Ahmedabad is the seventh largest city in India and has a population of 5.6 million. Summer days are very hot with mean maximum temperature of 41.3°C resulting in acute health concerns for those living in poor-quality accommodation and making thermal comfort a key priority for residents. The 2011 Census indicated that 14% of Ahmedabad’s population were slum dwellers, defined as living in illegal occupation of marginal areas of the city. However, this figure excludes a further 22% of the city’s population, living in chawls -low-income accommodation originally built for mill workers. The closure of the textile mills in the 1990s has resulted in a degradation of this type of accommodation. Prior to 2010, the focus of poverty alleviation was on the provision of purpose-built accommodation in alternative locations, often distant from the site of the slum in question. Coupled with a lottery system for the allocation of accommodation, this approach resulted in significant unintended consequences for those who were relocated far from their established communities and sources of livelihood. As a result, many chose to move back to the areas from which they had relocated.
In 2010, with the promulgation of the Regulation for the Rehabilitation and Redevelopment of the slum, the focus has shifted towards in-situ upgradation. Implementation of these regulations has been problematic for several reasons including mistrust of private developers and the challenge slum-dwellers face in providing documentary evidence of their eligibility for new accommodation. The shift in morphology from sprawling low-rise slums to purpose-built apartment blocks has necessitated changes in the use of space and energy which merit further exploration.