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Wednesday, 4 May 2011

The $300 House

There are 13.5 times as many people living in slums around the world as there are people in Britain. They live in houses made from little more than rubbish and ingenuity. Poor sanitation and lack of electricity promote disease and illiteracy and if they manage to evade those two ills they have a good chance of being injured by their own roof falling in. To still have a problem this fungible, on this scale, in this day and age is not a very impressive record for humanity.

The 300house project is the brainchild of Vijay Govindarajan and has developed from a thought he posted on the Harvard Business Review Blog into a well organised project gathering ideas from business, individuals, universities, governments and professionals.

The idea isn't new, post war prefabs were a response to a similar problem. The execution however is very different, using the internet to join up freely given ideas from around the globe to provide a complete solution. From governments finding ways to facilitate land ownership, banks to provide microfinance loans and blokes in sheds to come up with ingenious ideas like bean tin methane stoves or everlasting biological light bulbs.

So if you happen to wake up one morning with an idea for a universal multi-material joinery system but don't have the means or desire to make it a reality, here's a way that your idea could be shared and contribute to changing the lives of a whole lot of folk.

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