18 June 2009

The Nano Home

Matheran Realty is one of several firms that think they have a solution: ultra-low-cost housing. In Karjat, 90km east of Mumbai, Matheran Realty is in the process of building 15,000 flats with prices starting at just 210,000 rupees ($4,500) for (200 square feet). Tata, the firm that makes the $2,500 “Nano” car, is building 1,300 basic units at Boisar, about 100km north of the city, and may add more. Priced at 390,000-670,000 rupees each, they are already oversubscribed. Other firms are planning similar developments elsewhere in India.

The cost is being kept low chiefly because the flats are being built outside big cities, where land is much cheaper. Owners are expected to commute.

The units are also very small and spartan. The simplest consist of a single room with a sink in the corner and a toilet behind a partition. They are in buildings of no more than three storeys, so there is no need for expensive structural works. Instead of bricks, lightweight moulded concrete blocks are used for the walls. The concrete is often made with foam, fly-ash or other waste materials to make it lighter as well as cheaper. There are no lifts and just one staircase per block. All this means that the homes can be built very quickly and with unskilled labour
-The Economist

Super cheap cars plus super cheap housing will likely equal a pretty miserable life commuting to keep you head above water. Heck, you can buy a vacant house in Cincinnati sometimes for $4,500. In Detroit, friends have found the fabled $100 house. Hmmm, maybe some of those Indians looking for cheap housing chould immigrate to the rust belt.


Archer01 said...

That sounds aweful! It's like they are moving from living and enjoying life to just existing. I know creature comforts aren't everything but Geez! It gives new meaning to the phrase "living in a cracker box house".

JBlaze15 said...

So its really just a super-dense, super-cheap, suburb. More sprawl but unsafe to boot; one staircase per block? I guess they don't have fire/building codes. Leaves one to wonder about public health with everyone living in prison-like quarters. This sounds like a death trap.

CityKin said...

Well they are made of a masonry/concrete type construction which shouldn't burn easily, but over and over again people are lured to distant suburbs chasing a dream of ownership. Then they end up spending all their time commuting and trying to get places. India would do much better to build more hard transit.