Nivasa is an Architectural Not for Profit Trust, working to enable humane and dignified housing conditions for the urban and rural poor, through design. Architectural Intervention in design and materials is essential, but not affordable for the lower income group in India. We use Design Based Thinking - a mindset that focuses on solutions and on actions oriented towards creating a preferred future by drawing on logic and imagination. Our approach uses a designer’s methods to match people’s needs with what is technologically feasible. Using a People-Centered approach, we involve the home owner in the decision making process, and the product. We interact with local communities, collaborate with the Government, NGOs, Developers, contractors, corporates and individuals, engage the Architectural community in R&D of alternative materials and construction methodologies and volunteerism, derive specific, local and cost effective designs to arrive at strategies for implementation that involves awareness & training, constructing prototypes, and helping to construct, where required.
Our research allows us to understand the local dynamics, socio-economic conditions, climate, culture, vernacular, local material availability, current needs and usage patterns of people and issues of each community to develop a design based solution.
We then connect the dots to arrive at a palette of cost-effective, culture-sensitive and site-specific design options that the end-users are presented with
We arrive at localized strategies for implementation to help co-construct that involves the local ecosystem, training the local skilled and unskilled labour and the home owners themselves. By involving the home owner in the decision making process, our interventions endeavour to endow the home owner with identity, dignity, integration, self expression and as an ultimate value, self esteem.
“When we first came to Thimmaiyanadoddi, the villagers didn’t acknowledge or believe us, as some organisations had cheated them earlier. As days passed, they trusted us and everything went smoothly. Since it was a rural and undeveloped area, I wanted to help people to build their houses. Nivasa helped me to fulfill my dream and I am very thankful to them. I liked to work with the Nivasa team and the people of that village.”
"Ms. Akhila Ramesh completed CSIM’s Social Entrepreneurship Outlook Programme with the sixth batch few years ago. She followed through on all her learnings by registering her Trust NIVASA immediately afterwards. Her rare combination of conviction and professionalism secured her the CSIM Fellowship to help her research and develop her ideas on rural housing. She proved herself once again by actually launching her housing project at Thimmaiyanadoddi, overcoming the language and cultural barriers, patiently garnering community support and activating her own professional network for resources and ideas. She is also the recipient of the Sadguru Gyanananda Award, given by our Parent Trust, MSDS, in recognition of her commitment to the development sector.
Akhila’s hard work and innovative ideas are a source of inspiration to all our potential social entrepreneurs and will help to trigger social action for years to come."