11.S938
RE-DESIGNING DISASTER-RESILIENT COMMUNITIES AND HOUSING IN SAURASHTRA, INDIA

This planning and design workshop in India has four aims, which are outlined briefly below. Community housing in the coastal regions of western India face an expanding array of pressures, risks, and opportunities. Growth of towns and cities in coastal regions is increasing rapidly. The impact of growth on housing conditions and quality of life are major goals of communities in coastal Gujarat. At the same time, coastal regions face multiple natural and anthropogenic hazards. These problems were acute in the coastal Gujarat earthquake of 2005, as well as long-term hazards of salt water intrusion and sea level rise. And yet coastal communities of Gujarat continue to grow and develop in ways that make them more “rurban” than rural, that is, in which rural settlements strive to combine urban amenities with an evolving rural quality of life (Wescoat, 2015). This occurs at a time when the Government of India has adopted a policy of “Housing for All” (GoI, 2016). Additionally, the Aga Khan Development Network has developed and tested a Quality of Life survey instrument which elicits community aspirations in a systematic way.

• The design aim of our workshop is to develop community housing proposals that fulfill rurban, universal access, and improved quality of life goals.

Thirty years ago, MIT faculty worked with the Aga Khan Planning and Building Services in India (AKPBS,I) on housing development in the coastal village of Chitrawad in Junagadh District in the State of Gujarat. The 1980s MIT studio generated proposals that can be compared with current conditions to ask: What actually happened to the people and village of Chitrawad? Were the housing proposals influential? Were they promising even if unrealized? In what ways has the situation changed? This is a rare opportunity to re-examine community design proposals, and build upon them.

• The research aim of our workshop is to compare housing proposals made three decades ago with what actually happened, and to draw lessons for this workshop and others like it.

Chitrawad is located in a fascinating area of western India. It is a village of xxxx persons which has a pluralistic culture that includes Ismaili Muslims. It is only 10 km from the Gir Lion Preserve, which has expanding eco-tourism development and potential. The district has fruit production and horticultural potential, and a regional Agricultural University. The district capital of Junagadh has a fascinating Islamic architectural heritage of mosques, fortifications, and waterworks. It has an inspiring rock edict site of the Buddhist emperor Asoka, which sits at
the base of a renowned Hindu and Jain pilgrimage mountain path. On the coast itself are famous pilgrimage sites, including the temple town.

• The place-making aim of our workshop is to develop strategies for linking local community housing development proposals with regional cultural and environmental landscape values.

At the same time, Chitravad and the region more broadly face serious natural hazards. In 2016, the Aga Khan Planning and Building Service was reorganized to have an expanded disaster-resilient planning and design mission. A new Aga Khan Agency for Habitat (AKAH www.xxxx.org) combined Planning and Building Services with a Disaster Risk Management Initiative and FOCUS Humanitarian. AKAH is charged with mainstreaming disaster risk reduction in existing and new housing, community buildings like schools and clinics, and overall settlement planning.

• The disaster resilience aim of our workshop will consider multiple environmental risks through a combination of anticipatory design, retrofit, and non-structural community planning programs.

The overarching aim of the workshop is to develop “housing” proposals, broadly defined, which embody design, research, placemaking, and disaster resilience.

Open to undergraduates with permission of instructor.