Design Home Solution
Delhi, India
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Enabling safety & quality in self-construction

image: Micro Home Solutions | © all rights reserved
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Category:
housing
Phase:
in use
Design:
micro Home Solutions
Updated:
27 August 2012
introduction

The market and government have failed to provide affordable shelter for the urban poor. Self-construction is the largest ‘supplier’ of housing for the poor in India. These houses built in informal settlements (such as urban villages, unauthorized colonies etc) with help of local masons are often unsafe, with weak structure and poor light and ventilation. In addition, due to informality of income sources and weak property titles, households borrow from informal sources at interest rates usually higher than 60% per year. mHS conceptualized Design Home Solution(DHS) for urban households engaging in self-construction by enabling them to access construction finance and technical design assistance simultaneously. In this context, the goal of DHS was to catalyse this informal supply of housing to improve quality of housing, while making formal finance accessible.

Low incom settlement, Delhi

image: Marco Ferrario | © all rights reserved
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cultural and social context

Economic insecurity and tenure conditions mean that the urban poor have no access to financing for formal housing. It is clear that current public sector efforts in affordable housing – no matter how appropriate and innovative – will never be able to create adequate supply to meet the demand for housing units for low-income groups. In the face of this overwhelming emphasis on green-field development and the issues evident above, mHS is determined to propose that the urban poor need to be offered a more diverse portfolio of housing solutions from which they can choose depending on their income, family size, place of work and a number of other factors. This would include night shelters, dormitories, rental housing units, apartments and the option of incremental construction over existing homes.

Typical layout of a room

image: Marco Ferrario | CC-BY_black.png some rights reserved
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materials and building techniques

New Delhi sits on some of the most volatile land on the Indian subcontinent, categorized as Zone IV by the Indian Building Codes. This aggravates the risk posed by self-construction in Indian mega-cities as cheap and unsafe building materials and the informal building process put the building at particular risk to lateral stresses, thereby endangering the physical and economic well-being of low-income households. At the same time, New Delhi faces relatively extreme climate, from close to freezing temperatures in the winter months and, arid, extremely hot temperatures. This presents a challenge to design, as buildings must be equipped to deal with both extremes while keeping costs low.

Monitoring during construciton

image: mHS | © all rights reserved
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Monitoring during construction

image: Marco Ferrario | CC-BY_black.png some rights reserved
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earth and climate

The biggest challenges facing Design Home Solutions on the environmental side are Delhi’s unsafe seismic location and its inhospitable climate for months out of the year.

Mangolpuri during monsoon

image: Marco Ferrario | CC-BY_black.png some rights reserved
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image gallery
A potential client

image: Marco Ferrario | © all rights reserved
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Room in 25 sqm house

image: Marco Ferrario | © all rights reserved
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Community interaction with residents

image: Marco Ferrario | © all rights reserved
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Awareness workshop on safety in self construction

image: Rakhi Mehra | © all rights reserved
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Technical Assistance to Masons

image: Marco Ferrario | © all rights reserved
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technical drawings
Unsafe Construction

image: Marco Ferrario | © all rights reserved
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Column dimensions

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Location
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Keyword:
urban (33)
earthquake (19)
informal settlement (62)
low income (24)
participation (91)
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