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Heal Kerala : Build Smarter, Build together


On August 2018, Kerala and Kodagu, India faced one of the worst floods of the century with over three hundred deaths and infrastructural damage of over Rs. 8000 crores. The project intent was to build a micro-neighborhood for 100 families with a case of use established in Aluva. The proposal focusses on being scalable, self-healing when damaged and positioned to regenerate faster than before, thus coined - Building Smarter, Building Together or “BSBT”. By recognizing the innate community strength, and building upon it - our strategy promotes enhanced use of communication and real-time feedback during the onset, peak and post-flooding scenarios. To complement and strengthen the technological interventions, the strength and resources of the community are harnessed, via shared building and socio-economic investment strategies.

International competition entry I shortlisted entry


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Kerala is an ecologically sensitive area receiving abundant rainfall annually. Because of this, Kerala's rivers are spared the flooding risks associated with heavy volume run off every year.



During the flood, there was a paradigm shift in the traditional top-down approach of disaster management. Various territorial, organizational virtual networks were formed for managing the disaster as shown on right.


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Our Design Strategy - Building Smarter, Building Together or “BSBT” - addresses head-on the realities of the previous devastating flood and proactive methods to mitigate future floods. The BSBT initiative identifies various scenarios of cost-sharing, resource sharing, and capacity sharing within community

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Within an existing housing stock, abandoned houses and vacant plots are identified. These lots are repooled collectively with the consent of the plot owners, with options to rehabilitate owners within or in proximity to the repooled land parcel


The river edges are designed as floodable zones, the farmlands as flood overflow catchment areas interwoven with community recreation spaces. This model helps in preserving the ecological balance of the ecosystem and ensure more public awareness of the same.


The proposal also envisages the streets as active elements in flood response. Ground floor uses compatible with flooding, mandatory utilities to access terraces, buoyant street furniture that collects and display real-time information on flood condition are some of the design interventions


Within the housing redevelopment, various design elements included namely floating decks, vertical access, raised path and sunken green spaces, color coding for terraces, floodable space, community insurance program, etc. which help the built environment to better respond to n increased water levels. 


The housing units are equipped with sunken green spaces at the backyard aiding household level gardening.These parches equipped with drainage absorb & redirect the excess rain water during flash floods.

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