India is in the throes of a dramatic process of accelerated urbanization. By 2030, 40% of the country’s billion-plus population will live in cities. The majority of India’s new urban dwellers will belong to the underprivileged classes, suffering deficits of opportunity and entitlement. A key issue at stake in this emergent scenario, therefore, will be the delivery of adequate housing and infrastructure. India currently records an urban housing shortage of approximately 20 million units, of which 57% are designated for the economically disadvantaged sections and 40% for low-income groups.

Despite this clear and present crisis, there is no focused discussion on housing, whether in the nation’s public life or within the architectural profession. No attempt has been made to bring together the varied interests, perspectives and contexts that go into the understanding of housing in India, which straddles a spectrum of stakeholders and actors including architects, urban designers, planners, local governance bodies, private real-estate developers, financial institutions and policy-makers. The exhibition State of Housing - Aspirations, Imaginares and Realities in India aims, to develop a conspectus of this crisis; and to create an integrated database of case studies and methods enabling a comprehensive understanding of the situation.