At the core of every IndiaNext competition hosted by UltraTech Cement lies the determined endeavour to take up some of the biggest challenges currently facing the country. At the same time, it also understands that the solutions to these challenges are likely to be too huge for one set of professionals to put together. Hence, the initiative creates a collaborative environment and brings together the best of minds to address them.
Over the past few years, critical areas like smart city planning, skill development, efficient mobility and public transport, water, sanitation and waste management, along with housing for a bursting population have been successfully ventured into. In the last three years, IndiaNext has leveraged the vision and skills of engineers, architects and builders from across the country to design for tomorrow's India.
As it enters Edition 04, IndiaNext, true to tradition, delves right into the heart of a vision that is steadily turning real. India lives in its villages and that is where our future is evolving. The initiative is set to explore the compelling dynamics of development through a reality that cannot or rather, should not be denied anymore. Even before we live the 100 years of freedom between 1947 and 2047, this competition is poised to go beyond preconceptions and prejudices and design Village 2047.
In 2047 India will celebrate a hundred years of independence. While there will be various parameters to measure the nation’s progress, the yardstick that will ultimately define our country’s ‘development’ in the most succinct terms is already emerging and shaping itself in the most transformative of ways - the rural landscape. 70% of India’s population – roughly one-tenth of humanity – live in the villages. Isn’t it logical then to assume that their ability to offer fulfilling lives to their inhabitants is germinal to India’s future as a great global power? In fact, an India with 6,49,481 self-sufficient progressive villages is a far bigger and more sustainable opportunity to drive growth than trying to convert the already stifled chaotic urban environments into “smart cities” like the rest of the world is attempting to do.
Fortunately for us, the question is rhetorical; the Indian rural landscape is no more a dormant mine of potential. It is well on its way to realising and optimising its inherent possibilities. Statistics clearly show that a rural to rural migration is far greater than the rural to urban one, and is an indicator that larger villages are now seen as a more viable economic option than cities.
The current government, clearly seeing the opportunity to redress the skewed path of economic development for India has tipped the balance of energies towards the Indian villages through the introduction of two of the most publicised policies, the Swachh Bharat Abhiyaan (SBM) and the Pradhan Mantri Awas Yojana (PMAY), along with the cluster of 7 schemes under the Gram Swaraj Abhiyan - PM Ujjwala Yojana, PM Sahaj Bijli Har Ghar Yojana - Saubhagya, Unnat Jyoti by Affordable LEDs for All Yojana, PM Jan Dhan Yojana, PM Jeevan Jyoti Bima Yojana, PM Suraksha Bima Yojana and Mission Indra-Dhanush. These initiatives also underline the fact that rural India is growing in strength and is claiming a greater share of the budget allocation.
Population breakdown of India (million)
Most engineers and architects are based in and practice in urban or periurban areas. The current urban professional and educational view is far removed from the reality that is the new Indian village. IndiaNext is meant to be both a reality check and the opportunity to align the course of development along the lines of progress. It is the one big chance to ride the renaissance of rural resurgence that will call for the questioning of long held conventional beliefs in building and make way for participation in the making of the nation's future.
Rural India is no longer the stereotypical gaon with thatched roofs looking towards the big city in star-struck wonder. In reality, the local village child sports the latest haircut, listens to the latest chartbuster, while his father is busy navigating the web to look for global solutions to crop-yield issues. His mother, like the others in the village, though illiterate, isn't idle either. In all likelihood, she is adding to the family income through well-organised home- stays and the sale of local crafts. What's more, today's nouveau rich farmer is clear he wants the house of his dreams to look like the image he Googled yesterday.
Percentage increase in monthly per capita expenditure
While the ambitions are articulate and income is available, house builders and local contractors rarely benefit from the breadth of the knowledge and experience available with the urban educated architect or engineer. The opportunity therefore lies in developing a unique identity that is cognizant of the need of the landscape without the shallowness of an 'urban imposition'.
The challenge of this competition is to disabuse any perceptions of the rural segment as being in need of deliverance. On the contrary, the idea is to interpret their aspirations, infuse it with world-class design sensibility and create an architectural template that suits the new progressive rural consciousness.
The competition aligns itself closely with The Pradhan Mantri Awas Yojana-Gramin and the objective of the Union Ministry of Rural Development to provide pucca homes to each rural household by 2022
The Jury will evaluate entries on the basis of a balanced approach between interpretation of the concept through the medium of local materials including cement/concrete, design aesthetics, technical excellence and ability to inspire a global audience. Weightage will be given on the due translation of the following parameters:
Please note that the entry/entries must be submitted as per the mentioned guidelines for it to be considered valid. Any missing or incomplete information will be considered as a basis of disqualification
The plot for the house/housing must be an actual site with accurate dimensions and the site details should be corroborated by photographs, basic outline of the plot and its surroundings, existing and possibly proposed infrastructure, as part of the brief. It could be a house currently under development that would give in-depth information on the infrastructure and environmental conditions.
Project : Aranya Low Cost Housing
Type : Housing Location: Indore, India
Design Team : Vastushilpa Consultants
Aranya, 6km from Indore, will eventually house a total population of 60,000 in 6,500 dwellings, on a net planning area of 85ha. The master plan, prepared by the Vastu-Shilpa Foundation in 1983, is designed around a central spine comprising the business district. Six sectors, each with populations of 7000-12,000, lie to the east and west of the spine and are diagonally bisected by linear parks. Ten houses, each with a courtyard at the back, form a cluster that opens onto a street. Internal streets and squares are paved. Septic tanks are provided for each group of twenty houses, and electricity and water are available throughout. The site plan accommodates and integrates a variety of income groups. The poorest are located in the middle of each of the six sectors, while the better off obtain plots along the peripheries of each sector and the central spine.
Architect Brinda Somaya is an Indian architect and urban conservationist. In May 2012 she was the recipient of an honorary doctorate from her alma mater, Smith College. In 2014 she was awarded the Indian Institute of Architects Baburao Mhatre Gold Medal for Lifetime Achievement. She was also appointed an Andrew Dickson White Professor-at-Large at Cornell University from 2017 to 2023.
Project : Rehabilitation of Bhadli Village
Type : Community Location: Kutch, Gujarat