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The Future of Housing

jools January 9, 2017

Everyone needs somewhere to live. Whether you live in a warm climate, or a cold one you need a place to shelter from the elements. Sadly, there are still millions of people with nowhere to live, or living in substandard housing.

This is the case, pretty much wherever you look. In poorer countries, the problem is much more widespread than it is in richer parts of the world, but none the less a lack of good quality, affordable housing, is an issue for most countries.

To say this is sad is an understatement. Living on the streets, or in slum housing, is an awful experience, wherever you are in the world.

Affordable housing is possible

Sadder than this is the fact that the cost of building the much needed new houses is potentially very low, something you will better understand after you have read the rest of this page.

Advances in technology mean that the affordable homes can now easily be built, and built quickly. Hopefully, in time, governments across the world will find ways to solve the other issues, and start to provide people with homes that, while basic, offer proper shelter from the elements.

Plastic homes

One of the best examples of what we mean is to be found in Columbia. There, a firm called Conceptos Plasticos has been taking waste plastic and quickly turning it into Lego style blocks. Those bricks are designed to lock together, so a person without prior building experience can easily build using them. All they need is a hammer, and a ladder. You can see how the building process works by watching this video.

Perhaps the best thing about this project is the fact that the machine that makes the bricks is compact enough to be transported to any site on the back of a lorry. It just needs to be plugged in and be fed the right mix of plastic waste to produce the blocks.

Pre-Fabricated homes

Another solution is to build pre-fabricated homes. These are not a new innovation, but advances in manufacturing techniques mean that they can be produced much faster than they used to be, and using far less labor. As a result, the cost of building these homes has fallen drastically, which is part of the reason they are now seen as a viable alternative. They are becoming popular across the world, including in countries like the UK.

You can find out more about how Housing Associations in the UK are planning to use these factory built houses to help them to address the fact that not enough homes are being built there. In that country, the housing shortage is getting worse each year. There more people  are ending up on the streets, living on friend’s couches or staying in sub-standard housing.

This is because the housing shortage is leading to rents soaring to the point where people can no longer afford to pay the rent. This is not surprising when you consider that 300,000 homes need to be built every year, but only 150,000 are being built on average. Naturally, the only way to quickly bridge the gap is to find ways of building homes at a far faster rate. Pre-fabricated homes are a great way to do this.

People power

However, solving the problem is not all about using new technology. Increasingly, across the world communities are taking control of the situation. They are no longer waiting for promises made by successive governments to be fulfilled.

Across the world, people are getting together and forming collectives. They are organizing and doing the work to install reliable electrics, and sewage systems themselves.

A great example is the Mahila Milan group in Mumbai. The women’s group was formed in 1986 to stop the demolition of their homes. Over the years, the group evolved and started to get involved in the planning process. They went on to build houses themselves, and at the time of writing this article, have provided over 8,500 families with a new home.

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