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The Housing Triangulation: A Discourse on Quality, Affordability and Lifestyles in India

Urmi Sengupta (SPACE-School of Planning, Architecture, and Civil Engineering Queen’s University Belfast Belfast, Northern Ireland, United Kingdom)

Open House International

ISSN: 0168-2601

Article publication date: 1 September 2011



Since 1991 with the advent of globalization and economic liberalisation, basic conceptual and discursive changes are taking place in housing sector in India. The new changes suggest how housing affordability, quality and lifestyles reality is shifting for various segments of the population. Such shift not only reflects structural patterns but also stimulates an ongoing transition process. The paper highlights a twin impetus that continue to shape the ongoing transition: expanding middle class and their wealth - a category with distinctive lifestyles, desires and habits and corresponding ‘market defining’ of affordable housing standards - to articulate function of housing as a conceptualization of social reality in modern India. The paper highlights the contradictions and paradoxes, and the manner in which the concept of affordability, quality and lifestyles are embedded in both discourse and practice in India. The housing ‘dream’ currently being packaged and fed through to the middle class population has an upper middle class bias and is set to alienate those at the lower end of the middle-and low-income population. In the context of growing agreement and inevitability of market provision of ‘affordable housing’, the unbridled ‘market-defining’ of housing quality and lifestyles must be checked.



Sengupta, U. (2011), "The Housing Triangulation: A Discourse on Quality, Affordability and Lifestyles in India", Open House International, Vol. 36 No. 3, pp. 16-26.



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