Architects for empowerment : understanding, exploring, and responding to the needs of the impoverished in Pune, India
As developing India faces rapid urbanization, the provision of sufficient infrastructure facilities to the informal settlers remains a major challenge. Pune is a second tier city in the state of Maharashtra which is transforming itself into a metropolitan city. The research is an attempt to better understand the existence of slums, explore and suggest empowerment opportunities to improve the living conditions of an informal settlement dweller. It questions the scope and limitations of the architectural profession specific to the responsibilities of architects towards the impoverished people within the society. This study argues and advocates the need to understand and respond accordingly to the needs of the people who lack access to resources. As an attempt to better understand this perspective, the study takes a closer look at the works and philosophies of Dr. Wes Janz, Dr. Nihal Perera, Prof. Hector LaSala, Lebbeus Woods, Ar. Pratima Joshi, Prof. Nabeel Hamdi, and Robert Neuwirth. Also the research explains the efforts of several non profit organizations like School on Wheels (Indianapolis), Second Helpings (Indianapolis), Hamara Footpath (Mumbai, India), and MicroPlace which work towards providing better living conditions to disadvantaged people. The study concludes with a proposal for a Non Governmental Organization in Pune, India that will provide the slum dwellers access to education, the internet, and monetary resources which will lead towards their enablement.