Critical Places is a diverse group of landscape architects, architects, planners, urban designers, and engineers dedicated to working with under-served communities in India to study, design and develop places critical to human well-being.


66%, that is, a majority of India's population, lives in villages - places where even basic civic facilities are missing. Very few designers work in these contexts.

In the country's hinterland, well-designed places that serve both functional and aesthetic needs are un-heard of. It is primarily in these places that we work closely with communities to create better built environments. We also develop design solutions for the public realm and address infrastructure issues in urban contexts.

We believe that good design should be accessible to everyone.


Using a collaborative research, design and construction process, we design and build places to address critical issues such as water scarcity, flooding, lack of public space and facilities, civic amenities, and waste management.

Including communities as our knowledge partners in developing ideas and solutions is an integral part of our process. Indeed, we believe that positive involvement of user communities throughout the design, construction and management phase is at the core of successful architecture, landscape architecture, planning or other built environment projects.

Working for people who have very little, in a context where little thought for the design of the built environment exists, and within an environment where innovation and perfection are our own indulgences - is challenging but also rewarding at the same time.


We are designers, not just of physical spaces, but also of socio-spatial constructs, of culture and community.

Critical Places is a small group of committed designers – we bring expertise on different subjects, perspectives from different parts of the world, and are also all over the world as we work on projects – bound by our own loyalty to the cause of serving those who have no access to good design.

Everyone is always learning here, sometimes doing things for the first time because often times, the kind of work we are doing is the first of its kind, sometimes for India, sometimes for the context of developing countries, and sometimes for the world.


We are advocates, and scholars, thinkers and doers - all committed to making a difference in people's lives through the built environment.

As researchers and practitioners, we believe in not just the production of knowledge but also its dissemination and the application of scholarship. And, we strive for excellence while doing so.

Our work is recognized not just by national and international awards but more importantly and touchingly, by testimonials from our partner communities.

Some of the projects presented in this website are undertaken by Critical Places in collaboration with the mission-based, for-profit design consultancy Alpa Nawre Design.