We envision an inclusive world where every human enjoys access to vibrant, safe and healthy spaces to live, work and play.

Community Design Agency (CDA) is a nimble, experienced team of architects, engineers, business professionals, community planners, place-makers and artists who work alongside communities on the margins through collaboration of various stakeholders - the community itself, civic and government bodies, corporates and other philanthropic partners.

OUR HISTORY

Community Design Agency received seed funding by Curry Stone Foundation (CSF), a US-based organisation launched in 2007 by architect Cliff Curry and archaeologist Delight Stone. CSF supports groups and individuals using design to build healthier, more vital communities.  After running the Curry Stone Design Prize, where it recognised social design practices from around the world for over 10 years, CSF decided to support a practice in India that would take forward its belief that the benefits of social impact design should be accessible to those in greatest need.

Visit Curry Stone Foundation to learn more

WHAT WE DO

We offer design, research and planning consultancy services to people and organisations who are interested in:

Graphic of a drawing compass on a blueprint

Architecture and Planning

Providing architecture, construction and design services that are sensitive to local context and the needs of communities.
Drawing of community members sitting around redevelopment plans

Participatory Design and Mapping

Facilitating community led activities and discussions to map spaces, systems and experiences that help build research, bring forward collective ideas and add user insights to solutions.
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Construction and Project Management

Going beyond the conventional aspects of project management, quality assurance and value engineering, we consider the needs of the communities and their socio-economic conditions while preparing project timelines and cash flow. We also train them on construction work to improve their employability, creating adaptable and customised solutions for every community.
Graphics of people workshopping designs around a table

Design Research and Workshops

Conducting qualitative ethnographic field research to build an in-depth understanding of communities, their needs and aspirations. Hosting design thinking workshops and engagements for organizations and teams to build empathy and inclusivity in thought and action.
Graphics of talk bubbles, a pen and notepad, polaroids, and a silhouette

Experience Design

Creating vibrant and immersive environments that are central to the community’s, the organisation’s and/or the exhibitors work and values.
Silhouettes of children playing around a park bench and tree

Public Space Design

Designing, planning and executing spaces that facilitate social interactions and activities in areas where there is lack of space and/or lack of interaction.

OUR TEAM

The Community Design Agency team includes architects, engineers, artists, designers, filmmakers and researchers.

Headshot of Bhawna Jaimini

Bhawna Jaimini

Lead, Community Development
Bhawna Jaimini is an urban practitioner and writer based in Mumbai. Trained as an architect, she now works with the Community Design Agency on projects that seek to improve the built habitat of some of the most marginalised communities – using participatory planning, action led research and advocacy. From working with street vendors to nomadic pastoralists, Bhawna has worked with diverse communities in both rural and urban areas of India.

She is deeply passionate about gender rights and believes in using architecture and design to address inequities and inequalities in the built environment. When not with communities, she spends her time writing on urban issues for various indian and international publications. She has written for The Quint, Tribune, The Wire, LiveMint, Stir, SheThePeople and others. Her first book, ‘The Happiness Guide to City Planning’ will be released later this year

Himani Naidu

Junior Designer
Himani Naidu is an architect based in Mumbai. Her interests lie at the intersection of social justice and the built environment and working towards addressing the inequities it holds. She has experience working on various research and documentation projects for marginalized sections of urban society, emphasizing the importance of working with local communities to innovate solutions that align with people’s needs.
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Irshad Quereshi

Finance Officer
Irshad is a qualified Company Secretary and a financial professional, with skills and experience in accounting, reporting, financial planning and analysis as well as in compliance and regulatory matters. He has a keen eye for details and a passion for business development, setting financial milestones and targets for the organisation’s growth.

Moeen Khan

Community Filmmaker
Moeen Khan is a budding rapper and amateur filmmaker from Govandi, Mumbai. He is known in his neighborhood for writing, editing and producing the rap song “Haq se Govandi”(Govandi, my pride) after having felt the absence of positive cultural representation of his neighborhood. He is known by his stage name Real Sultaan. He has since then ventured into creating and producing comic sketches for his YouTube channel. He also works as a producer for other budding artists from his neighborhood. He has prior experience working in a BPO which he left after finding his true
calling in the world of rap, music and filmmaking. Currently, Moeen assists in creating videos for a number community-led initiatives within his neighbourhood.
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Natasha Sharma

Lead, Public Arts and Design
Natasha Sharma is a Lead for Public Arts and Design and the co-curator of Govandi Arts Festival at Community Design Agency. At CDA, she works with communities living and working in neglected neighbourhoods to drive social and spatial improvements through the tools of community arts, placemaking and participatory research. She hopes that these methods create a space for both dialogue and celebration with different communities, practitioners and government authorities around the idea of home, identity, inclusivity in city-making.

Natasha is also as independent visual artist creating tactile and experiential works of varied scales and materials. Her diverse work has ranged from creating learning environments in metro stations of Bangalore to site-specific interventions in public spaces to replacing advertisement billboards with art in Germany. She was a speaker at Urban Thinkers Campus 2022 (supported by the UN Habitat) and The Global Solutions Summit 2021 (Berlin) amongst others to share on-ground learnings of participatory practice. She won the Reclaim Art Award (2021), Germany for design and use of public spaces.

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Prashant Khandwe

Project Accountant
Prashant is a Commerce graduate with 10 years of experience in accounting. He works at CDA’s regional office in Ahmednagar, managing the finances of the slum redevelopment project currently underway. He enjoys working with the diverse team on site and wishes to grow further in construction project accounting.
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Rohini Singh

Outreach and Advocacy Associate
Rohini is a development practitioner who has experience working in documentation, research, archiving and administration with grassroots and arts-based organisations. She believes in community-led action to address societal inequalities. At CDA, she handles the outreach and advocacy led initiatives and oversees the running of the studio. She holds a degree in Economics from Delhi University and is a Young India Fellow from Ashoka University.

Sandhya Naidu Janardhan

Managing Director
Sandhya Naidu Janardhan is an architect with 12 years of experience in community-led design and sustainable architecture. At Community Design Agency, she is working with a diverse group of disadvantaged communities, civic agencies and designers to address inequities in the built environment. Licensed and educated in India, Sandhya is also a graduate of Columbia University’s Graduate School of Architecture, Planning and Preservation and a TEDIndia Fellow. Her previous work spans multiple countries, in both the commercial and not-for-profit sectors – including landscape architecture and design for a Singapore-based interdisciplinary design firm, and post-earthquake reconstruction in Haiti for a US Based non-profit.
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Sarika Singh

Executive Assistant
Sarika is an operations and HR professional with over 5 years of experience in recruitments, customer relations and administration. Her interest in working for the upliftment of marginalised communities drew her to the development sector, and she wishes to grow further in this field. At CDA, Sarika handles the administrative responsibilities of the studio and assists with outreach and other business-related activities. She holds an MBA in H.R. and Marketing from Dr. A. P. J. Abdul Kalam Technical University.

Shashank Mittal

Lead, Partnerships and Development
Shashank is a designer by training and has over 8 years of experience working in the development sector, across rural and urban contexts. He believes that empathetic design practices have the ability to effectively address social and economic inequalities around us. At CDA, alongside being involved in ongoing projects, he works to establish new partnerships and engagement opportunities for the studio.
He holds a BFA in Interior Design from the School of Visual Arts and is a Young India Fellow (Ashoka University).
Headshot of Vandana Padmanabhan

Vandana Padmanabhan

Project Manager
Vandana is an engineer, who is curious about all aspects of construction and the built environment. At the studio, she implements project management strategies to manage and improve the efficiency of design and construction projects. She is interested in exploring how traditional construction and project management practices can be implemented in community based design and construction projects. Vandana has a Postgraduate degree in Construction Technology and Management from Indian Institute of Technology (IIT), Madras and is developing a methodology and model for chloride ingress in concrete as a part of her Doctoral Research at IIT, Delhi.

Community Organisers

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Parveen Shaikh

Parveen Shaikh is a social worker and community organiser with over 20 years of experience in advocacy work for the rights of slum and pavement dwellers. A powerful public speaker, she has championed the cause of safe formal housing for vulnerable communities at multiple national and international forums as a former member of the National Slum Dwellers Federation. She helped set up the Myna Mahila Foundation in 2015, which works on issues of menstrual health in underserved communities, and is currently the President of Navnirman Association, the federation body of Natwar Parekh Colony. Passionate about the rights of women from Muslim and minority communities, she continues to support the women and young girls of her neighbourhood through her work at Community Design Agency and beyond.

Affan Khan

Affan is a student of commerce at SK Rai College, Mumbai. Along with being the Community Coordinator of Govandi Arts Festival, he also works as a library assistant at the children’s library, Kitaab Mahal. He is an active member of Young Sangathan for over four years and has worked on multiple public art initiatives with the Community Design Agency in Natwar Parekh Colony. He is passionate about cricket and telling stories to kids at Kitaab Mahal.

Sana Shaikh

Sana Shaikh is an undergraduate commerce student at Mumbai University. She works as a library assistant at Kitaab Mahal and is one of the Community Coordinator for Govandi Arts Festival. She also teaches children the basics of computer literacy at the digital centre run by the Community Design Agency. She wants to become a filmmaker and learns new words by watching English films with subtitles. She enjoys creating mehendi patterns in her free time.

Tayyaba Darvesh

Tayyaba is a second year Management Studies student. She works as a library assistant at Kitaab Mahal , a children’s library in her neighbourhood. She is also working as a Community Coordinator for Govandi Arts Festival. She started working with Community Design Agency as a volunteer for Young Sangathan – a youth group formed by young men and women of Natwar Parekh Colony. Having grown up in a conservative and patriarchal household, Tayyaba now feels confident about her abilities to work and firmly believes in having equal access and opportunities for women. She wants to be financially independent and become a banker to support her mother.

BOARD MEMBERS

Head shot of Clifford Curry

Cliff Curry

FAIA

Architect Clifford Curry’s fifty-plus year career has been dedicated to strengthening underserved communities using architecture, design-and collaboration. For over thirty-five years, Cliff focused his practice on senior living and designed 320 affordable, service-rich innovative facilities that mitigate loneliness, elevate quality of life and promote wellbeing- years before this thinking was fashionable. Arguably his work changed the paradigm for senior housing.

In 2007, out of a desire to further the use of design as a tool to improve the lives of people who don’t usually have access to design services, he co-founded the Curry Stone Foundation with his partner, historical archaeologist and community activist Delight Stone. Together with their team, they promote, empower and inspire a global generation of social design pioneers working in-and with, diverse communities.

Head shot of Delight Stone

Dr. Delight Stone


For over forty years Dr. Delight Stone has worked across platforms and geographies promoting, defending and creating community vitality. Delight is a philanthropist, historical archeologist and community activist. This activism has been local, national, and international and includes work in archaeology, cultural resource management, architectural preservation, design, public health, and environmental and social justice.

In 2007, she and Cliff Curry co-founded the Curry Stone Foundation and the Curry Stone Design Prize to promote and honour designers who address the critical social needs of people who are not typically served by the design community. Among other facets of the prize, Delight oversaw production of short documentary videos about the winners.

Head shot of Gary Feuerstein

Gary Feuerstein

Gary Feuerstein is an architectural engineer with a diverse background in building structural, mechanical and electrical systems. Having worked throughout the U.S., as well as China and Iraq, Feuerstein often provided technical insight and review on the Curry Stone Foundation’s (CSF) initiatives. He is a Director at the CSF and joined the Curry Stone Design Collaborative team in 2017, where he regularly advises the team on their design and construction projects.

Sandhya Naidu Janardhan

Sandhya Naidu Janardhan is an architect with 12 years of experience in community-led design and sustainable architecture. At Curry Stone Design Collaborative, she is working with a diverse group of disadvantaged communities, civic agencies and designers to address inequities in the built environment. A graduate of Columbia University’s GSAPP in New York City, Sandhya’s prior experiences span multiple countries include working at an interdisciplinary design firm based in Singapore, and prior to that at the San Francisco based non-profit, Architecture for Humanity.

PARTNERSHIPS AND GRANTS

Asia Initiatives (USA)

British Council

Ecowork International Association

Global Challenges Research Fund (UK)

Goonj

Hunnarshala Foundation

Nagari Short Film Competition

Pradhan Mantri Awas Yojana - Urban

Rang De

Resource Futures (UK)

Snehalaya

Sofies India

Youth for Unity and Volunteer Action

ANNUAL REPORTS AND FINANCIAL STATEMENTS

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