Participatory Housing Approach for Conservation Induced Displacement: Case of Siddi community of Uttar Kannada, Karnataka

The traditional knowledge and wise use of technological advancement to construct built forms considering ecological and cultural aspects could redefine the role of community in the design development process.
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Designer(s) : Jay Kapadia

University : Faculty of Architecture, SCET, Surat

Tutor(s) : Dr Niraj Naik

According to World Wide Fund for Nature, more than 50 per cent of the wildlife is lost in the last 40 years. Today more than 50% of the land is transformed from natural habitat into agricultural land and other development activities. Much of the world’s biodiversity is concentrated in areas where dense human populations have grown by 15% between 2000 and 2010. The human habitations had fragmented the wildlife habitat with rapid settlement expansion which leads to human-wildlife conflicts.

Karnataka is one of the mega-biodiversity hotspots of the world. The state is under a high level of exposure and high level of pressure in human-wildlife interaction which often results in conflict.

The major vulnerable communities to the frequent human-wildlife conflict in the study premise are- Lambanis, Siddis, Gowlis, Medar, etc. Based on several socio-economic parameters and issues identified- the Siddi community is selected for the study. They remain forgotten in history but their effects are still felt today.

Historically, Conservation-induced displacements have failed to improve the lives of communities after relocation. The top-down approach results in severe consequences at the relocated site in terms of loss of socio-cultural aspects and traditional way of living as communities are left out in the decision-making process. The practice of conservation Induced displacement projects lacks community participation at various stages which is the key reason for its failure. It requires a deeper understanding of the community’s perception and needs to improve their socioeconomic status as well as retain their cultural diversity.

The design approach begins with unlearning stages through workshops involving children to understand their way of living. The settlement patterns are formulated which guides the design process. It also involves understanding existing housing typologies which allows diversity in the proposed dwellings. Extensive research and case studies are conducted on the participatory design process to understand the role of the community in the process. By documentation, interviews, design workshops, interaction with forest officers, etc. an appropriate architectural solution is formulated.

The self-help approach develops an attachment to houses which retain the cultural identities of the community. The traditional knowledge and wise use of technological advancement to construct their “homes” could redefine the role of the community. The project intends to initiate the role of user participation in the research and design process.