Housing stock for the poor and its constant change of usage in Mumbai, India

by James Tayler

**SPARC Responds**

The government of Maharashtra took a very bold decision about 6 years ago to build small tenements which would be given to the poor for rent. The rental housing scheme would be taken up by private sector and they would get very good TDR return for tenements they would give back to the government. The Mumbai Metropolitan Region Development Authority (MMRDA) would then hand these tenements over to organizations to manage according to a governance framework to be developed along side with the construction. 500,000 units were to be constructed. The initial tenements got constructed, but MMRDA uder new leadership did not want to manage the rental housing and preferred these to be sold. Now they get used for other purposes and the initial purpose is drowned. 

Whenever the state government of Maharashtra has taken up new and interesting possibilities to address the challenges of increasing crisis for housing of the poor, it gets drowned by an amazing paradoxical impact of poor supervision of governance architecture needed to ensure it reached the people it was meant for. A constant state of crisis for which any empty space gets used up, and a construction industry which explores any possibility to take up construction in the name of the poor but never seeks to address solutions for the bottom 40% in the city.

The 500,000 houses were never built. But the ones that were build remain empty as MMRDA did not develop the management strategy and framework for supervision. When the buildings collapsed these were the only tenements that were available and are to be used for transits accommodation. Anyone who knows about transit accommodation knows several generations grow in these homes until the time when they forget where their grandparents were moved out from and build their lives around these localities.