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Module 1: Sustainability in the Design Process

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The User's Role in Sustainability

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Do you have any model from other related disciplines?Janak mention an example from architecture.You must have seen how after major disasters the government builds housing for, you know,people affected.Such housing schemes usually do not involve local residents in the planning.And this often leads to houses of the locals do not feel at home in.And these displaces get neglected afterwards and the project becomes totally unsustainablebecause it cannot be maintained by the community.I do recall something like this happened in Kutch after the big earthquake.Of 2001.Now, this is in 2004 after the Tsunami.This the architect Durganand Balsavar was commission to design new homes in Tamilnaduin the Nagapattanam district.. And he insisted on getting the local peopleinvolved right from the beginning.He wanted, you know, the local people to feel the sense of ownership in the homes at thatcame up that were designed.It was not very easy because the donor agencies and the local residents obviously had verydifferent views on what needed to be designed in their ideal home.So, the house designed that the community wanted had a shaded veranda in front thatwas facing the street and which also housed a kitchen.They wanted their kitchen to be in the veranda of the front.And the donor agencies were completely opposed to this and even Balsavar didn’t agree withthis.For them the ideal kitchen did not have a, you know, have the kitchen on the porch, itwas inside the house and it was closed.Balsavar then, I think, understood that this design solution was something that reflectedthe villagers way of life and so, he went with that.He included the people in the design.And it was a very participatory process.The larger point was that when participated design ensures that the design sustains longerbecause those who are invested in using it, participate in the making of it they careabout it and it lives with them far longer.So, people were involved in the design planning as well.Yes, they were even involved in the construction- they made bricks, did masonry, carpentry andelectrical work.The building process provided the people with livelihoods and they felt a keen sense ofownership in the project.The emotional investment of the local people translated into sustainability.As shown by their care for the buildings long after the design team had left.So, this is another example where the socio cultural aspect was taken into account.