Yerwada Slum Upgrade

Exhibition: Cities | October 11, 2011 by

Approximately 17% of the world’s slum population lives in India. Rather than evicting the urban poor to demolish the slums, India’s national, state, and city authorities have partnered with an alliance comprised of SDI affiliates Mahila Milan, the National Slum Dwellers Federation, and the Society for Promotion of Area Resource Centres (SPARC) to plan, design, and rebuild houses in situ. The Yerwada Slum Upgrade project includes six dense Yerwada-area slums in Pune, India. In 2009, the alliance began going house to house with architectural models to gather ideas for what the community wanted. Maps visualized the information gathered from enumeration and socioeconomic surveys, helping the residents and planners identify fixed and more flexible spaces. Community workshops with Pune’s Prasanna Desai Architects used three-dimensional models of the existing settlement to give residents perspective on their communities’ space and relationships, street hierarchy, and density, an important step in redefining their relationship with design professionals. Full-size house models, a popular SDI tool, were constructed from colorful cloth walls and bamboo framing, allowing slum dwellers to visualize size and layout, while also inviting the government and public to review these new secure housing strategies. Residents helped determine the final layouts, maintaining existing street patterns and housing footprints.

Part of India’s Jawaharlal Nehru National Urban Renewal Mission, the Yerwada slums are undergoing redevelopment. A 25-square-meter (270-sq.-ft.), single-family structure includes an in-house toilet and kitchen. Microloans help residents secure the 10% required contribution (30,000 rupees, or about US$675). For those who cannot pay the 10,000-rupee (US $225) down payment, Mahila Milan offers construction jobs. As of July 2011, 460 houses were under construction. Once they are built, each family receives a ninety-nine-year lease and the community becomes a legal “colony.”

Yerwada slum settlement community, SPARC Samudaya Nirman Sahayak, and Pune Municipal Corporation; with Prasanna Desai Architects and SDI affiliates: SPARC, National Slum Dwellers Federation, Mahila Milan. Mother Theresa Nagar, Sheela Salve Nagar, Wadar Wasti, Bhat Nagar, Netaji Nagar, and Yashwant Nagar, Yerwada, Pune, India, 2008–present



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