Tag Archives: IHC

India Habitat Centre – Institutionalising brand into icon

Posted on by Track2Realty

By: RMS Liberhan, Director, India Habitat Centre

RMS Liberhan, IHC, India Habitat Centre, Institution, Social Centre of India, India realty news, Indian real estate news, Property news, Track2realty, track2MediaTrack2Realty Exclusive: No institution is born into greatness; they have to ascend their way into greatness. The only real lasting lesson of institution building is that values create value. If you do not have values, no amount of advertising billboards can get you an enduring image of excellence. There can be glory in the short run perhaps, but a lasting reputation can be built only on integrity of purpose and ethics and an indomitable will to never compromise on standards.

India Habitat Centre was fortunate to have been founded with a philosophy. It had given itself a mission and by a remarkable chance, it was situated into an advantageous location. Added to these foundational assets, the architectural design was authored by a person of rare imaginative talent whose phenomenal instinct for space and time interplay helped create cordial environs, inviting, yet without intimidation. The entire ambience is fetching and gives the visitor a chance to reflect in solitude amongst people.

The Centre has been a unique concept in urban living. It is a complex which is live all 24 hours. There are working spaces, leisure venues, dining areas and of course the guest house.  The art galleries and library & resource centre provided the creative and intellectual spaces.  This urban design has in a very subtle way facilitated the compatibility of the varied usages and has given the Centre vibrancy without ostentation.

During the course of the evolution of the profile of the Centre, there was a constant engagement with the context of the Centre’s philosophy and its different constituencies so as to create a menu of choices which originated in the best traditions of the performing and fine arts, build platforms for conversations on issues of contemporary concern to the citizenship, avoid the popular genres but still not make the leisure time overloaded with classic texts.

The temptation to make promises was resisted; rather the focus was on doing things and innovating on the offerings in all our endeavors. There was also a high degree of openness to receiving ideas and suggestions and these were evaluated and woven into the profile of the Centre depending on their worth.  We constantly eschewed ceremony, casting our faith in content rather than form.

Even the very first program in the Centre went on stage without any ribbon-cutting or formal speeches. This compelled us to keep our ears and eyes open to absorb instinctively what was going down well and what was not particularly preferred. The ‘dressing’ has never been a part the Centre’s personality. It is the rhythm of its programs and the cordiality of its ambience that has given the Centre its attraction.

The hardest part in institution building is to fight perceptions. The Centre has not been an exception, either. You acquire tags and labels in your quest and no matter what intention drives your endeavors, unintended perceptions get created. It is an ‘elitist’ institution, it is very ‘commercial’, it is not like a ‘club’, etc, etc. How to fight a perception? Can a publicity blitz help, making a sustained pitch to all that we are none of these.

How do you define your identity in a social context and state your value system? Agreed, that perceptions are hardest to change. The only way for us has been to stay the course, believe that the mission of the Centre can only be conveyed by example and not through arguments, only through proving over and over again in the activities that what we profess is what we do. What people see, they can relate much more easily than what they read or hear.

The question of finding an identity is a long travail. This does not happen in a hurry. Nor can it be transplanted from available profiles. Nothing sits as awkwardly as an acquired identity and more than anything else, the entire effort goes into moderating performance to align with the acquired identity.

The Centre started practically on a clean canvas, thus giving a chance to write its own story as it went along. It had a structural advantage in that its governance did not require it to pay any dividends to the promoter funders. Its one line mandate was to actualize its philosophical tenets of building platforms for the intellectual and social capital to engage in a discourse of relevance to societal preoccupations. It was also to ensure that the architectural integrity of the Centre was not compromised, either in its usage or in its aesthetics.

In this regard, we began by ensuring that the access to the events was democratic without reference to any biases, that the composition of the membership profile of the Centre must reflect the society we are a part of and that there will not be any preferences for any categories at all. The one pivot that the Centre consciously created was to make the visitor experience the environment and enrich their memory with it.

It is this ‘experience’ that has shaped the Centre’s identity over the years and when it can be gone through any number of times, the perception gets settled. This was education in the making, getting hints and messages as one went along in time. We were fortunate enough to have the capacity to listen to these messages and take the hints. There indeed were times when we were anxious to prove what we stood for, but you learn patience sometimes the hard way.

The listening art is the most valuable asset. In organizations, hierarchies intrinsically limit the voices that can reach the decision making levels. The Centre’s organizational structure has every level being responsive giving them a part in the play. They do not need to get ‘instructions’. Hence ‘listening’ has been easy.

The enduring lesson in institution building is that the architecture defines its presence; it is its philosophy that gives it its vibrancy. We often make the mistake that individuals are bigger than the institution. We need to remember that institutions live on and beyond individuals, so the name and fame must be of the institution and what it stands for.

The Centre’s management has been generally anonymous but proactive and sensitive to the kind of path it seeks to tread. There are many externalities that influence the growth of an institution but these have to be a part of the moderation needed to adjust to the context of the society in which it is placed. It is this partnership which gives the Centre’s persona a distinctive resonance.

My choice as a home buyer-II

Posted on by Track2Realty

By: Priyanka Manjari

Priyanka Manjari, IHC, India real estate news, Indian realty news, Property new, Home, Policy Advocacy, Activism, Mall, Retail, Office space, SEZ, IT/ITeS, Residential, Commercial, Hospitality, Project, Location, Regulation, FDI, Taxation, Investment, Banking, Property Management, Ravi Sinha, Track2Media, Track2RealtyTrack2Realty Exclusive: Even if I compromise with what I want and surrender to what I need, as per the definition of realtor/broker, will I get my house possession on time? Will the construction be as good and space as much as promised?

On other questions, home buyers’ priorities are very clear. Car parking obviously remains a huge issue. A developer should not be more bothered to create fancy solutions that simply are seldom used, once or twice a year. What they rather need is a neighbourhood that can sustain a good range of local services.

My wish list may be a bit too long here, so I feel the Indian home buyers like me should better focus on what we don’t want. We don’t want freebies or foreign tours, if you have that kind of largesse in mind please reduce the cost of the flat itself.

We don’t want an A/C or refrigerator, a modular kitchen etc, instead it would be a great help if you allow us to suggest some modification and customisation during construction as per our needs. We don’t want to get into legal hassles or instead your penalty cheque for late delivery, so timely completion would be a real favour to the buyer.

More importantly, we are not your extended agent chain to spread your project’s referrals and earn some commission, instead you as a company should create a house for us which genuinely evokes goodwill that is strong enough to create a word-of-mouth publicity and hence references.

I am reading nowadays that there will be a regulator to regulate the malpractices in the real estate. Well, that may be a good idea for the facelift of the business of real estate but developers, policy makers and other professionals involved need to take account of consumer views, alongside other wider considerations, when they make decisions.

An average home buyer’s desires are not large enough for the real estate developers to handle. But if only they think of genuine goodwill of the buyers to emerge as a brand that evokes referrals. Unfortunate reality is that real estate branding is just synonymous with the sales push through advertisements that may or may not sell the project, but definitely falls short on the expectations of average home buyers like me.

It is much easier for the real estate companies to dismiss ordinary buyers’ wish list under the pretext that there are certainly more nuances to home buyers’ views than the headlines of market research often suggest. After all, when consumers talk about their aesthetic tastes, most do not like minimalism; but nor do they like the blandness of so much volume house building.

They want character; neighbourhoods that feel like places with their own attractive identity. And while they don’t like feeling overcrowded, they do value the sorts of local services and sense of community that higher density developments can sustain.

Often it is our common associations with the worst of compact living that we reject, rather than the reality of the best. It is time for the real estate sector in general to match the consumer expectations for a general image makeover, and realty companies in particular to emerge as a ‘brand’ in the true sense of the term.

Failing this, I am afraid, don’t ask the home buyers’ wish list. They are any way conscious nowadays with their roads leading to consumer courts and Competition Commission of India.  

My choice as a home buyer-I

Posted on by Track2Realty

By: Priyanka Manjari

Priyanka Manjari, IHC, India real estate news, Indian realty news, Property new, Home, Policy Advocacy, Activism, Mall, Retail, Office space, SEZ, IT/ITeS, Residential, Commercial, Hospitality, Project, Location, Regulation, FDI, Taxation, Investment, Banking, Property Management, Ravi Sinha, Track2Media, Track2RealtyTrack2Realty Exclusive: When it comes to buying the dream home that is largest investment one makes in the lifetime, the choice should ideally rest with the buyer. Ironically but true is the fact that in the property market majority of the beggars…oops buyers are not choosers, unless one has the deep pockets for privileged condominiums.

At times I feel that asking a home buyer like me about the choices and preferences is like either making a mockery of the consumer or promoting the builders’ brand loud enough that dictates more than it asks as to what you as a customer want.

It seems the developers make the best of their brand campaign (read financial clout) to teach or dictate us what we need, instead of listening to us as to what we want. And it is here that I, as a prospective home buyer, have a strong disconnect with most of the real estate companies.

Home buying is a very personal and emotive decision and when the developers loud mouth about location, location & location, I feel they must understand the differences in preferences when it comes to factors such as region, demographics and household composition. Deciding where to live comes with a lot of options nowadays, but one has to quickly realize that some features are more important than others when it comes to choosing the right house for the lifetime.

Location really does matter but only in the right context for the right set of people. Someone’s dream location can be a nightmare for others, for reasons from the lack of public transport to many others.

For example, when a given location is over sold on the pretext that it is strategically close to the airport, I wonder what do I do with it when I am not a frequent flier, nor does the location has the luxury of public transport. For me a home close to airport would rather disturb my day & night with hovering choppers around.

What I need is a house close to my work place, my child’s school and other such day-to-day needs. These preferences suggest that a neighbourhood is more essential with facilities which can be reached on foot. I believe this helps engender a sense of community, along well-lit streets, connected to public transport, hospitals in the neighbourhood and other essential services are fundamentals which can produce a quality environment.

I read newspapers and amidst the bombardment of advertisements I keep wondering as to how one project is different from the other. Even if location is good and close to my workplace, how come one project is different from the other is my biggest decision dilemma.

So far, I have been listening about green open spaces, Jacuzzi, swimming pool etc, but the question is do I really need all this in a fast-life of metro city where balancing work and life hardly gives me time for such luxuries?

What I would prefer, for instance, is a comfort zone where traffic noise doesn’t disturb my privacy. I am yet to find an advertisement that claims this not-so-costly offering. But wait, may be the real estate can not offer this to a mid segment buyer like me in a metro city.

…to be continued