The ‘built environment’ is a phrase used to describe the public spaces, healthcare facilities, schools, markets and shops that people need to have access to for a healthy and thriving society. It also includes housing, one of the most important aspects of people’s lives. As more and more of the world’s population live in cities, the built environment should create spaces where people feel safe and secure and can happily live their lives.

Houses provide shelter but also space for people to sleep, eat, clean, and entertain. When properly designed, housing can help solve a number of other issues such as the provision of clean water, adequate sanitation, reliable energy and the disposal of waste. The location of a house can also assist its residents to have access to education and healthcare as well as economic opportunities. Structures should reflect that the rural Tamil Nadu climate is unusual featuring temperatures common to hot and dry climates whilst still having a high humidity level. Public infrastructure can provide schools and hospitals, as well as opportunities for people to convene and engage in income generating activities. All the spaces and buildings that enable these opportunities have to be designed, constructed and maintained. What ideas can you come up with to improve the existing buildings and public spaces or inspire how new buildings could be constructed?

  1. Katcha materials for aspirational buildings

    Katcha building design and materials are better suited to the climate of Tamil Nadu and use locally available materials, however, they are not viewed as aspirational due to their association with poorer lifestyles. Can you think of innovative ways to use katcha materials to develop aspirational buildings?

  2. Pucca building design

    Pucca building design and materials are desirable but are not well suited to the Tamil Nadu climate. Can you propose ideas for how new houses could be designed differently or retrofitted to address this issue?

  3. Public spaces

    Public spaces are vitally important to allow people to congregate and socialise, in particular for young people to play sport. However, there is limited access for children and women. Can you propose any ideas for how to improve these public spaces so they provide attractive spaces for people to convene in?