A Study of the Socio-Cultural Aspects and Built Environments of the Indigenous Settlements in Coorg, India

by Sanjana Shivakumar (presenting author)1, Tarun Kumar2, Rahul Bhaumik3, Gokul Lal K V4, Unais Sait3, Kriti Bhalla1, Vandana D Ravishankar3

1: Ramaiah Institute of Technology, Bangalore, India; 2: Indian Institute of Science, Bangalore, India; 3: PES University, Bangalore, India; 4: East Point College of Engineering and Technology, Bangalore, India


Any settlement will be remembered and labelled ‘prosperous’ only when its people, cultural backgrounds and built environments function together. This paper aims to study the history, traditions, built environments, cultural backgrounds and transition patterns of the tribal settlements i.e., The ‘Yerava’ and ‘Kuruba’ tribal communities in Coorg, India. Furthermore, conservation of their ethnic cultural practices and sustainable building techniques for restoring their relationship with nature, is the primary objective. For a region to grow and gain reputation, its aborigines must be protected at all costs. These tribes’ contribution to a region’s cultural heritage and economy is just as significant as the dominant culture, hence their communities and built environments must be protected for generations to come. Although the government has provided ration-based schemes and settlement quarters for these tribal communities, the question remains whether it satiates their standards of living. Prior to the study, a questionnaire with structured, semi structured, and story based questions is developed to gather holistic information about the tribal habitants in Coorg. The settlement patterns, methods of construction and community spaces are analyzed. Instruments such as lux-meter, humidity and temperature meter, and infrared thermometer will be used to record the climatic conditions, surface temperatures and lighting conditions of the built spaces in the settlements. On collection of this data, the building typologies in terms of materials used, space utilization and the predominant style of construction can be understood, developed, and further modified to ensure socio-cultural sustainability.