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

Digital Tools

Our latest project aims to reach the millions of residents of informal settlements in India to improve their lives and make their buildings more resilient.
By leveraging mobile technology to transfer construction information to unskilled masons and homeowners in low-income communities, we want to help them build safer and better designed homes. Our aim is to revolutionize the incremental construction system of low-income communities ...


Below is the summary of our ongoing Pilot for our Planning Tool Service in partnership with SAATH in Ahmedabad.


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 ...


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 […]


Conference on Social Innovation, Milan

Our founder Marco Ferrario presented our ongoing projects and talked of the challenges of leading a social enterprise at the Il Salone della CSR e dell’innovazione sociale conference on Social Innovation held at Milan on 4th and 5th October 2016


Join our team!

mHS CITY LAB is expanding its team for the development of digital tools to improve the quality of built housing in informal settlements. If you are passionate about tackling problems and conversations around poverty alleviation, write to us at telling us how you would like to support our mission to build inclusive cities! We […]


Panel Discussion at MoHUPA

mHS CITY LAB was a part of the panel discussion on affordable housing organised by the Ministry of Housing and Urban Poverty Alleviation on 24th June 2016. Our Senior Designer Swati Janu presented our work over the last 7 years along with our latest project that leverages digital technology. It was a great platform to be able to […]

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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.