Architect Charles Correa describes a simple hierarchy of private/public realm in Dharavi that starts with the private spaces needed for cooking, sleeping and storage, and moves on to those thresholds of intimate contact such as the front door and porch, and then the more public areas where neighbourhood takes place, such as around a well or water tap, and finally takes its largest form in the urban spaces such as the street and park, where residents and strangers alike mix on equal terms. Lack of space in any one of these four areas can be accommodated by an expansion in other areas – the idea of the flexible threshold and elastic space – and the operation of this flexibility is all made possible by a warm climate where people are happy to spend time in the open air and sit on their porches.

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