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– Ar Yesha Gajjar, Faculty, Anant National University

With invaluable support from Anant National University, I attended the off-campus Teacher’s Training Programme at Nirma University, which focussed on the Design Charrette – Urban Housing. The programme introduced participants to different ways of explaining growth and change within cities, the diversity that exists across cities, and how urban inequalities – as witnessed in housing – are exacerbated and addressed. We examined the environmental consequences of urbanisation, prospects for creating sustainable cities, and the role of urban governance in securing social and environmental justice. These were conveyed through interactive sessions & discussions, site-visit & a rigorous studio-based Design Charrette for two weeks with the eminent speakers – Utpal Sharma, Sohan Neelkanth, Kirtee Shah, Yatin Pandya, Amarjeet Singh, Madhu Bharti, Pavan Bakeri and Jaydeep Bhagat.  Topics covered during the session were challenges of Housing: Globally and Locally, Approaches to Housing Design, Real Estate Impact on Housing, Overview of housing policies in India/Economics, Finance and Affordability, Innovation in housing, Design pedagogy. The programme emphasised on developing different pedagogical approaches and was a good opportunity for peer learning with group work and sharing of knowledge through discussions and jury participation. At the end of the course, we gained understanding on how to recognise the family’s needs in relation to housing, the basic principles of planning a house and designing life space, familiarising with housing, space management issues, and building services. We also acquired practical knowledge required to design spaces for different family needs.

The programme provided me the opportunity to engage in an intense, creative and innovative process of designing paradigms on Urban Housing. For me, the key learning from the session was the importance of adopting processes and planning strategies based on current demands, issues, and problems. The programme helped me improve my instructional practices within the classroom environment.