Design, Inclusivity and Comfort

Individuals in low income and marginalised communities, especially for those engaged in livelihoods, are exposed to

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Drudgery related to manual, repetitive work

Poor ergonomics due to badly designed workspaces

Poor construction practices

All of these result in the reduction of productivity, well-being and income levels

Here environments are mostly constructed by the families for the sole purpose of fulfilling the need of a shelter, with less focus on -

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Comfort conditions

Operational costs like energy and repairs



When the poor build, they follow no guidelines or regulations, it’s ad-hoc and incremental, depending on -

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The availability and affordability of the building materials

Available skilled labour

Knowledge on how-to build better


With immediate, recurring as well as long term health issues in the people engaged in livelihoods, we also see evidence of loss of productivity, production and productive days, thereby increasing expenditures.

Without access to inclusive long term financing, the poor use savings or local credit systems to invest in infrastructure. There is some subsidy available for livelihoods but more often than not it is inadequate to build quality infrastructure. The materials, hence constructed with, tend to be heat-trapping, like asbestos and tin sheets, metal scrap, cement, etc that are low cost, accessible and can be self built or with the support of local masons and contractors. With cost in mind, the windows and ventilators are opted against resulting in extreme indoor discomfort. Thermal discomfort leads to unlivable conditions and in workplaces especially with additional heat sources it can lead to extremely hazardous conditions.

Studies suggest that heat alters our serotonin levels, which in turn affect our levels of aggression.
Simply put, there’s a significant difference between how people feel on 32°C vs 21°C days.
Reported on the BBC, August 2022 | The troubling ways a heatwave can warp your mind
India recorded 280 heatwave days across 16 states in 2022. Such unusual, early heat waves in 2022 were made 30 times more likely due to the direct impact of climate change
Global Study by World Weather Attribution Network(WWAN)
The monsoon season has been 0.3-0.4 degrees Celsius hotter than pre-monsoon seasons in the decade from 2012 to 2022.
Centre for Science and Environment.
Reported on Down to Earth | Is India ready: CSE finds worrying signs of heat stress

Democratised and Decentralised access to Design Solutions

The thermal quality of space for human habitation and work need to be maintained at 26-28℃ and between 40-60 percent for relative humidity. Air quality levels need to be safe with natural light available throughout the day. This approach of optimisation of energy consumption in the workspace also results in ideal conditions for well-being of the occupants. When entrepreneurs and communities are healthy, the productive outputs are much higher.

When entrepreneurs and communities are healthy, the productive outputs are much higher.The ideal work conditions are also defined by the ergonomics of their workstation and efficiency of forging. The integrated system for workspace design would then incorporate the following:

A conducive building envelope
Systems for natural light and ventilation
Energy efficient applications with clean energy

In a participatory approach, the social, aspirational, economical and cultural insights to designing ensure efficacy and sustainability to scaling of solutions. The approach and solutions showcased in this campaign, using the lens of Decentralised Renewable Energy integrated with Built Environment, strategies for climate action and inclusive development, can be delivered holistically.

But taking these solutions forward and building an enabling environment that allows for replication and scale up of these approaches will require incentivization of stakeholders to get away from business as usual practices and take bold steps.

See the Solutions

Read Our Publications and Articles

The world today needs solutions, to eradicate poverty in a holistic and sustainable manner. They lie in better technology, affordable finance, and induced market linkages. All these are factors that can be incentivised through city governments, argue Huda Jaffer and Nirmita Chandrashekar, emphasising that the poor should be part of the solution and not the problem.

Making Cities Inclusive for Marginalised and Climate Vulnerable Populations

Impact of Climate Stress on Birds and Producers in Poultry

Documenting inputs from experts in the Poultry Sector

Impact of Heat Stress on Pigs and Pig Farmers

Documenting inputs from experts in the pig farming sector

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Heat Campaign from 2021

Our past campaign focused on cross-sectoral approaches in addressing the issues of extreme indoor heat stress and its mitigation.

Thematic areas: Housing, Livelihood and health.

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