mHS CITY LAB is a think-tank and implementing organization with a human centered design approach. We design and pilot innovative scalable solutions to foster the development of resilient and inclusive cities

Design & Research

We believe in a human centered design approach, working with the community and local stakeholders

Policy Advocacy

We use on-ground results to influence policy and work with the civil societies & government.

Pilot & Scale

We follow lean experimentation methodology to test iterations in the field through constant user feedback


Since 2009 mHS CITY LAB has been focussing to improving the quality and safety of non-engineered informal housing in Indian cities through a series of innovative projects. The rclCloud is the latest such project.

rclCloud™, developed and incubate by mHS, is a project management solution specifically designed to help lending institutions, contractors, training programs, post-disaster agencies and other stakeholders working to improve construction quality and access to financing in India's informal settlements.

mHS's vision is to bridge the knowledge and information gap by offering on-demand access to accurate engineering data, creative building manual and instruction documents, skilled labor training information, and financial planning tools. It does this by leveraging the power of the Cloud.

(The link to the rclCloud™  website and API Document will be soon published here)


mHS is working with JPAL (Abdul Latif Jameel Poverty Action Lab) at MIT to investigate the impact of mason training on the built environment and understand if the current poor quality of informal housing is a demand or supply constraint problem. Working in partnership with SAATH we are determined to discover it ...



We wanted to see if design could help us in finding a solution to provide shelters for the urban homeless families living on hard pavements. After several prototypes and field interactions, we distributed over 100 of them in 2015 and after a positive feedback from the beneficiaries, we are now looking to scale the project ...



Investigating Urban Housing Context in Ahmedabad

mHS CITY LAB in partnership with SAATH Charitable Trust, and supported by Abdul Jamil Lateef Poverty Action Lab (JPAL), Massachusetts Institute of Technology is investigating the Urban Housing Context in the city of Ahmedabad.



We are happy to share that our Founder Marco Ferrario will be talking about our work in the informal settlements of Indian cities at TEDxChennai. Do join us to find out how we’re working towards building inclusive future cities if you’re around in Chennai on 11th March!


Digital Tools for Low-Income Housing in Indian Cities

In case you have been wondering what we do exactly, here is a research paper by our team on our ongoing work in digital technology in informal settlements – published in the reputed Facts Reports Journal ‘Artificial Intelligence and Robotics in the City’ by the Veolia Institute and The Future Society at Harvard Kennedy School  

context_view from roof top of 2m x 4m house

Agony and Ecstasy of Housing

Nidhi Sohane, our community architect, recounts her first field experience as part of mHS team and her vision of better housing for all.   I find myself maneuvering up a chasm of a two feet wide staircase, so steep that I clamber on its one foot high steps. They are too short and leave the heels of my […]


Home-ness: the sense of home in informal settlements in Delhi

Siska Ram is the junior community architect at mHS CITY LAB, having interned here last year. Here she shares her reflections on her incipient interactions and experiences from the field.   Informal settlements in Indian cities are expected to house over 104 million of the population over this year, making it a tenth of the country’s […]


The relativity of resilience

Our founder Marco Ferrario writes on the complexity of resilience. On 24th August, a 6.2 magnitude earthquake struck the centre of Italy and almost destroyed the town of Amatrice, also heavily damaging other villages and towns in the area. With almost 300 killed, it left thousands more without a roof over their heads apart from […]

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Barsati offers an informal space for discussions around the creation of socially inclusive cities, taking off from the collaborative project of Tambu talks (Jan-July 2016). Through a series of monthly talks organized by the mHS CITY LAB team, it provides a platform for upcoming and experimental initiatives that engage with the larger but lesser heard part of Indian cities that is composed of self-organized settlements and communities. 

#8 Designing tech for all

While the development sector views technology as a gift to be bestowed upon ‘poor’ users, Roshan and the teams he has worked with have tried to make this transfer of technology equitable, involving users until the last mile in the design and implementation of solutions. As a passion project, he belongs to a collective of tech-makers who are helping rural women build an ecosystem for hardware and software tools that they create and sell within their communities. Digital literacy provides an opportunity for rural women to leapfrog from embroidery and agarbati-making as potential livelihoods, to being technology gatekeepers with social agency and free access to information.

The Gandhian idea of creating solutions that include the ‘weakest man’ may today be interpreted in many ways, some regressive. However, the suggestion it makes to technology is that it can be designed by and for the ‘last user’- the person society suggests would be least likely to be able to use it. Roshan will discuss this idea at the next Barsati talk, and ask how it might evolve in a time of so many digital Indias.

Past talks
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Chief Media Contact
mHS CITY LAB provides quotes, opinions and statements on the subjects of microfinance, housing for the poor, safety by design (for homes and public infrastructure) as well as community approaches. Please contact Swati Janu for interviews.