Indian architect Alok Shetty among Time ‘leaders of tomorrow’

20 Sep 2014


Alok ShettyA 28-year-old Indian architect, Alok Shetty, has been named "young leader of tomorrow" by Time magazine for his pioneering work in designing affordable flood-proof houses for slum-dwellers.

Alok Shetty is among the "leaders of tomorrow" who are "working hard to change their worlds today," Time said in its latest edition as it named six inspirational young persons in its first class of "next generation leaders".

Time said Shetty is "building hope in India" as an architect who is "finding simple solutions to complex problems."

Shetty, working with the Bangalore-based non-profit Parinaam Foundation, is designing homes for hundreds of slum-dwellers whose makeshift houses flood during the heavy rains and become breeding grounds for multiple diseases.

He has been working in Bangalore's LRDE slum, which lies next to one of the southern Indian city's sprawling technology parks and is home to some 2,000 people.

Shetty, who earned a master's degree in architecture at Columbia University in the US, "came at the problem with an approach he brings to all of his projects - marrying smart design with a commitment to sustainability", Time said.

He designed flood-proof houses, costing $300, out of discarded scaffolding, bamboo and wood. The houses are affordable and easy to set up as it takes only four hours to erect or dismantle them.

Shetty is seeking Indian government subsidies to bring the price down further for those who cannot afford the units.

"Shetty epitomizes a growing breed of young leaders and entrepreneurs in India who are committed to finding solutions for a country undergoing rapid social and economic changes, some of which can leave India's poorest behind," Time said.

Another venture by Shetty is a plan to boost access to healthcare and education in remote communities.

"In my travels I saw vast stretches of rural India where infrastructure for health care and education was severely underdeveloped," he is quoted as saying in the Time report.

"Building facilities in these areas is not impossible but it is time-consuming. Adaptive architecture...can be an extremely effective solution to help address our developmental problems," he said, adding that "often the simplest solutions are the best solutions."

The list also includes Israeli social entrepreneur Adi Altschuler (27), China's Zhao Bowen (22) who is working on improving medical testing and activist Ikram Ben Said (34) who founded 'Aswat Nissa' in Tunisia that is dedicated to women's rights and the first to involve Tunisian women politicians.

Online music video mogul Jamal Edwards (24) is building an online music video empire and giving other entrepreneurs a helping hand while British-Nigerian Ola Orekunrin (28) is the founder and managing director of Flying Doctors Nigeria, the first emergency air ambulance service in the country.

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