ICoRD'13 pp 605-616 | Cite as

Conflicts in the Idea of ‘Assisted Self-Help’ in Housing for the Indian Rural Poor

Conference paper
Part of the Lecture Notes in Mechanical Engineering book series (LNME)


The paper seeks to establish the influence of government policy on housing for the rural poor in India. First, literature on the self-help approach to housing over the last 50 years is summarized. Then the paper proceeds to present a comparison of the macro level view of the Indira AwasYojana for rural poor with an understanding of ground realities of rural housing acquired through ethnographic studies in five areas of rural India. The studies reveal how the rural poor live and how IAY-funded houses fall short of meeting their housing requirements. The paper argues that the main shortcoming of the IAY is its focus on housing as a product rather than a process involving peoples’ participation. It concludes that policies and schemes based on a limited understanding of housing processes are likely to meet with limited success and suggests ways in which architects and designers can contribute to housing in rural India.


Assisted self-help Housing policy Rural poor Ethnographic studies 



We would like to extend our gratitude to ACC Ltd for supporting this research and to the many families of Pohegaon-Khopoli, Nilshi-Khandi, Wadi, Nallur Vayal and Velliangiri for welcoming us into their homes and openly sharing their views and experiences.


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Copyright information

© Springer India 2013

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Industrial Design Centre (IDC)IITPowai, MumbaiIndia

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