alchemy urban systems

Positive Transformations for Cities...


Looking back, the Alchemy journey has been a fascinating one. We have built quite a diverse portfolio of projects and have worked with prestigious clients all over the country. ‘Positive transformations’ has always been our agenda and wherever there was opportunity we strived to go beyond conventional approaches to bring greater value to the human settlements we worked with.

Our team worked with as much enthusiasm and passion in the rural areas of Bihar for the UNDP funded project “Planning for the reconstruction of the Kosi flood affected areas”; as they did in the progressive state of Gujarat for a twin city development plan for Anand and Nadiad towns where large infrastructure and real estate projects were proposed. Preparing a city sanitation plan for the city of Raipur, capital of the newly formed state of Chattisgarh was yet another challenge, where our work was appreciated by the client GIZ Gmbh. While we have had many successful project closures and many accolades up our sleeves, the consulting work has not been without its challenges. There have been projects whose course changed considerably and those which had to be abandoned mid-way. There have also been times where there was severe cash flow shortage.

Through the ups and downs of this journey, we would like to express gratitude to the numerous young professionals and interns who chose to become part of the Alchemy family; and to those associates and consultants who have always appreciated and encouraged Alchemy’s way of working. We feel that three professionals deserve special mention whose commitment and passion helped build the foundations of this wonderful enterprise — Ms. Rejitha P.K for her single minded dedication to work, Ms. Dwiti Maniar for her zest and enterprising nature and Ms. Priya Chavan for her methodical way of working combined with her cheerful countenance. All three of them have moved on, but they will continue to remain special for us. This special mention does not intend to take away from the contributions of numerous others and each one of them will always be remembered.

Continuing the spirit of Alchemy we decided to embark upon a different kind of journey in 2009, along with the consulting work in Alchemy. We worked with a few friends and set up DBS Affordable Home Strategy Ltd. in Ahmedabad,  to create viable enterprise models for making affordable housing available to low income families in urban India who have very limited or no access to the formal real estate market as of today. The approach seeks to integrate production of housing with facilitation of housing finance and community development. DBS has now launched four projects in Ahmedabad and one in Surat. We also set up ‘Griha Pravesh’ a housing facilitation center, to enable access to housing for low income families providing them the documentation necessary for enhancing their financial footprint and subsequently their credit worthiness.

Nothing is constant but change, and so towards the end of 2011 we decided once again to change the course of our journey. We decided that the only way we can continue the Alchemy work is by reinventing ourselves. We have now dismantled our team at Alchemy and no longer participate in the strategic operations of DBS or Griha Pravesh. We operate as independent consultants on projects that interest us, where we can truly make a contribution. Along with these projects we have also begun to compile our work in the form of papers and presentations. We also intend to bring out a ‘Land use planning for practitioners’ course. This will draw upon our own work which has largely been at the intersection of Land Management and 5 other areas—post disaster reconstruction, housing, urban transportation, urban sanitation and heritage management.

We welcome you to have a look at work we have done in the last five years by following the link given below.  When we are ready to launch the next phase of Alchemy, we shall revamp the website altogether.

                                       —  Bala and Sowmya

5 Years of Alchemy