SIFFS’ Approach to Housing:
Learning from the experiences of past public housing projects and committed to giving due respect to peoples’ needs, SIFFS took up the project with a resolve to build habitats; not just houses. It was understood that if the houses were not built according to the villagers’ needs, it would be yet another disaster involving colossal wastage of money and time.
The question to be addressed was, what could be the right strategy for an effective housing project in the given context? Could there be an alternative that would overcome the limitations caused by the three aspects of typical projects – callousness towards community perception, lack of attention to individual needs, and contractor driven method which pre‐empted the possibility of people’s participation in the process?
Through a series of planning and brain storming sessions, SIFFS devised a strategy that had factoring in people’s needs, aspirations, life styles, and socio‐cultural norms as an important component. The idea was to go beyond mere provision of four walls and a roof; and to see houses as customised products having cultural,
economic, technical and political dimensions. Ensuring community participation was considered the core of the strategy. Thus, SIFFS formulated an ambitious plan to customise the houses for all house owners
in a participatory manner.