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Informal Delhi

Project Type

Self Initiated, 2020

Research Methods

Settlement Study
Measured Drawing
Secondary Research

Team Members

Aneesh Nandi
Aparna Konat
Lokesh Singh
Sarth Khare

Project Duration

2 Months

Symptomatic of a global pattern of rapid urbanization — from Chinese Chéng Zhong Cun to Brazilian Favelas; 76% of Delhi is 'informal'.

Modrn Times


Formality here implies planned housing stock against primarily self-constructed settlement typologies like urban villages, unauthorized colonies, resettlement colonies, JJ clusters etc. which are not under the purview of/ have lax developmental controls. They dot the urban landscape; visible distinctly in satellite images due to their dense, fine-grain against the surrounding context.

This ongoing exercise is an attempt at documenting these settlements through an architectural lens; preparing a reportage of photographs and drawings. This was prompted by the personal observation that in spite of being the majority of the city's built environment, the informal takes up little space in architectural discourse. We feel that there are valuable lessons to be learnt from the informal city — which is a petri dish for typologies/ design solutions adept at making the most of their circumstances. This spans stances on shared facilities, public/ private space, ownership, privacy, security, access/ circulation, building structure + materials, community space, active/ civic life, mixed-use, relationships with heritage structures ... etc.; often turning our conventional architecture school notions/ logic on its head.

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