Abandoned: Art in a Failing Mumbai Affordable Housing Development

As new affordable housing solutions remain a hot topic of discussion in India, architectural photographer Deepshikha Jain is instead focusing on an already existing semi-vacant housing project in New Mumbai through an artist’s lens. Take a closer look at her work and the details of her recent first-ever solo photography show, titled Abandoned, below. The show is running at the Kala Ghoda Cafe in Mumbai until July 18th.

Photo courtesy of Deepshikha Jain Photography, Copyright © 2011

About Abandoned:

In 1988, the building project of the City and Industrial Development Corporation (CIDCO) of Maharashtra state commissioned the office of Raj Rewal to design 1048 housing units. Despite a very low budget, Rewal set out to develop a home environment that was simple and high quality.

The site of the project is hilly, and unlike most other developments in New Mumbai, it has been designed embracing the terrain rather than trying to defeat it. For this reason, it has been considered an important architectural example in a city where the design of public housing is driven solely by the ability to accommodate density.

23 years later, many of the units remain vacant. Most are facing practical problems of leakages, inadequate light and ventilation in houses, unused open spaces, lack of transportation, lack of medical facilities, etc. Since the Income Tax Department bought most of the buildings, this colony was nicknamed the Income Tax Colony.

These pictures are not the entire story, they are just a part to create awareness and re-tell a forgotten tale. Abandoned spaces are a postlude to a life once lived and therefore make for good stories. There is no intention to document this structure. This on the contrary is the photographer’s own artistic expression.

Abandoned, whilst capturing the mood of the space raises the inevitable question about why such a well-intentioned and designed project has come to be largely unoccupied and fallen to disrepair, in a city severely lacking in low cost housing.

About Deepshikha Jain:

After graduating in architecture in Bombay, Deepshikha Jain pursued a masters degree in photography in Paris. She can easily be seen as a hybrid, having embraced one world without abandoning the other. She had a group show in Galerie Chambre Avec Vues in Paris. She has toured widely across France and India capturing Le Corbusier’s works. Having a flair for travel and architecture, she has traveled across the Indian subcontinent and parts of Europe, occasionally just to see why a certain piece of architecture is so rated and at times to simply be mesmerized by it.

Copyright © 2011 Deepshikha Jain Photography,

All rights reserved.



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