattinam to mitigate the impact of future floods resulting from heavy rains, storm surges, and tsunamis were strengthened.

Playground and Park Redevelopment: The tsunami destroyed all community interaction and recreational spaces. Municipal officials from both cities expressed the need for rebuilding recreation spaces specifically for children to help them overcome the trauma of the disaster. The cities and partners felt that projects must have participation from the community so as to help the people overcome their tragedies. The CityLinks team designed and built community playgrounds in Cuddalore from 17-21 January 2007 and in Nagapattinam from January 24-28, 2007. Designers visited the two cities for creative planning and drawing sessions and face-to-face meetings with parents, teachers, school administrators, and other interested community members. The CityLinks team organized a Design Day followed by a brainstorming session to finalize the designs of the playgrounds. Following the finalization of the design drawings, a community-build process was initiated where volunteers of all ages worked side by side for the five-day construction activity.


Related Resource Documents 

For more information contact us at info@umcasia.org 


Mainstreaming HIV-AIDs Programs with City-City Partnership between Visakhapatnam (Andhra Pradesh) and Ahmedabad (Gujarat)


Client: USAID & Family Health International (FHI) Delhi

Location: Visakhapatnam

Duration: June 2006 

UMC’s flagship campaign under its Urban Health Initiatives is the HIV/AIDS response program. Under this program, the cities of Ahmedabad and Visakhapatnam joined hands to bring about a positive change in HIV/AIDS prevention. With the funding from the USAID and Family Health International (FHI), with support from UMC, Ahmedabad helped Visakhapatnam integrate, mainstream, and implement strategies within its City Development Strategies. UMC’s efforts included, with Theater Media Centre’s (TMC) help, documenting case studies of city governments undertaking HIV/AIDS prevention strategies. City governments were involved by facilitating their access to the new measures taken on the front. As the partnership progressed, the link between the two cities grew stronger. The cities continued their partnership against HIV/AIDS even after the stipulated partnership period. UMC provided support to enhance the capacities of Visakhapatnam to integrate, mainstream, and implement HIV/AIDS programs within the City Development Strategy.

UMC documented case studies of city governments undertaking HIV/AIDS prevention programs. It helped the city government council’s access to experiences and learning. It also helped strengthen the partnership and the capacity of Visakhapatnam Municipal Corporation. UMC facilitated dialogue between cities, mainly through the following methodology.

Documenting case studies of city governments undertaking HIV/AIDS prevention programs 

Identifying and facilitating sharing and transfer of learning to city government councils

Strengthening the capacity of Vishakhapatnam Municipal Corporation to develop HIV/AIDS program 

The cities have committed to continue their partnership aiming towards more sustainable interventions against HIV/AIDS. UMC’s program highlights that city government officials can help people fight stigma and facilitate an open community discussion about the real/immediate impacts of HIV/AIDS as they have direct access to mechanisms/ vehicles, infrastructure, and mandate to deliver prevention programs. 

With support from AMC, UMC, Ahmedabad AIDS Control Society, Vishakhapatnam launched the Vishakhapatnam AIDS Control Society (VACS) on June 13, 2006. The setting up of the Vishakhapatnam AIDS Control Society (VACS) was the first time ever in India that an AIDS control society was launched with the initiative of a city government.

Related Resource Documents 

For more information contact us at info@umcasia.org 


City Link Projects

CityLinks Partnership Indore Municipal Corporation, Madhya Pradesh, India  with City of Garland, Texas, USA 

Citylinks Partnership: Jabalpur, Madhya Pradesh, India with Sacramento Country, California, USA

Citylinks Partnership: Bangalore, Karnataka, India with City of Reno, Nevada, USA

CityLinks Post-Tsunami Recovery Program in Cuddalore and Nagapattinam, Tamil Nadu, India in partnership with Cities of Florida, USA

Mainstreaming HIV-AIDs Programs with City-City Partnership between Visakhapatnam - Andhra Pradesh and Ahmedabad - Gujarat