Noted industrialist Ratan Tata lambasted developers and architects for treating slums as "residue" of the city, which, according to him, is one of the reasons for the rapid spread of the deadly Covid-19 pandemic in the megapolis.
"How can we expect a person to live in such an environment that we created for low-cost housing? Would we be fair towards the occupants for the lifestyle and hygiene that is offered?" Tata asked the architects.
Nearly 5,000 participants across the sector participated in the webinar. He went onto say that "if we are proud of what we do, then we should be ashamed of what we have done to cities because we have tried to build an image we want to project of ourselves publicly and also try to hide the rest and we get offended when people criticise us for that".1
Tata said this community wants to be a part of the new India and the architects and developers are dogged by that issue. "We are, however, creating a community that we are ashamed of. We should be driven by a desire of being proud of what we do even if it is low cost or affordable housing. It should be done in a way that it creates a world culture, it creates a usage of space and offer fresh air, among others," he added.
He further said architects and developers have a social responsibility to do something that they are not ashamed of. "In the slums they created, there is no fresh air. It's just a space for living, because it is done through corruption and coercion. This is what architects and developers have been satisfied with and I think this pandemic is a wake-up call of what beholds us if that's what our concern is," Tata warned.
- 1. He also emphasised that there should be a re-examination of what we would consider as acceptable standard in terms of for quality of life. "It seems to stop at the areas with the slums are being replaced and I use the word again the residue is the slum. It's like putting the garbage together and calling it a community pushing it 20-30 miles out making it difficult to survive. So perhaps there ought to be a revision in terms of the fact that we are dealing with," he said.