Allied Studies, Rohit Muzumdar and Shreyank Khemalapure

When housing is more than a number and Home is more than a house,


Theorizing housing practices in India’s second cities

How are the emerging contexts of urbanization in India’s second cities shaping their housing demand, the spatialities of house and home, and institutional mechanisms for their provision? What theoretical frames help advance a study of housing practices that emerge from such concerns? At stake in these questions lie opportunities to further India’s housing question beyond the current housing debate.  

This course invites students to survey and build ideas regarding the housing question for three reasons. First, SEAs research argues that India’s housing question articulates the house as a standard commodity that ought to meet the minimum conditions required to achieve habitability, affordability and tenure security. Its architectural strategy largely manifests in attempts to fulfill the shortage of cheaply-built, efficient standard houses. Such a conceptualization is neither relevant nor efficient, and almost impossible to achieve.

Second, there exists very little research on emerging urbanization contexts in second cities. This course intends to open out inquiries on the multiple spatialities and institutional mechanisms for the production of housing and home in the emerging contexts of urbanization. And third, the current debate seldom connects the three aspects - emerging contexts, spatialities and institutional mechanisms. The following section outlines these theoretical frames that are central to the course discussion.

The studio was structured around three frames: 1) Emerging Contexts, Housing is more than Number; 2) Spatialities, Home is more than Housing; 3) Institutional Mechanisms, actors and processes engaged in the production of housing.

With this frame the learning objectives of the studio are as follows: learners will be able to: 1) construct a research question within the emerging contexts of urbanization in India’s second cities; 2) gain confidence to situate and methodologically conduct their housing inquiries within the wider debate; 3) develop analytical and visual representation capacities to analyse the emerging contexts.

One of the shifts that were experimented this year in the allied design courses is to make all the courses open for choice for students across any year of study. Typically, the study of second cities was conducted by only the fourth year students and in that sense it was certainly an experiment to see if the studio would be comprehensible to students in the lower years as well. The diversity of students from different years did bring with it an interesting challenge for everyone to work together and coordinate in different ways.