Decolonizing South Asian architecture: Sustainable and community-oriented social housing in India




social housing, community building, energy efficiency, economic, sustainable, livable


Decolonization process in India involved a range of political, economic, and social changes aimed at dismantling the colonial system and building a new, independent nation. One of the most significant challenges India faced during the decolonization process was the issue of partition. The partition of India in 1947 led to the creation of two separate countries—India and Pakistan—and resulted in widespread violence and displacement. Millions of people were forced to migrate across the newly formed borders, resulting in one of the largest mass migrations in human history which created huge demand for housing. The methodology adopted for this research is based on qualitative analysis and the data source for this study are government reports, research articles, books and newspaper. Further, it examines four case studies of social housing projects designed to provide sustainable and livable solutions for low-income families in different regions of India, including Aranya Community Housing, Incremental Housing in Belapur, ATIRA Staff Housing in Ahmadabad, and CIDCO Housing in Parsik Hill in Navi Mumbai. At the core of the article lies an investigation into the dynamic nature of architecture in the aftermath of independence, coupled with a detailed examination of four distinct social housing ventures. The social housing studies demonstrate innovative and flexible approaches to social housing, with a focus on community building, energy efficiency, and social amenities. The projects have been successful in providing access to affordable and sustainable housing for low-income families in different regions of India. The case studies highlight the importance of a community-centered approach to social housing, emphasizing the need for shared spaces and amenities. The article discusses the challenges and opportunities of implementing sustainable and livable social housing solutions in India.


Download data is not yet available.

Author Biographies

Pashmeena Vikramjit Ghom, Indian Institute of Technology Kharagpur

Department of Architecture and Regional Planning

Abraham George, Indian Institute of Technology Kharagpur

Department of Architecture and Regional Planning



Archhello. (2022). Cybertecture.

Bahga, S., and Raheja, G. (2018). An account of critical regionalism in diverse building types in postcolonial Indian architecture. In Frontiers of Architectural Research, 7(4), 473–496.

Baitsch, T.S. (2018). Incremental Urbanism: A study of incremental housing production and the challenge of its inclusion in contemporary planning processes in Mumbai, India (Vol. 7720).

Chauhan, A. (2022). Indian architects that shaped the face of new India in post-independence era. Rethinking The Future.

Correa, C. (2020). Housing & Urbanisation (First Edit). Urban Design Research Institute.

Curtis, W.J. (2016). Pritzker Prize 2018: for Balkrishna Doshi, architecture, urbanism and landscape are inseparable. The Architectural Review.

Davidson, C.C., and Serageldin, I. (1995). Aranya Community Housing, Indore, India. Architecture beyond Architecture: Creativity and Social Transformations in Islamic Cultures: The 1995 Aga Khan Award for Architecture, 64–71.

Doshi, B. (1989). Demonstration houses and masterplan for Aranya Community. Architexturez.

Ghom, P.V., and George, A. (2021a). Dynamics of Performing Aesthetics in Architecture: A Critical Study. Vitruvio-International Journal of Architecture Technology and Sustainability, 6(2), 82–101.

Ghom, P.V., and George, A. (2021b). Scientific Rationality in Vaastu Purusha Mandala: a Case Study of Desh and Konkan Architecture. New Design Ideas, 5(2), 195–209.

Ghom, P.V., George, A., and Bharule, S. (2023). Socio-Economic Aspects Affecting Architectural Education and Profession: Strategies and Tactics. New Design Ideas, 7(1), 152–170.

Gupta, H. (2021). Material Used in Low Cost Housing Page | i Guide: Parul Sharma Dissertation in Architecture Harshit Gupta Sushant School of Art and Architecture (Issue June). Sushant School of Art and Architecture.

Hidden Architecture. (2018). Atira and PRL Low-Cost Housing. Hidden Architecture. (2022).

Infosys Pune Becomes the Largest Campus in the World to Earn LEED Platinum Certification from US Green Building Council.

Ingole, V. (2018). The Most Impressive Buildings in Pune. Culture Trip.

Jacobs, J. (2016). The Death and Life of Great American Cities. Readings in Planning Theory: Fourth Edition, 94–109.

Kalia, R. (2006). Modernism, modernization and post-colonial India: A reflective essay. Planning Perspectives, 21(2), 133–156.

Kapusta, K. (2017). Setting the Stage: Indian Architecture after 1947. Perspectives, 21(2), 140.).

Lu, D. (2010). Third World Modernism: Architecture, Development and Identity. Routledge.

Mathur, A. (2020). The Cybertecture Egg In India By James Law. India Architecture News.

Mehta, J. (1988). Balkrishna Doshi: an architecture for India. Architexturez.

Mollard, M. (2019). Revisit: Aranya low-cost housing, Indore, Balkrishna Doshi. The Architectural Review.

Perera, N. (2006). Chandigarh: India’s Modernist Experiment. In Planning Twentieth-Century Capital Cities (1st edition, pp. 226–236). Routledge.

Raj Rewal Associates. (2020). Cidco Housing - New Mumbai.

Raje, A. (1984). ATIRA Staff Housing. Architexturez.

Rewal, R. (2018). CIDCO Housing Navi Mumbai (IN). Delft Architectural Studies on Housing, 12. 1988%2C the City and,the city’s Central Bus




How to Cite

Ghom, P. V. and George, A. (2023) “Decolonizing South Asian architecture: Sustainable and community-oriented social housing in India”, VITRUVIO - International Journal of Architectural Technology and Sustainability, 8(1), pp. 46–57. doi: 10.4995/vitruvio-ijats.2023.19499.