Miniya Chatterji Launches a Centre for Sustainability at Anant University

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Anant National University

The Centre for Sustainability is a research based think-teach-do tank, established in October 2018 within Anant National University, and is well placed to be the central hub in India for knowledge and implementation of all sustainable and affordable housing projects in the country and the region.

The Centre for Sustainability is founded and led by Miniya Chatterji who is the CEO of Sustain labs Paris and considered one of the most influential practitioners of sustainability in India today. 

India will add 416 million urban dwellers by 2050, for whom the cities are hard pressed to provide decent housing. Researchers at the Centre for Sustainability as well as faculty and students of AnantU are working on innovative design, technology and policy solutions to address this massive challenge. The Centre for Sustainability is also publishing multimedia products, creating and teaching academic course work, and have pitched for implementing government projects to construct affordable housing in India.

One of the problems facing Indian cities is also the presence of a large stock of vacant housing. As per the Census of India 2011, around 12% of the total urban housing stock of the country comprises of vacant houses. This creates a paradoxical situation as a sizeable population has no access to decent housing on the one hand, while on the other hand there is a presence of a large stock of vacant housing. The Centre for Sustainability is addressing the issue of vacancy and the solution related to it in a series of reports on vacant houses in cities in India, starting with the city of Ahmedabad. The first report is due to be published in November 2019. 

“AnantU is interested in identifying the reasons and solutions for the mismatch in availability of houses versus a large number of vacant houses through research – initially in three urban areas – Ahmedabad, Mumbai and Jaipur – in western India,” says Dr. Sharadbala Joshi, senior researcher at the Centre for Sustainability.

In July 2019, the Centre hired Professor Dhaval Monani as Director of Affordable Housing at AnantU. Professor Dhaval Monani was the founder and Managing Director of First Home Realty Solutions Pvt. Ltd. He had earlier helped set up the affordable housing and urbanisation initiative under the Center for Emerging Market Solutions at the Indian School of Business, Hyderabad. He has been one of the pioneers of the affordable housing space in India and has set up one of the most cost-effective housing projects in India where homes have been successfully sold for about Rs. 3 lacs. He has worked closely with both the Central and State governments on affordable housing policy, public private partnerships and land titles. 

“The Center for Sustainability is leading multiple initiatives to integrate more sustainable products in the housing supply chain that are practical, economical and socially acceptable,” says Professor Dhaval Monani. 

About Anant National University: Anant National University  is committed to nurturing solutionaries who design, build and preserve a more equitable and sustainable India. It envisions to become India’s leading private teaching and research university in the fields of built environment, design, and sustainability.

Anant National University, located in the sprawling sanskardham campus in Ahmedabad, is led by a cadre of eminent people from academia, business, and government, each of whom is a leader in their respective fields. Some members of AnantU’s Governing Board: Mr Ajay Piramal, President, Anant National University (Chairman, Piramal Group); Dr. Pramath Raj Sinha, Provost, Anant National University (Founding Dean, Indian School of Business; Founder & Trustee, Ashoka University); Mr. Abhishek Lodha (Managing Director, Lodha Group); Mr. Adil Zainulbhai (Chairman, Network18; Chairman, Quality Council of India; Former Chairman, McKinsey & Co., India); Ms. Indira Parikh (Founder President, FLAME University); Dr. Sudhir Jain (Director, IIT Gandhinagar) and several others.