Monthly Archives: May 2009

Megacities Threaten to Choke India

By PATRICK BARTA and KRISHNA POKHAREL

LUCKNOW, India — Voting is drawing to a close Wednesday in India’s largest election ever, and a slowing economy, terrorism and the rural poor have been front and center in the campaign. But of growing concern are the country’s teeming new megacities, which are swelling rapidly even as jobs dry up and funding for infrastructure disappears.

This capital of the northern state of Uttar Pradesh was once an orderly place known for its baroque monuments and lush gardens. Today, Lucknow has more than 780 slums, overflowing sewage pipes and streets choked by gridlock. Its population of 2.7 million, nearly triple the number in the 1980s, is adding as many as 150,000 new residents a year.

Shami Shafi, a 35-year-old laborer in Lucknow, has seen his daily income drop by half in recent months to 50 rupees, or about $1, for carrying bags of potatoes and other goods in a local market. But "I’m not going back to my village," he says. If work gets harder to find, "I’ll just go to another city."

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Tata introduces ‘Nano’ housing for Rs 3.9 lakh-Rs 6.7 lakh

After its revolution on wheels, the Tatas are aiming at a Nano house, which will cost anywhere between Rs 3.9 lakh and Rs 6.7 lakh.

Tata Housing, a subsidiary of Tata Sons, has launched its low-cost housing initiative called the Shubh Griha project.

The first Shubh Griha township will be launched at Boisar in Mumbai. Tata Housing has tied up with SBI and HDFC to help potential buyers with finance options.

Announcing the launch of Shubh Grih’, Brotin Banerjee, Managing Director and Chief Executive Officer of TATA Housing said, “This is in continuation of the group’s commitment to providing, quality, innovative products for the common man. We observed that since most of the people in the Low Income bracket live away from their families to earn a livelihood in the big cities, there is a large percentage of migrant population with people living in either rented or company provided accommodation".

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Notes from the Emerging Architecture of India Conference in New York City

The Emerging Exchanges: New Architectute of India conference was held last Thursday and Friday at the New School Campus here in NYC. Jointly hosted by the New School, India China Institute, and The Architecture League it brought together a great mix of practitioners from India.

Thursday’s first session was an introduction to the theme. Kazi Ashraf gave an overview of the current state of Indian architecture which was basically paraphrasing his article for the “Made In India” AD Issue of 2007. In showing a lot of proposals for projects he tried to cover ground about the typologies of emergent Indian architecture. However as Rahul Mehrotra pointed out later in the conference, most of them were just proposals and never ever left the drawing board. And sadly this would be a constant criticism of the conference over the next two days. More of that later in the article.

Some of the outstanding presentations were:

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