Informal settlements initiated by squatters have an appearance of strong randomness. The parcelling of land is done on the spot by pushing and pulling boundaries, not on the drawing board. Walls are shared. The newer settlement is “attached” to the existing. Floors are added, leaving the ground floor available for business. First floor is mostly extended as a cantilever over the street, providing both extra floor space and a weather shade to the shop below.
Photo 10. Dharavi. Variation of materials and forms.
Photo 11. Dharavi. Incremental improvement. The use of materials is shifting from recycled sheet elements to plastered brickwork.
Photo 12. Dharavi. Further incremental upgrading. Almost all provisionally used recycled material is replaced by permanent structure. The extended roof serves as Chhajja, a weather shade.
Because of the incremental process, stairs are often visible, in front of the only open façade. There are many reasons for putting the stairs this way (see also: Multiple Floors).
Photo 13. The blue house is attached to the white house, as can be told from how the roofs meet. Remarkably, they do share a wall but not the ladder.
The appearance of the houses in photo 13 has many practical backgrounds. The white house runs a sugarcane-juice shop. For hygienic reasons, the ladder is sealed with metal sheeting. A canopy of corrugated steel keeps dirt and rain out. The business in the building on the right apparently needs similar protection by a blue tarp, whereas the workshop in the centre has different standards. The blue house on top pushes the urban envelop. The room protrudes over the workshop and the window has a box grill, extending the room even further.
Photo 14. In corner buildings, expansion over both streets allows for more space at the first floor. The result is a structure with the top-heavy appearance of a mushroom.