Need to Improve Housing Holistically: Jakob Brandtberg Knudsen

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Jakob Brandtberg Knudsen

The Government of India’s vision of ‘Housing For All’ is an ambitious programme by the Centre that aims to provide an affordable abode to all in the country, especially the economically weak, low-income group and middle-income group sects of the society. Sharing his perspective on the move, Jakob Brandtberg Knudsen, Dean, School of Architecture, The Royal Danish Academy of Fine Arts, Design and Conservation, addressed the National Housing Summit 2020.

Jakob commenced his address by highlighting the challenges at first. He said, “We have a number of problems as a society in most parts of the world. We have a problem with affordable housing in terms of the presence of slums and squatters besides large multilevel buildings, villas, and posh societies. Therefore, we need to find ways to minimise the differences.”

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Continuing on the challenges, he pointed out, “The second big problem is of Climate Change. Moreover, another problem and the most prominent one is Health. There are a number of health problems that could occur due to the impact of the ways construction is being carried out in cities.”

“We can say that the construction and engineering industry is utilising around one-third of the resources of the Earth”, Jakob pointed out. Besides, he said that there is a need to realise that in the times to come more housing projects will be needed, especially considering India. “So, if we go wrong, we will have a major problem. However, if we get it right, we will probably have a solution wherein housing not only improves the living condition but also improve health, bring in equality, and safety, he added.

Citing an example of Pardis, a satellite city in Tehran, Iran, Jakob mentioned that because the city was not properly planned and offers no open public spaces, green spaces, transportation facilities, etc., and today people do not prefer living there. Further, highlighting a few more issues he presented an example from India wherein the same architectural design was replicated throughout the society for all the housing units. Therefore, he stated that every place or area has its own challenges and not one solution can fit in everywhere.

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Speaking on other solutions, Jakob highlighted that the construction techniques and materials used have to be different for those houses being built in hot and areas, temperate areas, and those in tropical areas. Later, he also enlisted the top 10 health problems that occur in India largely due to air pollution and the construction industry is a major contributor to it

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