Does hearing the word ‘slum’ conjure up an image of shanty, dingy places with sub-standard (or worse) living conditions like inadequate water-supply and insufficient sanitation facilities? The land of the ‘urban-poor’, informal settlers in their informal income-generation means ‘struggling’ to survive in their informal settlements- the Slums. 

In the late 20th century, the stigma regarding slums had developed them into a threat for the urban society and the best solution seemed to be their eradication. That met with a lot of retaliation and worsened the already existing condition as the slum-dwellers were left with no other option than to resettle, most likely in places with worse conditions for living. It was realized sometime later that slums are an innovative mix of residential and commercial urban-systems.

Even today, slums are considered as urban corners unfit for living, but now the efforts to ‘improve’ on them focus on a study and analysis of their formation and functioning, social inclusion strategies, and affordable development or redevelopment projects. 

The following are 10 Architects/firms working on the redevelopment of slums:

1. Prasanna Desai Architects

The Pune based firm specializes in Interior, Architecture, Urban Design, and Landscape Planning. Getting recognition for their ideas regarding housing scheme for CIDCO as the best housing in India with the JK Architect of the Year Award in 1993, among others, encouraged the firm to undertake various slum-redevelopment projects in regions like Kothrud, Yerwada, and Bhubaneswar. Their project of Slum Upgradation in Pune, under BSUP-JNNURM, focuses on rehabilitation of the slum within the existing urban fabric. 

To know more:

Prasanna Desai Architects - Sheet1
Slum redevelopment at Kothrud, Pune ©
Prasanna Desai Architects - Sheet2
Insitu Slum Rehabilitation Project, Yerwada, Pune ©
Prasanna Desai Architects - Sheet3
Slum Cluster Development, Bhubaneshwar ©

2. Urbz

Founded in 2008, Urbz is an ‘experimental’ action and research collective with offices in Mumbai, Bogotá, São Paulo, Geneva, and Seoul. They work with citizens, associations, private clients, and local governments to develop and work with participatory planning and design strategy. 

To know more:

Urbz - Sheet1
Habitat 100: Chawl redevelopment ©
Urbz - Sheet2
Delta V, Versoix, Geneva ©
Urbz - Sheet3
Koli Jamat Community Hall, Dharavi ©

3. Norman Foster Foundation

In May 2018, Norman Foster Foundation was invited by the government of Odisha, and Tata Trusts to develop the master plans for slums under Odisha Liveable Habitat Mission. The team visited the three sites for developing models of in-situ and greenfield development through community consultation and participatory planning exercises to design the slum space into a holistic liveable habitat.   

To know more:

Norman Foster Foundation - Sheet1
Discussions with the public ©
Norman Foster Foundation - Sheet2
Understanding the requirements ©
Norman Foster Foundation - Sheet3
Public discussions ©


Founded in 2009, mHS CITY LAB works to improve the quality of informally built urban housing with a human-centered design approach. Their portfolio includes socially inclusive cities designed and tested as feasible solutions for safer housing for informal settlements. They have worked on projects like Sunder Nagari slum redevelopment as a part of the Rajiv Awas Yojana in Delhi. 

To know more:

mHS CITY LAB - Sheet1
mHS CITY LAB - Sheet2
mHS CITY LAB - Sheet3

5. Urban Nouveau

In 2006, Urban Nouveau got involved in the design and construction of a school in the slum of Rocinha in Rio de Janeiro. The participatory design and construction approach they undertook during that project paved the way for their current design strategy. In 2008, architects Filipe Balestra and Sara Goransson were invited by SPARC India to design an incremental housing strategy that could be implemented in multiple urban slums. The architects developed a strategy that allowed the district to improve organically without any demolition or rebuilding. The Pilot project was implemented in Pune. 

To know more:

Urban Nouveau - Sheet1
Incremented and customized Kaccha Houses (Collage) ©
Urban Nouveau - Sheet2
Aerial Collage of the new archipelago ©
Urban Nouveau - Sheet3

6. PK Das and Associates

When the Mumbai Airport Redevelopment Project was announced, the next big task was to arrange for the rehabilitation of the slum dwellers who had squatted around the runways. The sheer scale of the project was comparable to a fully-fledged urban renewal scheme- almost 82000 slum families were to be rehabilitated. PK Das and Associates started the project in 2008, planning residential units of 269 sq.ft. The project met with some unfavorable circumstances in the way and is yet to be completed. 

To know more:

PK Das and Associates - Sheet1
Aerial View of the proposed design ©
PK Das and Associates - Sheet2
Site plan of the proposed design ©
PK Das and Associates - Sheet3
Visualizing the proposed design ©

7. Urban-Think Tank 

Urban-Think Tank was founded in 1998, by American architect Alfredo Brillembourg and Australian architect Hubert Klumpner as an interdisciplinary design practice dedicated to research and design concerning architecture and urbanism. They have worked in global contexts in informal urban areas. With projects like Metro Cable and Torre David in their portfolio, they aim to create innovative solutions to the practical problems of informal settlements and urban poor.

To know more:

Urban-Think Tank  - Sheet1
Metro stations are integrated with public space, educational facilities, and shopfronts. ©
Urban-Think Tank  - Sheet2
Metro Cable System ©
Urban-Think Tank  - Sheet3
Torre David, the ‘vertical slum’ ©

8. Anangpur Building Centre

Founded in 1991 by Ar. Anil Laul, ABC has worked on many demonstration projects in slum areas of Delhi, applying modern structural solutions to develop affordable housing strategies. In 2003, ABC won the World Habitat Award for its Jaunapur Slum Resettlement Scheme. The project deals with integrating slum-resettlement with sustainability while tackling the issues of shortage of land and other amenities. 

To know more:


Anangpur Building Centre - Sheet1
Anangpur Building Centre - Sheet2
Anangpur Building Centre - Sheet3

9. Shelter Associates

Shelter Associates is a Pune based agglomeration of architects, social workers, GIS analysts, and community workers from different parts of the world. Working with urban poor, elected representatives, government officials, and CSOs, they aim to generate inclusive, effective, scalable, and sustainable policies and projects.

To know more:

Shelter Associates - Sheet1
Integrated Housing and Slum Development Programme ©
Shelter Associates - Sheet2
Dattawadi Exterior ©
Shelter Associates - Sheet3
Kamgar Housing ©

10. M M project consultants Pvt. Ltd. 

Mukesh Mehta PCPL specializes in Slum Redevelopment, Rural Development, and Urban Renewal projects. They focus on the prospects of inclusive growth, poverty alleviation, and sustainable development. They have an experience of over 500,000 slum structures in different parts of India, including the Dharavi Redevelopment project of 2004. 

To know more:

M M project consultants Pvt. Ltd. - Sheet1
M M project consultants Pvt. Ltd. - Sheet2
M M project consultants Pvt. Ltd. - Sheet3

Pursuing his bachelors’ degree of architecture, he is still exploring whatis it exactly that draws him to it. He believes that every story is worth knowing and wants to exchange them with the world irrespective of the form- brush strokes, words, musical notes or bricks and mortar.