Transforming Cities
Okapi's work in this area has focused on strategies for government and other stakeholders to build informational, administrative, project management, and monitoring capabilities to deliver environmentally sustainable, high-quality infrastructure and services. A few of our recent projects are listed below. Okapi experts have extensive research and consulting experience working in India and internationally on contract design, regulation, public investment practices and legislation across a number of infrastructure sectors and delivery mechanisms including solid waste management, transport, public-private partnerships, and e-governance in particular.

Jessica Seddon

Founder & Managing Director

Auralice Graft

Expert in sustainable waste management at community and urban scales

Venkata Santosh

Infrastructure project management and governance, Sustainable infrastructure projects

Anjali Neelakantan

Senior Research Associate

Amber Luong

Lead Researcher - Infrastructure and Environment

Vivek Ashok Sakhrani

Senior Consultant, CPCS Transcom Inc.

Ayushman Banerjee

Senior Research Associate

Krishna Kumar

Senior Research Associate
Strengthening the Institutional Framework for In-Use Vehicle Emissions Testing

Client - Shakti Sustainable Energy Foundation

Okapi worked with TERI and the Shakti Sustainable Energy Foundation to analyse the institutional framework for vehicle emissions testing at the national and state level in India. We developed a variety of institutional design upgrades to strengthen the in-use inspection and maintenance regime.

Building Urban Resilience: MSME Perspectives

Client - Mercy Corps International

Okapi undertook a system analysis of the infrastructure and business climate factors that contributed to the socio-economic impact of Chennai's 2015 flooding on micro, small, and medium enterprises. The project identified a number of short, medium, and long-term actions that policymakers, regulators, business associations, and individual firms could take to build greater resilience to future natural shocks. The project was supported by Mercy Corps International and we worked closely with Madras Chamber of Commerce and Industry and the TANSTIA-FNF Service Centre to identify and interview firms.

Public Private Partnerships: Designing for Flexibility

Client - Kelkar Committee on PPPs

Background paper on institutional design options to enable more flexible PPP contracts that are better able to survive negative shocks and capture value from positive surprises.

Moving Around: Strategies for Minimizing Livelihoods Shocks After Resettlement

Client - International Growth Centre - IGC

This project will explore policy and implementation strategies for reducing the livelihoods disruptions associated with resettlement. It will use a combination of surveys and focus group discussions to a) understand employment and entrepreneurship trajectories among households moved from central Chennai to resettlement sites on the periphery of the metropolitan areas; b) identify the specific challenges and potential opportunities that geographic relocation create; and c) develop a better understanding of the actual and potential effectiveness of strategies to minimize the disruption to livelihoods that relocation is generally associated with.

Metrics, Monitoring, and Motivation: Contracting for Solid Waste Management Services in Chennai

Client - IIHS

Writing a case study on contract design for solid waste management concessions in Chennai. The report focuses closely on strategies for specifying, monitoring, and rewarding performance in order to ensure service quality as well as compliance with environmental norms in a sustainable partnership.

Institutions for Transport Governance

Client - Prime Minister's National Transport Development Policy Committee (NTDPC)

Okapi experts drafted background papers, case studies, and analysis of institutional design options for national, state, and urban transport governance in India. Our contribution to the Committee's report considered various aspects of governance, from strategic planning to public investment monitoring.

Indo-California Air Pollution Mitigation Programme

Client - UC San Diego

Okapi experts worked with an interdisciplinary group of researchers and policymakers from The Energy And Resources Institute (Delhi), California Air Resources Board, University of California, San Diego, and various state governments in India to develop an action plan for reducing transport-related air pollution. Okapi's contribution focused on institutional design for implementing the recommended policy and governance measures.

Beyond Off Grid: Integrating Mini Grids with India's Evolving Electricity System

Client - Shakti Sustainable Energy Foundation, Asha Impact and The Rockefeller Foundation

India has ambitious targets for providing electrification to all its villages by May 2018 and 24x7 power to all households by March 2019. Part of this goal will be achieved by expansion of the national grid, as well as the amount of power that flows through it. But it will also require an expansion of off-grid electricity provided by private energy service companies (ESCOs). These companies, often small and medium enterprises operating in rural areas with unreliable or no grid electricity, provide a range of services from generation and distribution to user services and maintenance through mini-grids, often based on renewable energy (solar or biomass). This report addresses the policy, regulatory, and market infrastructure needed for these two sets of electricity providers -ESCOs and the national grid – to co-exist and collaborate to accelerate energy access.

Air Insight: A Hybrid Civic Network for Air Quality Information in India

Client - Shell India Markets Pvt Ltd

Okapi has been engaged by Shell India Markets Pvt Ltd. to identify ways to support a sustainable energy transition as India urbanizes. After comprehensive research and stakeholder interaction, we have identified a small set of initiatives that could catalyze policy, private sector, and community efforts toward adoption of lower emission, more efficient, energy sources and use technologies. Air Insight is one of the initiatives. Public awareness about the hazards of air pollution is on the rise, as is willingness to pay for mitigation and avoidance. Political will to act to reduce emissions is also increasing. The information base to direct this momentum toward cost-effective and efficacious action, however is lacking. India’s monitoring network is limited to larger cities, of which only a few have high enough resolution data to provide accurate neighborhood-level readings. Source apportionment – linking air pollution to its sources - is similarly limited and there are contradictions between extant studies. Civil society, citizen scientists, and academics are contributing additional data, but these observations vary in quality and often remain in silos. Our goal is to provide a scalable infrastructure upon which this knowledge base can be built. We aim to build a platform for aggregating and integrating various data streams as well as leveraging developments in data science to help draw out additional insights from the fast-growing population of low-cost sensors. In doing so, we aim to enable citizens, communities and policymakers to make more informed, efficient, innovative decisions to reduce ambient air pollution and avoid exposure. The vision is that such efforts to improve air quality would accelerate India’s transition to a more sustainable energy profile including primary mix, technologies for use, and emissions controls.