Focus on affordable housing can transform cities
A politician and two architect-planners addressing urbanism and debating planning and vision. What could be more interesting than that? To me, as an architect and urban planner, this was a vital session here that opened people’s minds to a burning issue we rarely spend time on.
Amid talk of aesthetics, planning, politics and urban fabric, they keep coming back to the core problem if housing poor people. We need to stop pushing the poor out or keeping them in substandard living spaces. I Sn glad to hear KT speak up for the need to envision the poor as a part of urban economy. Find ways to help them afford their own homes. Design homes that suit them and not create homes that are unsuitable and impractical. I am happy to hear both KT Ravindran and David Gensler talk bout out high density low rise as a viable option.
The interesting aspect that is coming through is the idea that government needs to play a significant role in creating this affordable housing stock. Free or subsidised housing may still be the only option for some sections of the society.
CM Maharashtra Prithviraj Chauhan speaks eloquently about the bed for integrated townships away from existing cities. A new policy is on the anvil from him.
Our work in housing at the micro Home Solutions shows us that helping the poor directly can be very effective in combating some if these issues. But the larger vision still needs to be local, in context and solutions will differ slightly from city to city. Urgently, municipalities need sharper minds and more power to steer growth in unique directions!