Slum residents in Ahmednagar receive new homes designed with Community Design Agency, Snehalaya under PMAY

Residents of Sanjaynagar, a slum located in Ahmednagar celebrated ‘Grihpravesh’ into their new homes on March 8. 33 families from this neighborhood moved into new homes that were delivered to them under the Pradhan Mantri Awas Yojana (PMAY-Urban) and was made possible by the collaborative effort of the Sanjay Nagar residents, Ahmednagar Municipal Corporation, Snehalaya, a local non-profit and Community Design Agency (CDA), an initiative of Curry Stone Design Collaborative. Construction on the remaining 265 homes is slated to begin in November 2022.

Made possible through PMAY- Urban along with funding support from Curry Stone Foundation and residents’ contribution towards construction, this project is a shift from the traditional housing models. The collaborative team’s mission is to deliver safe and healthy homes, jobs and training, community enrichment programs and further female homeownership, in order to co-create a vibrant and thriving community with the residents.

According to the World Bank, by 2050, 44 percent of the world’s population will live in informal communities such as Sanjaynagar. In India alone, there is currently a projected deficit of 20 million urban homes, with as many as 14 million households living in slums. (source). Additionally, a baseline survey indicates that children’s growth and health in Sanjaynagar are lower than the national average. Current thinking on low-income housing tends to prioritize quantity of units, resulting in impersonal high-rise structures that degrade rather than support the communities they seek to serve.

CDA believes in a different approach to addressing these inequities in the built environment. “The answer to housing inequality lies in building thousands of vibrant communities, not in mass producing millions of individual units,” says Sandhya Naidu Janardhan, Managing Director, Community Design Agency.

Design plans for the completed neighborhood include all essential amenities like water and drainage, roads, street lighting, childcare and community centers, courtyards for healthy recreation, edible gardens to support nutrition, and retail shops. The residents contributed to all design decisions, addressed social issues, compromised with their neighbors and even worked on construction teams to build their new homes.

“Building consensus through continuous dialogue amongst the 298 families required incredible will power, patience and versatility in our action plans” says Hanif Shaikh, Assistant Director, Snehalaya.

To participate in the project and become a homeowner, each family completed a residential application, applied for relevant government IDs, saved the funds needed once approved, and gave design input for their homes, all with constant coordination with Snehalaya. The eligibility criteria to apply for one of the new homes was determined by the PMAY – Urban program.

The redevelopment of Sanjaynagar is a public/private partnership, funded by the Indian Government, through its flagship Housing for All (PMAY- Urban) program, with support from Ahmednagar Municipal Corporation and the US based Curry Stone Foundation along with contribution from the residents. Additional funding is currently being raised through philanthropic donations.

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Published on: Monday, March 14, 2022, 09:51 PM IST

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