Slum residents of Sanjay Nagar, Ahmednagar, move into 33 new homes in a unique pilot project to address gaps in low-income housing.
According to Ahmednagar Municipal Corporation, 15% of the city's total population lives in slums. One of these is Sanjay Nagar, the only slum built on government land, covering 2.09 acres previously crammed with 209 dwellings of varying quality ranging from kachcha homes to corrugated sheet shacks. With a population of 873, it has a unique social structure with nearly 22 different communities living side-by-side.
We have been working in Sanjay Nagar since 2004, when we set up our first Balbhavan (slum school). As there were no health care facilities or stormwater drains, Snehalaya also brought in doctors and mobile clinics to address health and hygiene issues.
We have been working under the Government of India's Pradhan Mantri Awas Yojana (PMAY) 'Housing for All' scheme with Sanjay Nagar residents, Ahmednagar Municipal Corporation, and Community Design Agency, an initiative of Curry Stone Design Collaborative. On 8 March, the first 33 families moved into their new, healthy homes.
Designed with input from the community, some of whom have been employed on the project, slum-dwellers have taken on the economic and social responsibility to take ownership of the development. This process is unique, with the result of providing 300 square feet of homes to every homeless family for just INR 1,00,000, and we aim to establish a new benchmark for housing for communities living on the margins.
“The answer to housing inequality lies in building thousands of vibrant communities, not in mass producing millions of individual units.”
Sandhya Naidu, Managing Director, Community Design Agency
The multiple housing combinations are structured around seven courtyards, connected through corridors and walkways at the first-floor level, based on the preference of the families to retain the social fabric and cohesion of the community. We are now developing the subsequent phases of the project, which will see a further 265 homes constructed on principles including social, economic, and environmental sustainability, inclusive process, social cohesion and infrastructure, and solid waste and wastewater management.