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Upgrade of Public Housing Neighborhoods

As cities in the developing world grow, private and public housing estates for former slum and pavement dwellers are increasing. In India, more than two decades after the completion of the first public housing projects, questions are being raised about their livability. Roofs are leaking and rainwater drainage and waste management systems are inadequate. Clean water, light and ventilation inside apartments and common areas are scarce. Outside, there is a lack of green space and open spaces for children and adults. These issues affect everyday life and cause significant health challenges.

CDA has been working with the residents of Natwar Parekh Compound (NPC), a resettlement colony in in the eastern suburbs of Mumbai, since 2016 to understand the implications of ill-thought planning on the present and future of the community and work with them to find solutions that can trigger transformation of their spaces. The project uses design and planning as a tool to address the issues of a socially, economically and spatially marginalized community. 

Through discussions and interventions with the residents and other stakeholders, CDA has learnt that residents are keen to explore options to upgrade their existing homes and spaces to improve the living environment.

In NPC, open spaces make up less than 18% of the area, most of which is encroached by water tanks, parking spots or makeshift commercial setups. What has essentially been redeveloped for the people is only the physical structure and amenities, serving a blind eye to the inhabitants quality of living and their social bonds. This lack of common spaces for play, leisure and other common activities across age groups has an impact on the community. Through design and social interventions led by the residents of NPC, we are attempting to demonstrate the potential in such spaces that will help the people recreate their sense of collective ownership. Click here to see our photo essay on the design interventions.