Adriel Khan

A largely independently co-ordinated community dwelling emerges from these individual housing units. Land is marked, to a certain extent, and roads, and public squares show up. Shops selling essential items are opened by a few families on the ground floor, whereas vegetable and fruit sellers and ‘halwais’ (sweet shops) sit in the public square making the space a gathering place for the larger community. There have been a number of government housing schemes, but very few of them have pragmatically solved or aimed to solve the problems with such a setup of public housing.

Read about ‘khuda ki basti’ in Pakistan and the Peabody building as well as Thamesmead in England. A good township/public housing development means for me, a practice that considers the nature of human expansion and doesn’t aim for modernist views of selfish individual character but maintains a repertoire of an economically inclusive community development and social sustainability.

There is a famous Scandinavian saying that goes something like, ‘people come where people are’ and I think that is really important in urban design. These communities have narrow inner streets where there is more intimacy between the house and the street. Mothers will often leave their kids to play while they go to the market down the road because they trust the space to be safe. Wider streets will have hawkers and perhaps cars and auto-rickshaws with the typology of crowd also slightly changing to adapt to a more extroverted space.

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