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Anant Centre for Sustainability

A think-do-teach tank that focuses on affordable housing, indigenous models of circular economy, and building sustainable education campuses in India. The centre publishes research reports, releases multimedia products and delivers relevant courses and projects related to sustainability.

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Solutions We Focus on


DesignX university


Indigenous models of
Circular Economy


Research Areas

  • Affordable Housing
  • PMAY-Urban: Can Housing for All be achieved?
  • Indigenous Models of Circular Economy in India
  • Sustainable Campus

Affordable Housing

Affordable Housing at Anant has a solutionary approach – we analyze the challenges, look at best practices, possible solutions and their impact. We partner with institutions, organizations and governments from across the world to better address the challenges of housing. Our work is multi-disciplinary and geography agnostic. Our academic programs take the same approach and are offered across undergraduate, graduate and executive levels.

The multi-disciplinary team brings together a diverse range of backgrounds across the industry, public policy, research, investments and civil society. The Affordable Housing team is at the forefront for research in this space and has published extensively.

During COVID-19, the Affordable Housing team presented a comprehensive plan to convert underutilized buildings into COVID care centres. The proposal was implemented by us setting up more than 27 hospitals across 6 states. We also pioneered the use of recyclable corrugated furniture for healthcare and delivered a range of emergency and testing vehicles based on rickshaw platforms. These are some of the cheapest such vehicles in the world.

Vacant Housing

India faces a crippling shortage of urban housing while nearly 14% of houses in cities lie vacant. This is endemic to all urban areas in India. The Centre has planned to better understand this phenomenon through a series of city reports starting with Ahmedabad.

Ahmedabad has one of the largest stock of vacant housing in the country. The report was based on an exhaustive primary survey covering 50 government and private housing colonies spread across the city. The survey looked to identify what could be the structural reasons and what could be city or location-specific.

The report culminated in a number of specific short and long terms interventions that can be done by the government to incentivize the occupation of these homes.

To know more, click here

Housing for Construction Workers

Safe and adequate housing remains one of the biggest challenges in India and in an irony of fate, the people building dream homes for us remain the most deprived. During the COVID-19 pandemic, we saw the largest human reverse migration in Indian history.

In collaboration with the Terwilliger Centre for Innovation in Shelter (TCIS), the Centre is looking to understand the role played by the lack of adequate housing in influencing the decision of migrants to return home. The report, based on past and current living conditions, will propose needed policy changes and whether the Affordable Rental Housing Complexes policy has a role to play. The report will also look at alternate materials and technologies to propose possible design solutions.

In 2012, the estimated housing shortage in India was 18.78 million. 56.18 percent of the shortage pertains to households with annual incomes of about INR 100,000, and 39.44 percent is for those with annual incomes of less than INR 200,000. By 2050, India will have added 416 million dwellers in the country’s urban pockets, where the problem of inadequate housing is even more acute.

With a vision of ‘Housing for All by 2022’, Government of India launched the “Pradhan Mantri Awas Yojana – Housing for All’ scheme on 25 June 2015. The successful implementation of the PMAY-U would significantly reduce the estimated housing shortage of close to 20 million households. With less than a year to the target, this study aims to identify the challenges and opportunities for accelerating the implementation of the PMAY-U, as well as make recommendations, if required, for changes in guidelines, management etc. of the PMAY for its extension beyond 2022.

The research will cover secondary literature and data sources to document the measures taken by the Government over time to meet housing needs of the population, including the outcomes of previous schemes. It will document PMAY-U approaches and good practices that have enabled housing for the poor under its various options, as well as current status of implementation by State and by the largest cities. The aim is to identify reasons for good, medium and poor progress.

The primary research will focus on Ahmedabad, the city across India that has the maximum number of houses sanctioned (228,910) and completed (130,527) under PMAY-U.

Indigenous Models of Circular Economy in India

The circular economy is a resource-efficient manner of life that produces no waste. All materials involved in the process are consumed, recycled or reused. There are several authentic Indian enterprise models that are intrinsically circular, driven by resource scarcity. But these models are lesser-known by the world. They are often found in the parallel economy, therefore less documented and hardly ever showcased.

To draw attention to these models, the Centre for Sustainability at Anant gathered subject-matter experts from academia, consulting firms and industry for ‘Industrial Symbiosis Round Table’ to discuss industrial symbiosis – a challenge and an opportunity, on 14 of December 2019 at Anant campus. The discussion was followed by a research project that discovered traditional Indian practices of the circular economy and analysed the design perspectives that can be scaled as business models. The research presented ways in which India’s intangible heritage in the domain of sustainability can be preserved and given a new life.

Know more about Industrial Symbiosis Round Table

Sustainable Campus

The Anant Centre for Sustainability is responsible for transforming Anant into becoming a sustainable campus. The University has pledged to become plastic-free. The centre has taken steps to establish waste management practices such that all our waste is minimised, segregated, recycled or reused. The centre is responsible for ensuring that sustainability is embedded in the student curriculum, values, and everyday campus life. We believe that the learnings from our activities can be leveraged to benefit other educational institutions who have the will to transform into sustainable campuses. The centre records and documents all the actions taken in this field, measures the impact generated, and disseminates information in the public domain. Know more

Sustainability Talks

The centre has conducted multiple activities to introduce students to the idea of sustainable design. The centre collaborated with design festival, Bengaluru ByDesign for two consecutive years, 2018 and 2019, which curated design thinking, innovation and sustainability through creative events. These events comprised workshops and lectures by industry experts and academics of international repute along with an exhibition on the built environment.

Currently, the centre periodically organises interactive workshops on waste management to introduce staff and students to the magnitude of waste challenges.

Know more about the initiatives

Reports and Projects

  • Report:
    Shelter Solutions for Migrant Construction Workers
  • Report:
    Industrial Symbiosis in India – Challenge or Opportunity
  • Report:
    The Paradox of Vacant Houses
    in India: City Series
  • Project:
    Anant Mobile COVID-19 Testing
    and Oxygen Auto-rickshaw
  • Project:
    Anant COVID-19 Recovery Centres
  • Project:
    Anant Corrugated Cardboard Beds
  • Project:
    Anant COVID-19 Communication

The Anant Centre for Sustainability at Anant National University, Ahmedabad and the Terwilliger Centre for Innovation in Shelter at Habitat for Humanity, collaborated to study the housing challenges of migrant construction workers who make up 41.6% of short-term and 5.3% of long-term migrants of rural origin across India.

The aim of the research was to develop an overall understanding of the housing challenges of migrant construction workers, especially challenges following the COVID 19 pandemic related lockdown in India in 2020. The research focused on the journey of the migrant construction workers from the villages to cities in Maharashtra. This involved a survey in one district each in the states of Bihar, Uttar Pradesh and Odisha from where a large number of construction labour migrate from, and surveys in the cities of Mumbai, Navi-Mumbai, Panvel and Vasai (MNM-PV) and in Pune and Pimpri-Chinchwad (Pune-PCMC) where construction labour migrate to.

The objective was to understand key parameters such as the kind of accommodation migrants looked for in the cities, with whom they share it, the reasons that prompted them to return to the villages during the COVID-19 lockdown, in what ways has life changed for them since their return to the city post-pandemic, and what kind of housing solutions would work best for them. The findings of this research informs stakeholders in the construction sector of the aspects related to social infrastructure and housing that are critical to migrant workers. The research report includes unique and practical housing solutions for migrant workers in the construction sector.

Report is available here

The development of industrial ecosystems is dependent on the availability of an adequate supply of raw materials and its sustainable use. The rapid growth of industrial estates and the flow (or lack of it) of materials within these estates raises important questions around resource efficiency. Indeed, companies within Indian industrial estates violating waste management rules is a perennial problem. Further, it is much more challenging to attain a closed-loop system of material exchange within an industrial estate in India. However, our research also found early attempts of industrial symbiosis in some cases and a well-entrenched informal waste management system that currently overrides all formal material exchanges.

The study finds that the biggest challenge for successful industrial symbiosis within industrial estates to be the lack of trust and cooperation among companies to network, communicate, and exchange materials. On the other hand, we found that there were interactions amongst several company managers on issues related to the environment, water pollution, waste management, infrastructure and management of the industrial estate, which could lead to an environmentally favourable decision on exchanging waste materials for utilisation. There were also several informal interactions during commuting, events and casual engagements amongst company managers.

Report is available here


The report examines significant determining factors of vacant houses in Ahmedabad in the context of the mismatch between the shortage of housing and an abundance of vacant housing. The report identifies several reasons, some that are endemic to the whole country, some that are specific to the dynamics of the city and the state and some to a particular building type (government vs. private). The report enumerates the reasons that make decent housing and dignified living conditions difficult in the cities. The report delves into statistical analysis of the housing situation such as the condition of the houses, ownership, government schemes among others in the context of urban and rural areas. Further, the report gives measures such as longer-term financing options, higher taxation of vacant houses among others to make housing available for all. The report highlights determinants of vacant houses such as lack of infrastructure, delayed documentation, exorbitant rents among others and offers solutions to solve these issues.

Report is available here


Anant Centre for Sustainability has developed ‘Anant Mobile COVID-19 Testing and Oxygen Auto-rickshaw’, an affordable, compact, effective and contact-free mobile facility for COVID-19 testing. The facility is also equipped with oxygen supply for emergencies as well as advanced X-ray technology. The auto-rickshaw, designed in two variants – one which only collects samples and other with an x-ray testing facility, allows easy door-to-door access and facilitates testing of nearly 500 people in a day. The facility is designed for COVID-19 patients with mild symptoms. Both the versions of the auto-rickshaw are equipped with a stretcher and oxygen supply, which enables swift and hassle-free transportation of patients to the hospital.


Anant National University has tied up with various stakeholders to set-up COVID-19 recovery facilities across the country. As part of this initiative, Anant transformed the existing infrastructure such as apartments, community halls into COVID-19 recovery facilities to provide temporary hospitals with ICUs and quarantine centres. These centres cater to all segments of society and will treat patients with mild symptoms of COVID-19. Till date, Anant has transformed the following spaces into a COVID-19 recovery facility

  • Rajiv Gandhi Institute of Development Studies in Thiruvananthapuram, Kerala, into a 20-bed facility
  • Built a 100-bed facility at Dongri’s Najam Baug, 250-bed facility at St Xavier’s College and 350-bed facility at MP Mills Compound in Mumbai
  • Rajkot Municipal Corporation Hall, Rajkot into a 75-bed facility


Anant has developed laminated corrugated board bed, side table and foldable divider as an affordable alternative to beds available at the hospital. These beds are sturdy, waterproof, easy to produce, assemble and transport and can also be easily disinfected. The centre chose this material as it is cost-effective, environment friendly, can last up to 10 years. The University has collaborated with a local manufacturer and design firm to produce these beds which cost between 8 to 15% of the price of the conventional items. The products are also laminated so they can be spray disinfected and are not affected by cleaning.


The Anant Centre for Sustainability has conducted numerous conversation around the use of sustainable approached such as effective waste management, waste segregation and many others. The centre is actively involved in research and publishes research reports, multimedia products, create and teach relevant course work and implement projects. Besides, the centre has come up with various innovations in the wake of the COVID pandemic such as visors, corrugated cardboard beds and side tables, auto-testing mobile oxygen van and COVID-19 recovery centres which received massive coverage across all the publishing houses.


Anant Centre for Sustainability and Sustain Labs Paris partnership seeks to address the gap of communicating the concept of sustainability by breaking it down into an impactful and easily understood format. This is through the centre's experience and skills in both sustainability and visual design. SLP and BW Businessworld India, a monthly business magazine with the largest circulation in India, have partnered to assess and rank Indian companies on their sustainability performance. There is no fee charged from the largest 200 companies and there is no fee charged by SLP from BW Businessworld either. The companies are assessed fairly and transparently on their performance against six aspects outlined in the SLP Sustainability Cube - a proprietary framework created by SLP. The assessment scores, rankings and associated write-ups are published in an annual special issue on sustainability by BW Businessworld in the month of December each year.

Centre Programmes

  • Bachelor of Technology specialising in Climate Change
  • Fellowship
  • Foundation course on sustainability
  • Executive Education
  • Anant Technology Prize


The unique B.Tech degree at Anant is a specialised engineering program specifically for innovating in climate technologies. It is the only undergraduate degree program in India offering students to specialise in climate technologies and thus be part of the $23 trillion climate economy globally.

Students learn to use engineering tools and design thinking principles with practical application-oriented learning at Anant’s Climate Lab, within industry, government, research laboratories for creating technology solutions for climate change.

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The Anant Fellowship for Climate Action is a unique one-year immersive global programme for climate change solutionaries. Based on a mentor-mentee framework, it aims at creating a community of climate change trailblazers who collaborate and cross-pollinate each other’s work with ideas and expertise from across sectors, regions and generations.Know more

Students at Anant National University benefit from developing a robust foundation in sustainable design and practices by leveraging the resources offered by the Anant Centre for Sustainability. One key component of which is the Foundation Year course on ‘Introduction to Sustainability’. Students trace the origins of ‘sustainability development’ since the early 1800s across academia, politics, business. They read key texts and publications that shaped the meaning of sustainability as we know it today, and learn about key topics such as waste to wealth, circular economy, industrial symbiosis, stakeholder mapping, sanitation and water in housing, as well as affordable housing and product design.

The lack of formal education in sustainability studies, including climate sciences, affordable housing, design thinking for solving social problems, deepens the need for executive education in this field. Working professionals, job seekers, students can sign up for Executive Education courses offered by the Anant Centre for Sustainability round the year. Currently, we offer two programs, which are as follows.

Designing Affordable Living

The programme aims to enable students to understand the needs for affordable living in India, and then effectively design, produce, and market affordably priced items made with limited resources in short durations of time. This is an aspect of design especially important to provide a life of dignity and comfort even to those who are economically disadvantaged.

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Entrepreneurs in Residence(EIR)

The EIR programme is envisioned to help three entrepreneurs with either a well-fleshed out business idea or an existing business in the field of affordable housing, building construction, real estate, design and prop tech, who could leverage Anant’s physical infrastructure, expertise and partnerships to scale up.

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Anant Technology Prize is an initiative of the Anant School for Climate Action that invites aspiring engineers from across the world to submit technology-led solutions to climate change.

The best solution will be rewarded with direct entry into the final round of interviews for the Bachelor of Technology specialising in Climate Technologies at Anant National University.

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Centre Partners

The Anant Centre for Sustainability works in partnership with select international and Indian organisations to further its mission of advanced research and project implementation in climate action, affordable housing, indigenous models of circular economy, and building sustainable education campuses. In implementing projects, the Centre has received grants and sponsorships from both government organisations and private sector companies. We have also delivered to clients in locations across India, products and solutions related to affordable housing, corporate sustainability, and sustainable campuses.

  • Terwilliger Centre for Innovation in Shelter (TCIS)
  • Habitat for Humanity – India
  • Saltech Design Labs
  • MIT solve

Terwilliger Centre for Innovation in Shelter (TCIS) – USA, is an independent entity set up within Habitat for Humanity International to deal with a market-based approach and create an impact on 100 million lives. It functions independently of Habitat for Humanity with its budget and team. TCIS has set up and manages several funds for investing in housing ecosystem start-ups, including the much-lauded Micro Build Fund – which has led to the development of commercial paper by Credit Suisse for investments in the affordable housing space.

Anant partners in research on areas of mutual interest with TCIS. The areas of cooperation may include, subject to mutual consent, any desirable and feasible activity that would further the goals of each institution.

Such interaction may include cooperation in a variety of joint academic and education activities such as:

  • The impact of accessibility to housing microfinance on low-income families
  • Which materials or services have the most impact in creating a vibrant housing ecosystem
  • How to integrate sustainable technologies in low-income housing construction


Further, both organisations are keen to develop and conduct modules for capacity building in the affordable housing space. The capacity-building platform would be open for students and faculty members to work with the portfolio companies of TCIS.

Habitat for Humanity – India (HfHI) is one of the largest organizations working to provide decent shelter to families. HfHI sets the stage for families, volunteers, donors, and supporters to come together to build suitable homes that provide the foundation for a better life.

HfHI and Anant anticipate that a number of initiatives will occur during the period of this MOU. The key objectives of this exercise would be to address the issue of 30 million uncomplete homes and their possible solutions. The focus would be on the self-build space, which accounts for 60 percent of all home construction in India.

To fulfil the above-mentioned objectives, scope of the work is classified in key heads such as:

  • Volunteering Programme: Assistance to each other with Construction, Technology, Innovation & Design to the affordable housing by sending their students/staffs on the field for volunteering programs.
  • Knowledge Hub and Workshops: Facilitate and host key research workshops to enhance the efficiency of the housing projects.
  • Research and Development: Undertake research, assessment, development of tools and resources that facilitate dialogue and synergy of best practices between different operating models and stakeholders.
  • Research Aspect: To conduct joint action-based research such that it is implemented in field-level, policies and practices. These researches shall make an impact in creating awareness within the areas worked upon and the public, in general.
  • Publishing: Case studies and innovation may be presented in national/international conferences and published in reputed Journals and Magazines.

Saltech Design Labs is a technology startup that re-cycles and up-cycles plastic waste into commercial products for use in the construction industry.

  • Anant provides design support to Saltech to develop new products using its technology
  • oth parties focus on design competitions and exercises to create new products that can be mass-produced and taken to market

The Anant Fellowship for Climate Action is a member of MIT Solve, an initiative of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, USA, with a mission to solve world challenges. The Fellows will be involved in various initiatives by MIT Solve all through the year. is an online climate school and community developed with the objective of building a global professional community of climate change problem solvers. The course, ‘Climate Change: Learning for Action’ is a 12-week interactive climate Bootcamp that gives a deep and strategic overview of all things about climate.

Anant Centre for Sustainability Team

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