Insights on the need for Affordable Mass Housing – Prashant Sutaria
“Architecture is the sacred work of combining art and technology to enhance the beauty of Mother Earth” opines Prashant Sutaria, Principal architect at Prashant Sutaria Architects, who has been practising since the last 25 years.
Prashant wishes to play an important role in designing new urban landscape for the country. With an impetus to create affordable housing building complexes of high quality Prashant Sutaria, has founded ‘The Center of Living And Planning For Tomorrow’. By committing to contribute significantly in creating better raised environment for the masses, he has passionately worked on a variety of projects and has set up a reputation of a person who delivers. His organisation’s designs are based on the concept of contextual, sustainable and eco friendly architectural solutions, which are customized to the clients need. He is also working towards creating knowledge based solutions for affordable and low cost housing.
Prashant Sutaria gives his insights on “The Need for Affordable/Mass Housing in Emerging Urban Scenario, how to tackle this challenge and successfully achieve the objective”.
“India is a young and growing economy. It is estimated that India’s urban population is going to be doubled by 2030 (580 million) from its urban population of 2001(280 million). The construction of houses in India is mostly carried out by private players. If we understand the implication of these two facts on the construction industry by large and the role it will play in coming decades, then a lot of perception about it will change.
“It is estimated that India had about 280 million people living in the cities and towns in 2001. Let’s say at an average of 5 persons per house it works out to 56 million houses. So if we say that the urban population is going to double in by 2030 it means we need another 56 million houses to be built. In other words we need to build almost same number of cities and towns that we had in 2001, by 2030. That takes us to the next question: Who is going to build it and how they should be built?
“If we look at how we developed our towns and cities over last couple of decades, we feel it is a disaster barring a few pockets in terms of urban planning, infrastructure and building designs. We will all agree that we do not want to repeat the same mistakes in next 20 years. Also if we think rationally it is only people, who are already in the age group of 25 to 30 plus, who will build most of these new urban developments.
“Now some thoughts need to be put up on, how do we as architects, town planners and other professionals along with construction and infrastructure industry, partner to face this challenge and successfully achieve the objective. We can have a multifaceted approach to solve this puzzle. As town planners, architects and designers we can look at our past performance and learn from our mistakes. Some of them are lack of concern and sensitivity for environmental impacts.
“There is a need to understand the importance of public transport system and integrating them with private development.
“Going back to the fact that most of these new constructions will be done by private players. For private players doing large scale projects : the importance of water supply, sanitation and solid waste disposal and supply of electricity in sync with government and local bodies will be very crucial for the success of these developments. Creation of a platform where a number of private players and industry professionals come together to create a common vision for developing a particular part of the region is also very crucial. We can expect some amount of direction from Planning authorities and from the Government. However, collaboration between them and private players would be the ideal situation in ensuring overall success.”
As an architect the lack of quality green and open spaces in Indian cities really bothers Prashant. He estimates, “For our urban population we need to provide quality recreational spaces like parks, play grounds and sports facilities at walking or short commuting distance. We also need performing art centres, museums and art galleries to encourage and nurture young talents. The quality of design and planning of public buildings like hospitals, schools, police stations, etc can add lot of value to our new urban landscape.”
To conclude Prashant believes that, “We are fortunate that there is an urgent need to do all these in near future and in our life span the least we can do is to rise to the expectation to fullfill it”.