Conversation with Additional Chief Architect – CIDCO

  • Name: Mrs. Rekha Dhar
  • Designation:  Additional Chief Architect, CIDCO
  • Conference: New Trends in Affordable Housing Projects, Singapore
  • Date: 15th – 17th April, 2015

Thank you Mrs. Rekha Dhar. Could you tell me which conference you attended and who was part of the delegation?

We represented CIDCO at the ‘New Trends in Affordable Housing Projects’ conference in Singapore held between April 15 and 17, 2015. I was joined by Mr. R. B. Dhayatkar (SE & Adm. of KHR-II) and Mrs. Manjula Nayak (TPO).

What were the objectives of the New Trends in Affordable Housing conference?

Primarily the objectives were to discuss the new trends in affordable housing developed by the Singapore government. The topics revolved around community planning and inclusive design, alternative materials and technologies, housing finance and sustainable constructions. I believe as different countries have different parameters, the definitions of affordability in Singapore may not be completely applicable in India. In Singapore there are centralised affordability norms that make  housing affordable. Similarly, in India we need to have centralised norms for better implementation of affordable housing. The Central Government’s ‘Housing for All’ policy could help in achieving this goal.

Were topics such as development of policies and centralised norms covered in the conference?

The topics of discussion in the conference were primarily affordable housing scenarios in different countries. However, a few presentations showcased norms and urban design scenarios developed by the Singapore Housing Development Board (HDB). We can learn from those case studies and emulate them in Navi Mumbai.

To support these discussions, the conference also included a site visit to an affordable housing project at Duxton in Singapore.

Could you shed some light on any affordable housing initiative that CIDCO has taken? Is there any learning from the conference that you intend to take forward?

We do not have any centralised norms for any organisation in India whether it is CIDCO, MHADA or any other organisation. As of now we are developing affordable housing by controlling unit sizes. CIDCO intends to embrace technology to develop affordable housing such as MIVAN, pre-fab construction, etc. which will enable quick construction, thereby saving time and other costs. There was some exposure to MIVAN technology for housing in the conference, which was quite beneficial. We have experimented with MIVAN technology in a couple of projects and are now moving ahead with pre-fab construction housing techniques in Navi Mumbai.

Could you mention some of the sessions that took place in the conference that were especially beneficial to you as a participant?

There were sessions related to green buildings, affordable housing, design and policy making, financing and affordability which were quite beneficial for the CIDCO team, in general.

Finally, what was your general experience about Singapore?

It is a very well designed city. All parts of the city are neat and clean. Following urban design guidelines is mandatory which makes it a suitable city to live. Most importantly, it is safe for its citizens. In Navi Mumbai, we must implement and follow similar urban design guidelines and try to imbibe them with the ‘Smart Cities’ project. The ongoing Airport Rehabilitation project can be taken as a pilot for the same. Overall, it was an excellent opportunity for learning and bringing back the ideas to Navi Mumbai.