Member on winning team for the Equal Cities Challenge

Congratulations to Rohit Lahoti, Goodenough College Member and student on the MSc Urban Development Planning Programme at UCL, who is part of one of the five winning teams for the Equal Cities Challenge, organised by the N/Core foundation.

N/Core (now The/Nudge Centre for Social Transformation) aims to identify transformative solutions to radically improve the lives of India’s urban poor and to provide support for the most promising nonprofit ideas, founders and startups.

In India, over 65M people live in urban slums or informal settlements with poor housing quality, inadequate access to safe water and sanitation, overcrowding and insecure residential status. Rohit and team mate Sayali Marawar, who is working with the Indian Housing Federation, focused their pitch on community-led development as a much-needed housing model in India.

As one of the top five entries (out of 294 submissions) Rohit’s team will receive grant funding for the next six months, along with relevant mentoring.

Rohit explains what he and Sayali have worked on: “The core problem we chose to focus on is the reduced agency of urban poor communities in imagining and developing their habitats. We shall be working on developing a DIY-toolkit that communities can harness to accomplish self-development.”

Rohit and Sayali expect the toolkit to give users:

  • Easy access to a consortium of relevant experts.
  • An easy to understand compilation of requisite policies, laws and regulations.
  • Standard operating procedures to help communities act on the policy provisions.
  • Relevant examples (including international examples) to provide inspiration.
  • Easy access to open source platforms, data and sample financial models to facilitate the communities’ planning process.

Rohit adds: “We’re excited to take on the challenge of turning this concept into a grounded reality”.

For more information on the team’s work check out their final six-minute pitch