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Department of Architecture


India slum rehabilitation housing 2This research project ‘Gender and household energy: female participation in designing domestic energy in India's slum rehabilitation housing’ is funded by the British Academy Knowledge Frontiers Programme, and it asks how women are currently included in the design and delivery of slum rehabilitation housing schemes in India. The research is a collaboration between the Departments of Architecture, Geography, Engineering and Judge Business School at the University of Cambridge and the Indian Institute of Technology (IIT-B) in Mumbai.

Women's involvement in UN sustainable development  goals 7 (energy) and 11 (safe, resilient and sustainable human settlements) remains an under-researched area, especially in the urban context. This research adopts a gendered perspective in exploring energy use, household practices and adaptation of new technologies in slum rehabilitation housing in India. Drawing from the interdisciplinary expertise of engineering and social sciences, the project aims to understand 1) quantitative energy use, household air pollution and environmental conditions in the housing units, and 2) female occupants’ comfort, cooking and childrearing practices, needs and aspirations. It investigates knowledge exchange between policy makers, developers, designers and female occupants focused on strategies to increase women's participation in the design process.

Fieldwork is being undertaken in Mumbai in April and September 2018, in collaboration with NGO partner Doctors For You (DFY) and the Mumbai Metropolitan Region Development Authority (MMRDA). The research is associated with the British Academy Cities & Infrastructure programme project “Energy innovation for low-cost housing in India and South Africa: strategies for interdisciplinary and cross-institutional dialogue’, led by Dr Charlotte Lemanski in Geography, and Ramit Debnath’s project on well-being in Indian urban slums, funded by the Gates Cambridge Trust.

Research team:

Dr Minna Sunikka-Blank (Architecture)

Dr Anika Haque (Architecture)

Dr Charlotte Lemanski (Geography)

Dr Ruchi Choudhary (Engineering)

Prof Jaideep Prabhu (Judge Business School)

Prof Ronita Bardhan (IIT-B, Mumbai)