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Slum redevelopment…with a difference

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How can residential facility planners go beyond basic housing?

Before Redevelopment

The people

The Community Design Agency (CDA) is a Mumbai-based design studio which focuses on addressing global social issues through a community-focused collaborative design process within underserved communities and addresses inequalities in the built environment. Projects completed and underway to date are located in communities across India. The studio uses design interventions to help create dignified places to live, learn, play and work.

The project

The Community Design Agency began a full-scale, in-site rebuilding of a slum neighbourhood called Sanjayagar, a part of Ahmednagar. Sanjaynagar is a tight-knit and resilient community of 298 families, living in slum conditions spread over just two acres of municipal land. This slum rehabilitation pilot housing project started in early 2018. After nearly four years of intensive participatory planning, design and construction, the redevelopment of Sanjaynagar slum aims to establish a new benchmark for housing for communities living on the margins.

Completed shots of Swapnapurti Building

Comprehensive approach

  • Importance of community participation to maintain hygiene in the premises throughout with mutual understanding
  • Access to toilets in homes thus curbing the health-related problems that women previously faced
  • Designing buildings and homes through participatory design tools
  • Construction of new buildings, courtyards and community spaces to engage with the community
  • Access to rooftop gardens will provide spaces for the residents to cultivate fresh fruits and vegetables
  • Literacy training for residents to prepare them for the formal banking system, and the processes and payments surrounding home ownership
  • Financial banking: Making affordable housing loans available and creating an opportunity to build a credit history
  • Nurturing women leaders at all stages of project planning and execution, taking on formal leadership roles in the community

Progress report

The Community Design Agency has already handed over 33 homes, and is working with the remaining 265 families to design their buildings and homes through participatory design tools. The second phase of construction will see the creation of 7 more buildings, courtyards, community spaces, childcare centers and sustainability features like rainwater harvesting and solar lighting.

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