Visiting Mumbai: An International Study Group
Following a successful trip in 2016, The Chartered Institute of Housing alongside Notting Hill Genesis invited professionals from across the world to return to the financial capital of India to discover and assess the government’s progress towards achieving their goal of ‘Housing for All’. Lauren Chandler, a Principal Consultant at Blayze Group, was excited to secure for a position in the Study Group after hearing about the trip online and offers her direct insights throughout this article.
“I wanted to be a part of the trip as I saw it as an excellent opportunity to understand more about the methodologies and ideas behind overcoming the housing crisis. It was an opportunity for experts in the UK market to go and share ideas with some of the industry leaders in India.”
Not only was this a fantastic opportunity to visit Mumbai, but it was also a chance to understand the housing crisis first-hand. With an estimated 104 million people living in Indian slums, The Study Trip aspired to spark discussions around affordable housing and policy-making between both central and state governments among many other topics. Sessions hosted by the Founders and CEOs of Indian Housing, Development and Financial companies gave expert insight into the issues behind the government’s ambitious efforts to reduce the number of those living in poor housing situations.
“It was the chance to hear from and meet some of the people on the front line tackling the housing crisis. I was also looking forward to seeing what potential opportunities I would have to influence the market and the role that I can play.”
The trip also highlighted societal and cultural factors that are contributing to the widespread homelessness and poor living conditions. Traditionally, mortgages and home deeds are signed solely to the men in relationships, leaving the women vulnerable to homelessness if their relationship was to break-down. As a result, philanthropists are developing programmes to help vulnerable women across India. Pradnya Ponkshe (Her Highnest) for example, has been committed to offering women mortgages and loans to assist them with their independent funding. The Study Group visited Pune, hosted by Mrs. Rajashree Nagane, to see a site developed by Svatantra Micro Housing Finance Corporation specifically to house women.
Pictured: Pune development for women during construction.
“Housing developments like this encourage women to take control of their lives. It was difficult to see how frightening it was for some Indian women to take the first step to independence.”
Inadequate funding in new housing developments was a recurring theme throughout the trip. Multiple houses and building projects have simply been abandoned early into the process, causing further land development issues down the line. As a result, the Indian government is now beginning to impose fines on companies that do not complete pre-planned projects. This is also resulting in growth for asset management firms which will help to ensure each development has allocated appropriate resources to deliver a finished site.
Pictured: Bamboo scaffolding used to develop affordable housing.
Overall, the Study Trip was a tremendous success for everyone involved. Having explored issues surrounding the volume of homelessness, the poor living conditions throughout the population, the frequency of incomplete construction developments and societal issues regarding a lack of housing for women, the experience was one that Lauren will never forget.
“It was such a good mix of people and experience. Everybody was incredibly welcoming and kind and it was a real privilege to have spent the week with such an inspirational group of people. I learned more in a week with them then I could have imagined and couldn’t be more grateful for the opportunity.”