Diversity, dissent and consensus building- Taking forward ratings for affordable housing- Aug 25, 2012

No matter how complex something is, it is always a satisfying experience when a diverse set of people succeed in bringing their dissent, doubts, agreements and opinions on the table in a friendly and civil manner. I was happy today to be part of a consultation process where honesty and bluntness was received in good taste and criticism truly appreciated. We were at a peaceful quiet location, at a campus called Visthar, in a village somewhere near Bangalore airport. The workshop was about getting feedback from experts on a rating for affordable housing. I have mentioned this before on my blog, this rating that is being developed under the aegis of the Ashoka Housing for All Initiative and bring partnered by Tuv Rheinland, a large certification body.
Affordable housing is a complex subject, rife with conflicting opinions and plenty of skepticism. In fact, the most positive aspect of being part of this rating process is the hope and positivity in the group. Today’s experts had among them people who had made affordable projects happen as well as those who had contributed to various pieces like standards development, design innovation, community mobilising, etc. The positivity is a marked change from previous meetings in which the subtext was always a disbelief that affordable housing could really be catalysed via a rating. I guess the buy in comes in slowly. I don’t know how and when these ratings will be finalised and implemented, but the roadmap looks clearer and quite doable. When people at opposite ends of the spectrum agree to disagree rather than lock heads indefinitely, darkness turns to hope and the impossible begins to look possible!

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