Students win grant to identify sustainable slum redevelopment challenges in India

May 11, 2015

Michelle Hindman and Sneha Rao, master’s of public policy students and 2015 Dow Sustainability Fellows, have won a $5,000 seed grant from the Dow Distinguished Awards competition to explore sustainability challenges in slum redevelopment in India.

Hindman and Rao are part of a six-member interdisciplinary team of sustainability fellows who will conduct this research in the months ahead. Their partners include Olivia Lu Hill (architecture), Sean Murphy (environmental engineering), Yash Shah (energy systems engineering), and Zeqi Zhu (natural resources/economics).

The team’s research project aims to identify the housing and utility needs of five slum communities in Ahmedabad, Mumbai, and Indore. In addition, they will explore best practices in sustainable slum development, will create architectural sketches and a 3-D model to illustrate solutions, and will craft a feasibility analysis for implementation of these practices in Ahmedabad.

To follow the team’s progress, read Sfurti, the team’s blog. Sfurti, the Sanskrit word for ‘agility,’ describes the team’s vision. “The rapidly growing cities of India need solutions as agile as their growth potential,” they write. “While smart city solutions benefit the tech-savvy middle income population of cities, we aim to use low-cost technological innovations to make this growth truly inclusive.”

"Our team was among the top 15 teams across campus selected for the Dow Distinguished awards,” reports Sneha Rao. “Based on our progress in September we can qualify for Round II, which will enable us to win up to $50,000."