By Ashwin Parulkar on September 24th 2020
About half of Delhi’s homeless shelters operate at full capacity to overcrowded conditions, providing less space than the norm of 50 sq.ft. per resident. This is a planning problem since policymakers have treated critical questions of where shelters should be built, how many residents shelters should accommodate, and how much space to allot for each shelter as separate issues at various times, and independent of the actual demographics that the various shelters in different parts of the city cater to.
This piece focuses on two neighboring, identically-sized porta-cabin shelters in South Delhi’s Nehru Place, which cater to two different groups of homeless people. It juxtaposes narratives of the two sets of residents with an analysis of the official data to reveal why, over the last eighteen months (March 2019-August 2020), one of them was constantly overcrowded and the other was, by official standards, modestly but consistently utilized.
By Ashwin Parulkar on July 27th 2020
Through an analysis of shelter and homelessness data from the Delhi Urban Shelter Improvement Board and the Census, this study examines extent of overcrowding in Delhi’s homeless shelters and its implications on the ability of residents in these spaces to socially distance to prevent the spread of COVID-19. It examines the nature and implications of limited floor space across Delhi’s homeless shelter system to ascertain the extent to which the system’s capacity and coverage problems are rooted in shelter planning and design.
By Gautam Bhan on May 20th 2020
This paper is a response to and a commentary on Vanessa Watson’s paper on “African urban fantasies” in this issue of the Journal, which analyzes new urban master plans developed by international architectural firms and property development companies for many cities in sub-Saharan Africa. Taking Watson’s argument as an opportunity to think about current urban fantasies in Indian cities, this response offers three reflections.