How do informal settlements take shape? Morphogenesis in three India cases

Research Seminar / Dec 09, 2021

Presented by Ishita Chatterjee, Chaired by Kim Dovey

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Abstract: Informal settlements are the primary means of meeting the demand for affordable housing in the global south countries. Yet, the urban design being produced by this now dominant form of production gets termed aesthetically undesirable. The residents and their habitats remain invisible from planning documents. Even with the increasing involvement of architects and urban designers, we lack a comprehensive understanding of the forms of informality. This leads to policies that are often based on universal readings and primarily top-down. To find better context-driven solutions one of the critical steps is to increase our understanding of the morphology of informal settlements and their growth processes. 

This thesis conducted a cross-case analysis by comparing three peripheral informal settlements, one each from Delhi, Mumbai and Bangalore, to answer the following questions:

How do informal settlements take shape?

  1. How does the urbanisation process of the city impact the settlement’s morphology?
  2. What are the different forms of organisation in the settlement and the politics of form-making?
  3. What role does materiality play during the growth processes?

Recorded session