This thesis documents and analyzes a building-type called chawl in Mumbai, India. Typically occupied by middle class residents, chawls provide access to a range of services and, most importantly, a social support-system that makes life easier in contemporary Mumbai. The research examines how chawls developed within the urban context of Mumbai and how they contribute to the social and cultural lives of their residents. Research methods include a literature review of books, journals, newspaper articles as well as pictographic record and interviews with residents living in the two case study chawls. The analysis shows that a dense social-network between the residents is one of the main reasons for them to live in the chawls. In a dense city like Mumbai, with a lack of affordable housing, chawls provide a sustainable model for middle class housing that should be maintained and can potentially serve as a model for future housing projects.