The Housing Revolution Manifesto

“The quick summary:

– Housing in the developing world is often dangerous (especially in earthquakes), climatically inappropriate, toxic, wasteful of energy and water, bad for the people who live in it, the people who build it and for the planet at large. This is not about poverty — rich, poor and middle class alike all face problems because of their lack of options.
– The technologies to overcome these problems exist today — so they should be put to use!
– To be adopted widely, safer and sustainable housing has to be affordable. It must cost the same as or less than the inferior building materials it’ll replace (such as bricks and cement), but still has to be profitable to the builder (even if the margin is small).
– It has to appropriate to the region’s climate and culture.
– It has to be mass-producible or easily reproducible.
– It has to be appealing, a kind of housing people would want to live in.
– A Housing Revolution would benefit people worldwide, in developed as well as developing countries.

The Manifesto
More than 1.3 million people have died in major earthquakes around the world over the past half-century. Developing countries are hit disproportionally, in part because earthquakes destroy poorly built homes and buildings. Many of those deaths could be prevented. Even in the absence of quakes, houses in developing countries crack, crumble and collapse all on their own due to corruption, poor workmanship and lack of skill. Not only are lives lost, but people suffer extremes of heat or cold needlessly because they live in housing that is built completely inappropriately for their climate. Scores suffer mosquito-borne or waterborne illnesses that could easily be prevented. In some flood-prone areas, no one builds homes on stilts — so all people can do is watch or flee as the water takes their family homes. Inefficient designs waste electricity and scarce water — when they’re even available at all. And children toil day after day in giant smoky kilns to bake the bricks to build those buildings. But all this can change, and it must change. The solutions, the knowledge and the technologies are out there — what’s needed is creative synergy and action. The time has come for a Housing Revolution!”

Source: Housing

2 thoughts on “The Housing Revolution Manifesto”

  1. I believe one of the the biggest hindrances to alternative building is the time factor. Many alternative building methods are labor intensive and take considerably longer then conventional building. Often working with a building department on alternative projects can delay construction, because they are unfamiliar with the methods. Now that probably isn’t a much of a problem for the owner builder, but for people who are developing housing to sell or commercial property it is killer. Often people developing such projects are paying interest on construction loans. The longer it takes to build, the more interest is paid,
    Even if loans aren’t a factor, many developers are not willing to wait that long to see a return on their investment.

    Now some of the negatives with regard to long construction times could be offset by reduced costs, but there would have to be some hard data to sell it.


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