Since the 80s; after the strangling of the rented housing suppliers and the slow lessening of state investment in the housing sector; “the Builder” became the central agent in the housing delivery system in Mumbai. The Builder seems like a master agent being able to manage every link of the housing delivery from mobilising land to mobilising loans for the end buyer. Our studies show that the builder is an ambiguous ghost like group made up several agents – small land agents, small financers, big financers, financial institutions, investors, real estate agents, bureaucrats, technocrats, contractors and politicians. Today this ambiguous group of the builder is considered to the only agent being capable of delivering the house in the public imagination. On the other hand, state has drawn up policies and regulations to encourage this builder through innumerable incentives for redevelopment of dilapidated buildings, rehabilitation of slum dwellers, resettlement of people affected by large projects, etc.
Along with other partners, CRIT has been involved in helping communities to undertake their housing projects without the builder. In this Self Development Model, the community is organised towards undertaking mobilisation of land, finance and other requirements of housing delivery. CRIT has been providing technical support to various communities for developing their housing projects. These projects use the existing incentives provided by the state, but manage to keep the profits from the project within the community. These profits are useful for future maintenance of the housing. The designs articulated by CRIT on the other hand aim at not only providing liveable environmental conditions, but also recognised and provide for the working conditions that exist in the original dwellings of the communities. Here, the effort of CRIT has moved beyond simply being a housing provision exercise towards useful architectural investigations for housing in the city.
Along with providing relevant technical support for communities, CRIT has also undertaken academic investigations in the areas of housing. Compilation of housing types; formulating histories of housing delivery systems; and developing of tools like FSI calculator, feasibility calculator and the community housing information system has been some of the ongoing efforts of CRIT. CRIT intends to continue this initiative towards helping more communities and articulate theoretical formulations in the areas of housing and architecture.
The projects of CRIT under this initiative include:
In a project of compiling a history of housing typologies in Mumbai, CRIT undertook case studies of 21 housing types. The documentation included drawings of site, house layouts, and other visual representations. The documentation also included a narrative on the contexts, development, delivery systems, present status etc on each of these types.
CRIT has been undertaking several studies of Slum Settlements to understand the typological aspects.
Along with the studies, CRIT has also been involved in developing designs for housing. The main concern here has been to provide relevant design possibilities that ensure sustainability of the community, that otherwise is neglected in the developer driven projects.