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housing of india most sustainable in the world?







g of


abstract location

climate geography socio political culture transit

base housing casestudy one casestudy two casestudy three work cited


Rapid growth and many years of disregard have brutally stressed and have made many towns and cities of India derelict. This phenomenon is blatantly visible in the underdeveloped infrastructure such as sewerage, access to clean water, effective health care, transportation infrastructure, and other basic necessities a developing nation should have. All of these things have made cities within India unlivable, prone to disasters, and also at the same time extremely polluted making it very unhealthy. Since cities and towns are crucial to India’s economic growth it is crucial that towns and urban developments are created to be livable, smart, economically viable, socially sound, and ecologically responsible. Since the urban sprawl of India is extremely important to the world in terms of sustainability, Indians I believe have an extremely sustainable way of living and culture and housing have a lot to do with it. Globally the human population of the planet is rising close to the rate of 75 million per year or to put it into perspective one hundred forty one people a minute. The growth of population within urban areas alone is seventy five million people a year. Urban areas globally will account for two thirds of the human population. India is one of the oldest countries and has one of the greatest civilizations to ever exist on the planet. Four religions were given birth in India: Buddhism, Hinduism, Jainism, and Sikhism. India is also the largest democracy in the world with holding almost twenty perfect of the world’s population at over one billion people. India being a diverse country with a lot of different cultures, mindsets, languages, religions, and most importantly way of thinking, the urban planners have an extremely hard time trying to overcome challenges to create a singular design to satisfy all ways of thinking.


India holds an extremely diverse population both socially and economically. The population of India speaks over fourteen languages with over fifty one hundred dialects. The country practices over six major religions, Hinduism being its most popular but Islam being extremely prominent as it houses one of the highest amount of Islamic populations globally. Being extremely diverse and having an incredible demand for urbanization creates a need for having an extremely careful development that addresses a wide variety of diversity. As Indian cities become the gateways to the country’s economic growth and opportunities, the cities are only two percent of the landmass but are contributing to the GDP by sixty five percent. Due to the high rise in the GDP that has been produced it has made urbanization with the country much more prevalent and in demand. In two thousand, three hundred and five million Indians lived in over three thousand seven hundred towns and cities across India, compared to only thirty percent that lived in urban areas in nineteen forty seven when the country gained its independence. In the last fifty years the population of India has roughly grown by two and a half times, but urban areas within India has grown by five times. This makes India have the second highest urban population after China. Result of this will make existing cities larger and many new cities and towns will be born at an extremely rapid pace.

India’s astounding diversity of religions, languages, and cultures is unique and unparalleled. The society of vast subcontinent, varied and complex in its rich heritage, is among the oldest in the world. Culturally diverse and complex, with mainly rural, traditional, and agrarian population, India now is also a major industrial power experiencing rapid urban growth and rural-urban migration. It is a nation undergoing significant political, economic, and social change, while at the same time struggling to maintain many of its traditions and customs. India today is unfolding a story of a billion plus people, or more precisely, one sixth of the world’s population, on a big move as India's large and complex systems rapidly moving top-down and the country emerge as one of the fastest growing economies of the world. The shadows of a vibrant consumer society are taking shapes and urban population is exposed to massive change in life style, consumption habits, and cultural conditioning.1


India is characterized by a hot tropical climate which varies from region to region. The winters fall between November to mid-March and summers from April to June. Northern India remains dry, dusty, and unpleasant during the summer months. The nature of monsoon, which lies between mid-July and September is erratic where some areas experience heavy rains the others experience drought and still others get flooded. The temperature varies from 65F to about 115F on various days and seasons. The climate affects the local economy greatly because when the monsoons do occur they do tend to do a lot of destruction and also make people stay inside due to the high rate of disease spread rate.


The geography of India is diverse and can be divided into three main regions. The first is the rugged, mountainous Himalayan region in the northern part of the country, while the second is called the Indo-Gangetic Plain. It is in this region that most of India's large-scale agriculture takes place. The third geographic region in India is the plateau region in the southern and central portions of the country. India also has three major river systems which have large deltas that take over a large portion of the land. These are the Indus, Ganges and Brahmaputra rivers.


x Poverty is at a all time hign in India, 42% of the poor live in India. Due to the extremely high poverty rate homelessness, slavery, and riots over religion and small land happen all the time. This is a huge social issue that is connected to religion aswell as the politics because the political parties are also connected to each specific religion.


The culture of India is among the world's oldest, reaching back about 5,000 years. Many sources describe it as "Sa Prathama Sanskrati Vishvavara" — the first and the supreme culture in the world. India is a very diverse country, and different regions have their own distinct cultures. Language, religion, food and the arts are just some of the various aspects of Indian culture. India has 28 states and seven territories, and each has at least one official language. India is identified as the birthplace of Hinduism and Buddhism. A huge majority — 84 percent — of the population identifies as Hindu. Indian cuisine is known for its large assortment of dishes and its liberal use of herbs and spices. Cooking styles vary from region to region. The most well-known example of Indian architecture is the Taj Mahal, built by Mughal emperor Shah Jahan to honor his third wife, Mumtaz Mahal. Indian clothing is closely identified with the colorful silk saris worn by many of the country’s women. The traditional clothing for men is the dhoti, an unstitched piece of cloth about 5 yards long that is tied around the waist and legs.


Most Indians get around via taking the train. Train is the main form of transtportation, along with two wheeled automobiles such as motor cycles, scooters, and mopeds. Rickshaws are also another form of transportation along with taxi service. It is very rare urban dwellers have a car, but is very common for them to walk or bike to different places within the city.



slums Some people in India are very poor and don’t live in a village or in the middle of towns. They build their houses where ever they can and build them out of whatever they can find. These houses are usually built on wide sidewalks or underutilized dump sites. They use bits of old wood, fabric, straw, anything at all.

village ¾ of the population of India live in villages. The houses there are usually made from a mixture of clay, straw and cow dung. This mixture goes really hard when it is dry so it is very useful and also cheaper than bricks or stone. The houses have thick walls and this keeps the houses cool in the summer because the heat can’t get through. Even though the families do all they can to keep cool they often sleep outside on the flat roofs where it is breezy and cool at night.

marine Houses in India near water are in danger of being flooded when the monsoon rain comes. Some farmers are lucky and can afford to build houses that are higher up on stilts so that when the rain comes it washes underneath and doesn’t destroy the houses. These houses are very useful but more expensive than ordinary village houses.

city Lots of people go to the cities to try to find work but can sometimes only find poorly paid jobs and than they end up living in tower blocks in the middle of the cities or on the edge of them. The tower blocks have lots of people living in them so they have to share a bathroom and kitchen with lots of other people. They do usually have water and electricity but they don’t have all the technology that we have. The houses on the edge of the cities tend to be smaller but still cramped together and are no nicer to live in.


clay bricks and tiles


stone adobe plasters

metals and alloys


single family archetype Area: 2195 sqf. Number of Occupants: 5-6 Lot Size: 1000 sqf. Single family housing is often created on small plotted developements and usually accomodate 6 people since the Indian culture believes in having three generations live together. These plotted developments are characterized by broad streets with adequate health and education facilities. The city government also laid all the roads and service lines in these parts. The buildings that came up in the plots were low rise with 12-36 self sufficient apartments. While the cooperative societies built the apartments, several bungalows were also built in these areas by richer families. A bungalow is a type developed during the colonial period all around India. It is typically a large single family house within a bounded plot with open spaces on all sides. It may be one or two storied. It is characterised by having verandas at lower level and balconies at a higher level. Today these areas are one of the most expensive residential pockets of the city.


living room


bathroom living






bathroom bathroom


single family


artium - vertical circulation


hallway - horizontal circulation



gated community

window guards

window guards

Security, Safety and Privacy









defensible space issues: light, visibility, egress

single family archetype Area: 2507 sqf. Number of Occupants: 60 Lot Size: 5737 sqf. With independence came further migration, both by victims of partition and people seeking opportunities in the city. This raised the housing demands in the city. Rents started spiralling. At the same time the Government took up a stance of providing for the poor and at the same time encouraging capitalist initiatives. To check the spiralling rents, the Rent Control Act was enacted in1947, which froze rents at 1940 levels. With meagre returns from rented properties, landlords could no longer maintain them. These are incredibly high dense living situations where the rent is also extremely low to almost none. The sanitary conditions in these types of housing really suffer due the high density of people aswell as lack of health care resources.



apt apt






low income


circulation: the horizontal circulation through the double loaded corridor leads to eat one room homes or the communal areas such as the bathroom or the common living room

community areas

community: communal areas in these homes include spaces like the bathroom and the living room

context: these types of homes were built on open areas where there was a lot of room to mass produce these as there was a great deman for low income housing. These low income homes are also build around other low income developements so the goverment can keep a concentrated area of where these homes sit within a region

x x x

x x


x no gates or security to get into the community

x Security, Safety and Privacy: There is very little security within these buildings as there is not main door, the only threshold one has to go through is your home door. Within the complex there is also very little privacy as often you not only share two but at times three walls to your neighbors. The only safety tool they have is the high density of population therefore someone watching at all times essentially.

flexibility defensible space issues: light, visibility, egress & Escape, Territory : There is very high visibility in these types of housing because of the density of people, defensible space is taken care of with it’s double loaded corridors

slums Area: 100763 sqf. Number of Occupants: 19,998

The city grew rapidly since the beginning of the 20th century. Marshlands and outskirts were developed. The slums that were earlier on the outskirts of the city came within. However in spite of the annual housing need for 46,000 dwellings in the 1960s and 60,000 dwellings in the 1970s, the supply of formal housing by the public and private sectors was only 17,600 and 20,600 respectively. The rest fulfilled their shelter need in the slums. But slums only came into real urban concern in the 70’s when the real estate prices started climbing. Today about 60 % of Mumbai’s Population live in the slums, which exist everywhere - on marshlands, along railway tracks, on open areas, public lands, private lands, between buildings and also on the pavements. The construction type varies from wood to plastic to asbestos construction and to double storey brick and concrete structures. There are slums that have a concentration of ethnic communities, of work based communities, and other such associations. There are slums that come up on construction sites and move on to other construction sites after the work gets completed.




where is waldo?



developed city

20000 live in this area 25 dollar homes


4 live in this home 1 billion dollar home


Rapid growth and many years of disregard have brutally stressed and have made many towns and cities of India derelict. This phenomenon is blatantly visible in the underdeveloped infrastructure such as sewerage, access to clean water, effective health care, transportation infrastructure, and other basic necessities a developing nation should have. I believe indians have an extremely sustainable way of living and culture and housing have a lot to do with it. Through my research and experience I have noticed that most households have atleast three generations living under one roof. This alone allows there to be less housing constructed because multiple generations live in one house. Also through this rearch I have learned the importance of urban planning and how urban spaces are an absolute must when it comes to a country thats is growing at essentially the speed of light. Planners are always bound to have issues that are social, political and economic. These issues are something that a rapidly growing diverse country is bound to have. Growing countries like India cannot afford to have quality of life issues as many citizens want to move out of the country in hopes to find better quality of life elsewhere, this process is leaving India with a brain drain which is crucial for a growing country. The urban planners of India hold a great challenge in front of them and figure out to effectively create smart growth and also increase the quality of life within the developing country.


Smets, Peer. "Housing Finance Trapped in a Dilemma of Perceptions: Affordability Criteria for the Urban Poor in India Questioned." Housing Studies. 14.6 (1999): 821-838. Print. Tiwari, Piyush. "Housing and Development Objectives in India." Habitat International. 25.2 (2001). Print. "Influence of Affluence on Sustainable Housing in Mysore, India." Engineering Sustainability. 164.4 (2011). Print. URBAN, FLORIAN. "Mumbai's Suburban Mass Housing." Urban History. 39.1 (2012): 128-148. Print. Shalya, Chinmayi, and Madhavi Rajadhyaksha. "80,000 People/sq Km Even in Plush Towers [mumbai]." The Times of India (online). (2012). Print. Prasad Shetty. “Housing typologies in Mumbai�. CRIT (2009). Print.

work cited

Housing of India