Traditionally, architects have contributed little to housing for the Third World urban poor. Those who opt to work for the poor need to rethink their roles; the numbers are overwhelming, the issues complex and the resources are very limited. One solution is to use land as a resource to produce housing for the urban poor, by allowing them access to it to build their homes. A study was conducted of such initiatives in a case study in India: The Aranya Housing Project, completed in 1988 and considered a model project.
Indore, India in the early 1980’s was facing a shortage of Housing. It had been estimated that approximately 51,000 families were homeless or living in illegal settlements. The Indore Development Authority initiated an affordable housing project for 60,000 people that would tackle this issue and at the same time be affordable to the government and urban poor. Previous efforts by the government to provide low-cost urban housing in India were aimed at supplying ready-built units. However, it took too long to construct a complete house and it became expensive for the low income group and also ate up too many resources.
A rectilinear site of 86 hectares was designed to accommodate over 6,500 dwellings, largely for the Weaker Economic Section. This was an integrated approach for ‘a sustainable society’ where the mix of different economic levels of society could stay together.
Balkrishna Doshi, the winner of this year’s Pritzker Prize for architecture doesn’t talk just about his buildings. This architect, urban planner and educator talks about how his buildings aim to foster a sense of community, how space can promote inner peace, how cities can contribute to the health of a society.
Considered a pioneer of low-cost housing, Mr. Doshi, 90, is thrilled to have been awarded the 2018 Pritzker Prize, architecture’s highest honor, which was announced on Wednesday. He is the first laureate from India, and worked with the 20th-century masters Le Corbusier and Louis Kahn.
Mr. Doshi has been consumed with larger issues like social good and sustainability. And he bemoans a culture and profession that he sees as overly concerned with the bottom line. “One is all the time looking at financial returns — that is not only what life is,” he said. “I think wellness is missing.”
What Mr. Doshi means by “wellness,” he said, are considerations like how we can “connect with silence”; how “life can be lived at your own pace”; and “how do we avoid the use of an automobile.”
The architect has brought this type of philosophical thinking to projects like his Aranya Low Cost Housing in Indore (1989), where more than 80,000 low- and middle-income residents now live in homes ranging from modest one-room units to spacious houses, with shared courtyards for families.
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Just seen this posted on LinkedIn and thought I better share. The concept can be done anywhere in Canada that has local authorities who see benefits in building communities and who see the value in creating opportunities for young (and not-so-young) people to share their resources. As land prices have become out of reach for new people to get into farming and sustainable living, we need to be open to new (old?) ideas.
We are currently testing out some new looks and e-commerce programs for our upcoming Marketplace. Please excuse the mess. :-). No products are available for sale just yet. Please let us know what you think. Dismiss