Socio – economic aspects vs Architecture vs Environment


Socio economic effect ,architecture and environment always has to respond to each other. Many time architectural interpretations are derived by socio economic condition and environmental condition, it is in my opinion a good scenario but when it is visa a versa there are few concerns. As in when architecture for public use only responds to certain socio economic class it creates more imbalance in the society which is not good. And even in case it it responds to all the classes of the society and does not respond to environmental condition, it’s a huge concern.

When I read this question there were many other questions which started arising in my mind are what buildings are? What is city and its infrastructure?

We all perceive building in different way which again depends on socio economic condition of individuals.
In primitive times, caves were considered to be the dwellings (buildings). The evolution of humankind has made them so greedy and shelfish that people stop thinking about the harm to the environment that they are doing to the nature and aiming for luxury. Again for each one luxury is different.
Bigger concern is not that people aim for luxury and they are being selfish, but is this luxury in favor of an environment or against?

To answer these two questions this preface was important, as it is a back ground to my answers.

·         It is very tempting to seduce ourselves, as architects or as anybody keen on architecture or otherwise involved in the design process that the answer to our problems lies with buildings. Do you actually believe you can separate buildings out from the infrastructure of cities and mobility of transit and the expectations and incentives of people?

In case of public buildings, the things I as an architect need to answer through architectural expression is society and environment and for private architectural interventions, need to answer to individual’s choice and environment. Environment definitely remains a common factor. These days people design to fulfill client’s present requirements but we should not design considering just a present generation but also the future generation. We should minimize the criminal use of resources and use sustainable techniques.
Thus, I do believe architectural expression can answer social and environmental problems but i disagree that buildiing can be separated from the infrastructure of cities.

·         Why do people tend to believe that what is financially profitable (for developers) is not actually equivalent to economically feasible (positive impacts on social welfare)? How would you show that this does not necessarily have to be like this (but rather the opposite)?
I think for any business, profitability is one of the most important aspect, not just for an individual but also for that particular industry and an overall economy. In my opinion when developers look for their profitability there is nothing wrong in it as long as consumer is not being cheated and social n environmental aspects are taken care off. When it comes to economic feasibility I feel many of the real estate developments are executed in really good way.

If I take an example of a trend of real estate development happening in all the major Indian cities.

Real estate development depends a lot on land prices of an area where development is going to be done. Different economic class of any particular city is divided as per the varying land price. As per these varying land prices developers decide their targeted clients depending on their economic condition.

If i take a reference of Mumbai, we all know Mumbai is one of the most densely populated city in the world. Because of this density a lot of construction has happened, so now there hardly a free land within the city. And whatever land is available is so expensive that real estate development is not viable if developers are targeting middle class.

So these days there are lots of redevelopment projects going on. Also the Mumbai municipal corporation has implemented some really good development policies under which benefits for developers and consumers both are taken care off. For example, Town planning department of Mumbai municipal corporation is giving extra FSI (floor space index) for redevelopment project and this FSI is floating FSI  (i.e. if any case they cannot consume the whole FSI of one particular project than they can consume it later in their other projects).

Developers can take up any of the old residential buildings and propose a redevelopment project after getting NOC from all the apartment holders. Biggest challenge here for developer is to convince all these apartment holders, in this scenario these apartment holders are benefited. developers offer them twice or even bigger apartments than what they have, also a handsome amount and they will pay for the rented place till the time project is completed. After doing all this developers are still benefited as they get extra FSI and as per the new rules they build more so they earn money from the new costumers. Thus in this scenario I feel developers and consumers both are in a win-win situation.

Matter of concern
As I am talking considering Indian real estate business, the most alarming thing is that addressing sustainable issues is kept aside and for this only developers are not responsible but also the consumers. They doesn’t wants to pay for systems used in developing these sustainable techniques, for them luxury like air conditioning and maximum carpet area is more important. Builders in try to make these properties visually more pleasing forgetting this most important aspect.

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