This presenatation traces KRVIA’s attempt to engage with the subject of informality through its research projects as well its design studios. Its intent is, through looking at these projects, to be able to abstract the learning of this engagement and subsequently evolve a framework that is systematically able to incorporate this subject within the academic curricula. This effort is embedded within the frame work of the BINUCOM (Building Inclusive Communities) project that has a larger question of trying to make the practice of design relevant and inclusive for the other half of the population, not only in India, but also globally; for people who live, work and recreate, outside what the legal systems can provide. The BINUCOM is a project funded by the European Union, of which KRVIA is a partner along with other European and Indian institutions that has the primary objective of being able to frame course material on the subject. This is in the background of the Pradhan Mantri Awas Yojna(PMAY) announced by the government that promises to provide 22 millions houses by 2022. However, to be able to achieve this goal, the collaborating institutes have realized that the twin phenomena of informality and inclusivity needs to be understood in the Indian scenario.
By being able to comprehend these phenomena there is a possibility to provide alternatives to the narrow imaginations of living and working, based on which most of the formal plans and policies of the contemporary global cities, including Mumbai, are created. In these cases, the majority of the city is not able to participate and is left out of the popular imaginations of creating thriving exclusive “financial centres” with “world class residential environments”.
However, to affect this change, apart from understanding the twin concept of informality and inclusivity it would also entail expanding the process of design, the mode of representation as well as the techniques of form making that are presently embedded in our architectural curricula.