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Home is where the Earth is : exploring the adoption of vernacular architecture in urban housing in India

Satheesan, Neha LU (2017) In Master Thesis Series in Environmental Studies and Sustainability Science MESM02 20171
LUCSUS (Lund University Centre for Sustainability Studies)
Abstract
India has yet to build 70% of the buildings that will exist in 2030. The housing industry in India has
been growing rapidly in an effort to keep up with increasing urbanization, population growth and
aspirational consumption. Its growth is accompanied by a large ecological footprint, given the
resource intensive processes involved and the large amount of greenhouse gas emissions (GHG)
produced. Statistics indicate that construction industries in India are responsible for 35% of carbon
dioxide emissions. This is compounded by urbanization giving way to rapidly growing cities and new
ways of living, with urban areas having the highest built environment expansion rates. As a major
contributor to climate change, building sustainability... (More)
India has yet to build 70% of the buildings that will exist in 2030. The housing industry in India has
been growing rapidly in an effort to keep up with increasing urbanization, population growth and
aspirational consumption. Its growth is accompanied by a large ecological footprint, given the
resource intensive processes involved and the large amount of greenhouse gas emissions (GHG)
produced. Statistics indicate that construction industries in India are responsible for 35% of carbon
dioxide emissions. This is compounded by urbanization giving way to rapidly growing cities and new
ways of living, with urban areas having the highest built environment expansion rates. As a major
contributor to climate change, building sustainability in the construction industry, is of utmost
importance and relevant to further the course of sustainable development.
The architecture practice is a crucial step in the building process as it predetermines all the steps in
the value chain of the entire process. With modernization, traditional techniques and methods are
often abandoned. Today, Indian buildings stand largely influenced in their disposition, unfit for the
landscape, climate or regional cultures; the very principles that traditional vernacular architecture
abides by. This thesis proposes that vernacular architecture, given its inherent environmental, social
and economic sustainability should be streamlined to the urban residential context, and how this can
be achieved. In doing so, we can design better buildings, reduce consumption and emission of
greenhouse gases.
This thesis conceives architecture as a social practice in this thesis to study the elemental links that
make up a practice in conjunction with the levels of the operational space (niche, regime, landscape)
it is practiced in. In doing so, it uncovers the “unmaking of unsustainability” to find the path to
incorporating sustainability at the core of Indian architecture. Using practitioners of the practice to
inform the research. The findings reveal that vernacular architecture can be applied to the urban
context of housing in India through the active engagement and interaction of the social practices of
policy-making, education and architecture. The paper highlights the real challenge posed by
sustainability in the application of traditional vernacular architecture to the changing social, cultural,
economic and political context. It discusses the points of intervention, reinforcement, and
establishment of the practice to enable a macro-level change; thus, demonstrating how adoption of
vernacular architecture shows promise of serving as a compass for progressive sustainable
architecture while contributing to fulfilling the OECD objectives for sustainable building in a more
holistic manner. (Less)
Please use this url to cite or link to this publication:
author
Satheesan, Neha LU
supervisor
organization
course
MESM02 20171
year
type
H2 - Master's Degree (Two Years)
subject
keywords
sustainable transition, social practice, urban housing, sustainability science, vernacular architecture
publication/series
Master Thesis Series in Environmental Studies and Sustainability Science
report number
2017:028
language
English
id
8915179
date added to LUP
2017-06-18 16:12:09
date last changed
2017-07-20 06:37:56
@misc{8915179,
  abstract     = {India has yet to build 70% of the buildings that will exist in 2030. The housing industry in India has
been growing rapidly in an effort to keep up with increasing urbanization, population growth and
aspirational consumption. Its growth is accompanied by a large ecological footprint, given the
resource intensive processes involved and the large amount of greenhouse gas emissions (GHG)
produced. Statistics indicate that construction industries in India are responsible for 35% of carbon
dioxide emissions. This is compounded by urbanization giving way to rapidly growing cities and new
ways of living, with urban areas having the highest built environment expansion rates. As a major
contributor to climate change, building sustainability in the construction industry, is of utmost
importance and relevant to further the course of sustainable development.
The architecture practice is a crucial step in the building process as it predetermines all the steps in
the value chain of the entire process. With modernization, traditional techniques and methods are
often abandoned. Today, Indian buildings stand largely influenced in their disposition, unfit for the
landscape, climate or regional cultures; the very principles that traditional vernacular architecture
abides by. This thesis proposes that vernacular architecture, given its inherent environmental, social
and economic sustainability should be streamlined to the urban residential context, and how this can
be achieved. In doing so, we can design better buildings, reduce consumption and emission of
greenhouse gases.
This thesis conceives architecture as a social practice in this thesis to study the elemental links that
make up a practice in conjunction with the levels of the operational space (niche, regime, landscape)
it is practiced in. In doing so, it uncovers the “unmaking of unsustainability” to find the path to
incorporating sustainability at the core of Indian architecture. Using practitioners of the practice to
inform the research. The findings reveal that vernacular architecture can be applied to the urban
context of housing in India through the active engagement and interaction of the social practices of
policy-making, education and architecture. The paper highlights the real challenge posed by
sustainability in the application of traditional vernacular architecture to the changing social, cultural,
economic and political context. It discusses the points of intervention, reinforcement, and
establishment of the practice to enable a macro-level change; thus, demonstrating how adoption of
vernacular architecture shows promise of serving as a compass for progressive sustainable
architecture while contributing to fulfilling the OECD objectives for sustainable building in a more
holistic manner.},
  author       = {Satheesan, Neha},
  keyword      = {sustainable transition,social practice,urban housing,sustainability science,vernacular architecture},
  language     = {eng},
  note         = {Student Paper},
  series       = {Master Thesis Series in Environmental Studies and Sustainability Science},
  title        = {Home is where the Earth is : exploring the adoption of vernacular architecture in urban housing in India},
  year         = {2017},
}