Urban Vulnerability

Framework for India 

Bengaluru 2017

I worked on this project while being employed as the architect-in-residence at Sensing Local. We were commissioned by Selco Foundation to develop a framework to assess urban vulnerability in India. When hit by unforeseen circumstances in the city, poor communities are often the ones affected the deepest and for the longest time- to the extent that many are never able to recover from their subject state. This work was to add to the Foundation’s work of safety nets that are put in place to protect poor communities from falling into abject poverty. If the total resources to help the poor out of abject poverty are indeed limited, then it is all the more reason to devise a way to identify the communities and regions that are in most need of them. The assessment framework was intended to enable organisations at international, regional and local scale to coordinate their funding and actions to mitigate the abject poverty in urban communities.


We arrived at this framework using secondary research on literature and frameworks on vulnerability/resilience from across the world and primary level data on slums gathered in Selco Foundation and the state department for housing. By closely looking at data simultaneously across multiple scales, the framework was intended to provide information for macro-migration trends and city level manifestation of slums, as well as for strategies to create better social safety nets. Additionally, the framework had the potential to help organise groundlevel data from different sources streamlined using a common vocabulary, offer insights on co-dependencies and a shared learning among urban poor communities. As a tool for assessment, forecasting and strategizing, the proposed framework found a way to capture not just risks and vulnerability thresholds but also the capacity of organisations to intervene. You can read the full report here.

© 2018 by rohan patankar