Conference and Exhibition
HOMEGROWN CITIES: LOCAL CONSTRUCTION PRACTICES IN URBAN INDIA
A CONFERENCE ON AFFORDABLE HOUSING
Date: March 29th (Thurs) – 30th (Fri), 2012
Venue: Sir. J.J. College of Architecture
J.J. College of Architecture
78/3, Dr.Dadabhai Naoroji Road
The conference aims at expanding the scope of affordable housing initiatives in India. For the most, affordable housing has been seen as the result of state interventions responding to the needs of the urban poor. More recently, non-state actors (both profit driven and charitable) have entered the market for the provision of affordable housing. The government is now actively encouraging market driven interventions that cross-subsidize the construction of affordable housing stock.
The Slum Rehabilitation Scheme in Mumbai is an example of this approach where land is released from erstwhile occupied lands in officially designated ‘slums’ through relocating the residents in vertical structures, while providing valuable “transferable building rights” to developers. In other cities developers are directly purchasing cheap land wherever possible and targeting new buyers from the lower middle-class sector who were so far unable to afford housing at market rates. There housing is made affordable by lowering construction costs, minimizing the footprint of individual units and scaling up the size of housing projects.
Yet, expectations are still far from being met, both in terms of quantity and quality of affordable housing. According to some projections India still needs 27 million more affordable housing units and while managing to produce hardly 1 million in the past 10 years. This need is likely to grow to 35 million units by 2025. Even more dramatic is the poor quality of the stock being produced today.
The logic that consists in making housing affordable by reducing the cost of construction has lead to all kinds of malpractices. After a few years in existence, affordable housing blocks typically start crumbling down, leading to rising maintenance cost and lowering real estate value. Very soon they look worse than what they were meant to replace, and ready to be redeveloped themselves.
Between 1997 and 2002, the government and the builders built 500 000 houses in urban India, when in the same time, the people built 8.5 million units in so-called “slums”. This conference will discuss new ways of conceiving, producing, financing and designing affordable housing, which break the self-defeating logic in which affordable housing seems to be locked in today. It focuses on a much-overlooked aspect of Indian cities: the ability of so many neighbourhoods to produce their own affordable housing.
The so-called slums of the city are seen as direct attempts at increasing affordable housing units through a different construction and financial system. Of course the argument takes into consideration many dimensions – legal, political and economic – but also issues about design, the history of urban planning, twentieth century visions of modern cities and other rarely discussed issues that are pertinent to a critical and effective policy and practice about affordable housing.
The conference builds on weeks of pedagogic exchanges with students of JJ College of Architecture, URBZ, leading practitioners from India and abroad and local contractors and masons. They have documented existing construction practices in the neighbourhoods of Shivaji Nagar -Govandi, Bhandup and Dharavi and evolved their own visions through this learning experience. The students’ work that will be exhibited and presented during the conference includes an in-depth understanding of the local construction processes – including physical construction and financial sustainability.
This study opens up the possibility of re-looking at affordable housing in a manner that transcends, statist, private sector and market driven approaches and strives for a realistic and more effective model based on user’s involvement, community networks and local economic dynamics. Can we develop new models? Think out of the box? Support effective affordable housing initiatives as they are already unfolding in our shadow cities? We hope the conference starts asking – and answering – such questions towards this end.
DAY ONE – MARCH 29TH 2012
9:00 – 9:15 am: Registration and Tea
9:15 – 10:15 am: Welcome & Introduction
Affordable Housing Studio at JJ: Towards new knowledge practices
Mustansir Dalvi and Yashwant Pitkar (Sir JJ College of Architecture)
Home-grown Cities: Towards a Paradigm Shift in Affordable Housing Production Matias Echanove and Rahul Srivastava (URBZ/Urbanology)
10:15 – 11:15 am: Keynote Address
Expanding Architecture – Reflecting on Four Decades of Affordable Housing Projects
B.V. Doshi. (Vastu Shilpa Foundation, Ahmadabad)
11:15 – 11:30 am: Tea Break
11:30 – 12:30 pm: Panel Discussion: Crossing Path, Breaking Old Grounds?
Moderator: Rajeev Kathpalia (Vastu Shilpa Foundation, Ahmadabad)
Discussants: B.V. Doshi, Mustansir Dalvi, Yashwant Pitkar, Rahul Srivastava, Matias Echanove
12:30 – 2 pm: Lunch Break
2:00 – 4:30 pm: Students Session
4:30 – 5:00 pm: Tea Break
5:00 – 6:30 pm: Presentations of Best Practices by Upcoming Practitioners
Form Follows Finance: Low-Rise Projects from New Delhi
Marco Ferrario & Rakhi Mehra (Micro Homes Solutions, New Delhi)
Design Perspective for Affordable Housing
Sameep Padora (sP+a, Mumbai)
High Quality Local Housing Production in Shivaji Nagar
Pankaj Gupta (JK Traders Contractors, Mumbai) & Alexis de Ducla (Head of Lafarge Affordable Housing Imitative in India)
6:30 – 7:30 pm: Panel Discussion: Innovation and Co-Creation in Affordable Housing
Moderator: Mustansir Dalvi
Discussants: Rakhi Mehra, Marco Ferrario, Sameep Padora, Pankaj Gupta, Alexis de Ducla
DAY 2 – MARCH 30TH 2012
9:00 – 9:15 am: Registration and tea
9: 15 -11:00 am: Users and Institutional Actors: Perspectives from Nairobi to Ahmadabad
The Work of UN Habitat on Affordable Housing in the World
Claudio Acioly (UN Habitat, Nairobi)
Challenges and Potential of NGO Driven Affordable Housing Production
Bijal Bhatt (Mahila Housing Trust, Ahmadabad)
Strategic Alliances between Corporations and NGOs in Affordable Housing
François Perrot (Lafarge Affordable Housing, Paris).
11:00 – 11:15 am: Tea – break
11:15 am – 12:15 pm: Panel Discussion on the Role of Institutional Actors in Local Affordable Housing Production
Moderator: Amita Bhide (School of Habitat Studies at the Tata Institute of Social Sciences, Mumbai)
Discussants: Claudio Acioly, Bijal Bhatt, François Perrot
Amita Bhide, TISS (Tata Institute of Social Sciences).
12:15 -2:00 pm Lunch Break
2:00 – 4:30 pm: Student Session
4:30 – 5:00 pm: Tea break
5:00 – 7:00 pm: Conclusion: Global Perspectives on Affordable Futures & Inclusive Cities
Affordable Cities, Beyond Housing
Marc Mimram (Architect-Engineer, Paris)
Conclusion and Global Perspectives on Affordable Housing
Michael Bell (Graduate School of Architecture, Planning and Preservation, Columbia University, New York)
Respondents: Mustansir Dalvi & Rajeev Mishra (Principal, Sir JJ College of Architecture, Mumbai)
This session will summarize both the programme as a whole and the conference in particular.
Claudio Acioly (UN Habitat, Nairobi) is chief Housing Policy Section of the United Nations Human Settlements Programme (UN-HABITAT) and coordinator of the United Nations Housing Rights Programme jointly implemented with the Office of UN High Commissioner of Human Rights. He has 27 years of experience and has worked in more than 20 countries as practitioner, technical advisor, development consultant and training and capacity building expert in the field of housing, slum upgrading and urban management and development.
Michael Bell (Columbia University, New York) is an architect and a Professor of Architecture at Columbia University’s Graduate School of Architecture, Planning and Preservation (GSAPP). Bell is the founding Chair of the Columbia Conference on Architecture, Engineering and Materials; a GSAPP collaboration with The Fu Foundation School of Engineering and Applied Science, and the Institute for Lightweight Structures and Conceptual Design (ILEK), University of Stuttgart, Germany. At Columbia, Bell directs the Master of Architecture Program Core Design Studios and also leads the School’s housing design studios.
Bijal Bhatt (Mahila Housing Trust, Ahmadabad) has over 12 years of experience in housing issues for the poor, Bijal is a civil engineer who oversees MHT, a housing services organization promoted by SEWA.
Amita Bhide (School of Habitat Studies, TISS, Mumbai) Amita Bhide is the Chairperson of the centre of Urban Planning, Policy and Governance in the School of Habitat Studies, Tata Institute of Social Sciences. She also convenes the Masters programme in Habitat Policy and Practice. She has been engaged in teaching at the Institute for over 16 years, a former faculty in the School of Social work in the Department of Urban and Rural Community Development. She has been involved in several Committees of the local and state government in addressing issues of housing and poverty. Dr Bhide is the recipient of the Inaugural fellowship of the India China Institute on New School University, New York.
Mustansir Dalvi (Sir JJ College of Architecture, Mumbai) is Professor of Architecture at Sir J. J. College of Architecture, Mumbai. He has post-graduate qualifications in Architecture and Indian Aesthetics from the University of Mumbai. He has lectured, read and published several papers on architectural education and contemporary Indian architectural history. He is particularly interested in the development of Bombay’s architecture during its emergence as a vibrant metropolis.
BV Doshi (Vastu Shilpa Foundation, Ahmedabad) worked in Paris then for four years with Le Corbusier. He returned to Ahmadabad to supervise Le Corbusier’s work. His studio, Vastu-Shilpa (environmental design), was established in 1955. Doshi worked closely with Louis Kahn and Anant Raje, when Kahn designed the campus of the Indian Institute of Management, Ahmadabad. In 1958 he was a fellow at the Graham Foundation for Advanced Studies in the Fine Arts. He then started the School of Architecture (S.A) in 1962. Doshi is a Fellow of the Royal Institute of British Architects and Indian Institute of Architects.
Alexis de Ducla (Lafarge Affordable Housing, Chennai) heads the project for affordable housing at Lafarge, where he has been developing strategies to access the bottom of the pyramid business for the group. He graduated from ESSEC MBA Paris, with a specialization in social entrepreneurship. He has been involved in diverse enterprises from textile to food industry, always looking at the social impact of businesses and empowering through economic activities. He has been living in Chennai for the past ten years.
Matias Echanove (URBZ/Urbanology, Mumbai) is the co-director of the Institute of Urbanology in Goa and a founding partner of the Mumbai-based Urbanology Projects LLP. He is also a founding member of urbz.net, a global collective of urban researchers and activists. He studied economics & government at the London School of Economics, urban planning at Columbia University (New York) and urban information systems at the University of Tokyo.
Marco Ferrario (Micro Homes Solutions, New Delhi) graduated from the Politecnico di Milano. He has been running his own office in Milano and carries experience in residential, commercial and institutional projects from his work in firms in India (Romi Khosla design studio), Singapore (scda architects) and US (CBT architects). He has links with a vast network of international architects, urban planners and designers.
Pankaj Gupta (JK Traders Contractors, Mumbai) is a contractor based in Shivaji Nagar Govandi. He is 29 years old and has studied until Std. 5. He was born in Shahadpur, Ghazipur district, U.P. When he was 13 he came to Mumbai and helped his uncle run a shop selling building materials in Baiganwadi Govandi. He set up an independent shop on rent when he was 18 years old and by 20 he was doing small time contracting jobs, mainly building toilets and kitchenettes. Today, his establishment JK Traders has entered into a partnership with Lafarge Affordable Housing Projects in 2011.
Rajeev Kathpalia (Vastu Shilpa Foundation, Ahmadabad) is visiting faculty at the School of Architecture and the Urban Design program at CEPT, Ahmedabad. He has taught at the Urban Design program, School of planning and Architecture, New Delhi. He currently practices from Ahmedabad and also co-founded Mansar with Radhika Doshi in 1987 – a design Laboratory for experimenting with architecture, urban design, fashion, photography and exhibition design.
Rakhi Mehra (Micro Homes Solutions, New Delhi) is co-founder of mHS and determined to make people and players think more creatively about urban housing and building inclusive cities. A Rhodes scholar and an MBA from Harvard (‘09) she has many years of international development experience with CARE, Ashoka Fellows, Grameen Bank, RABO Bank, Jeffery Sachs’ office at Columbia University. She studied Economics at St. Stephens College, Delhi (2001), and read Politics, Philosophy & Economics at Oxford University (2001-03).
Marc Mimram (Architect and engineer, Paris) is an architect and engineer. He holds a Master’s Degree in Mathematics and graduated as an engineer from the Ecole Nationale des Ponts et Chausées. He founded his own consultancy and architecture-engineering firm in 1981. He is now developing several civil engineering projects and various other structures among which: the New Roland Garros Stadium in Paris, the “Moulay Al Hassan” Bridge in Rabat (Morocco), the architecture school in Strasbourg…
Sameep Padora (Architect, Mumbai) is the principal of sP+a. Having studied Architecture and Planning in Los Angeles & New York, he graduated with a Masters in Design Studies from Harvard University in 2005. Based out of Mumbai and New York, Sameep’s portfolio includes Master Planning, Architecture and Interior Design projects many of which have been featured extensively in design publications in the country and abroad. His approach is marked by conceptualizing designs tailored to the specificity of projects, and through intensive design investigation.
François Perrot (Lafarge Affordable Housing, Paris) works in the Strategy Department of Lafarge, a global leader in building materials, where he is in charge of developing “Affordable Housing” business programs addressing the needs of low income people in emerging countries. He notably developed housing programs in Indonesia, using a micro credit scheme in partnership with NGOs and microfinance institutions. He holds a Ph.D. in Economics from the Ecole Polytechnique, a Master in Management (Grande Ecole) from ESSEC Business School and a Master in Sociology from Sciences-Po Paris.
Yashwant Pitkar (Sir JJ College of Architecture, Mumbai) is a full time faculty member at Sir JJ College of Architecture. He gradated in Architecture from Bandra School of Art in 1977. He worked with Architectural Research Unit from 1977 to 1979 on the project of Bombay Stock Exchange under the Architect C.G.Patel.
Rahul Srivastava (URBZ/Urbanology, Goa) is the co-director of the Institute of Urbanology in Goa and a partner of Urbanology Projects LLP in Mumbai. He is also a founding member of URBZ, a global collective of urban researchers and activists. He studied social and urban anthropology in Mumbai, Delhi and Cambridge (UK).