Dhobighat Rental Units Transcending Urban Low-Income Housing
Much has been made about Lumanti’s newly implemented low-income rental units located in Dhobighat, Patan. The rental units are the first of it’s kind in Nepal and the prototype sets a precedent for developers to replicate the complexes ingenious architectural design. But while the obvious benefits have been well documented by popular publications, little has been recorded about the projects many small yet vital perks that transcend modern urban planning and development. A measure like providing transit access, finding a correct balance between low and high density and community integration put the development on the international map and revises the global perspective on urban low-income housing.
In today’s society, many urban planners misunderstand is the importance of intricate transit lines in relations to a new low-income housing site. As most residents don’t possess their own modes of transportation and seeing that poorer residents tend to settle for housing far removed from their places of employment, having adequate public transit in the vicinity is paramount to the housing developments success. Rental unit residents will have the luxury of multiple public transit lines at their disposal as the site is a mere five minute walk to the ring road. Furthermore, the development is located near paved and well maintained roads which could lure future transit lines even closer to the site. During a time where the Kathmandu Valley is growing at a relentless rate and jobs seem to be impermanent, the abundance of transportation will make it easy for residents to get to their respected jobs ensuring high employment for the complex. Transit oriented development is a new concept that many developers in the western world are still trying to perfect. In theory, experts believe that by situating low-income demographics near public transportation options, high employment and high levels of social integration will occur thus transforming the socio-economic status of the community. Through constructing high density, low-income units near popular transit lines, the Dhobighat rentals are able to encapsulate this phenomenon and if the theory serves, catapult residents into higher income brackets.
Lumanti’s Dhobighat rental units feature a unique medium between high-rise high-density and low-rise high-density that shows an evolved approach at provide vulnerable demographics with uncompromised living conditions. Low-income housing is in the midst of a substantial transition where once formidable theories are being jettisoned for new concepts and designs. High-rise high-density developments that were once the cornerstone to urban generation in global cities like New York, Toronto, Hong Kong and Chicago are being abrogated for a new model of building design. Mid-rise apartments provide high-density living while pardoning residents from the many maintenance needs and potential plight that high-rise developments have posed in the past. Moreover, big apartment complexes housing poor populations have concentrated poverty to specific regions and have led to the demise of once thriving communities. By capping the amount of families being housed to twenty-eight, the small concentration of underprivileged is less likely to corrode the neighborhood and will integrate this population fluidly within the area. When it comes to the methodology of low-income housing, integration and community pride is essential to the projects success. Through creating a medium between high and low density housing for low-income rental recipients, Lumanti has ensured that the project will successfully benefit residents and their community both in the present and future.
Throughout Kathmandu, eye soars of disproportionate buildings towering well above the areas grade have negatively shaped our urban area and have dissolved the city’s aesthetic value. Poor planning coupled with elusive zoning laws have led to fragmented neighborhoods and deteriorating traditional architecture. One of the most overlooked features of the Dhobighat rental development is its size in comparison to much of the surrounding community. Itsfour-story height is equivalent to its surrounding buildings making the project blend in instead of stick out. When creating new projects like the Dhobighat rentals, the main objective is to have the development mesh in with the surrounding community. This initiative is critical to having the building accepted into the community and pivotal in maintaining the community’s personality and makeup. The architectural decision to keep the buildings height at par with the rest of the area allows the building to be integrated into the community and for its residents to be accepted into the region.
While Lumanti’s newly administered rental-housing units have received notoriety for the plethora of development marvels that the site possesses, it’s the small details that make the project a precocious urban phenomenon. Lumanti has created an urban project that instills all the requirements needed for perpetual success and of course, future replication.
Written By: Ben Conner, Volunteer
Written By: Ben Conner, Volunteer