My piece in support of informal landlordism @ Next City #rentalhousing #informalcity
Am super proud to be published (read my article here) in a magazine I have admired for the last couple of years. The Next City formerly focused on the US now carried in reportage from a number of cities across the world. A dedicated section called the Informal City Dialogues , supported by the Rockefeller Foundation specially focuses on urban issues in developing countries and holds a wealth of insights that I have often used in my work in low-income housing.
The editors at Next City worked off a piece I had originally written as a book chapter. The book idea was to develop caricature essays based on the various people I have interacted with during my fieldwork on rental housing in Gurgaon. The first one was about Billu, the landlord. Interviewing him was one of the most interesting experiences I have had. We had very different notion of body language and personal comfort zones, for instance. And yet, his passion for life and his work (he manages about 80 rental rooms for migrants) and his extremely practical approach to complex issues like identity, politics and change made me wonder about whether I am given to over-analyzing situations!
The Next City piece has been edited to give it adequate context. Would be curious to get your feedback. I still nurture the dream of writing that book, you see!
Posted on August 14, 2013, in Urban Planning & Policy and tagged business, context, culture, empathy, exploitation, Gurgaon, landlord, migration, rental housing, tenements, urban village. Bookmark the permalink. 4 Comments.
hey congrats. Looking forward to read the piece:)
The link is in there Vishal. Please read and comment. Looking forward!
Great piece, Mukta. One thing that could be done from the city’s perspective is to setup a trade-off for these land owners, where they retrofit their tenements, making them safer/ more livable and get city infrastructure such as water/sewer connections. Gurgaon not having either of those is a separate issue, but as a concept it could work in general.
I agree and that was part of my recommendations. Unfortunately the folks on my evaluation team have little confidence in the govt and prefer me to propose ‘between the cracks’ solutions that communities can implement directly. However, I agree. Infra is the elephant in the room!