11.15.12 | Transblog
Photo: Design with the Other 90%: Cities
Beginning last year, my interest in social innovation and using design to help raise standards of living around the world grew tremendously. My interest sparked when I attended the Design with the Other 90%: CITIES exhibit held at the United Nations Headquarters in New York City. Many ideas presented in the exhibit delicately displayed innovative localized transdisciplinary concepts.
There was one particular project called “10×10 Sandbag House” (http://www.designother90.org/cities/solutions/10×10-sandbag-house) which drew my attention more than any other projects that were presented at the exhibit. This project transformed Freedom Park—an informal settlement in the Mitchell’s Plain township in Cape Town, South Africa—from slums to dignified housing.
Here are the highlights of the project:
1-Boosting local economy by localizing manufacturing from start to finish
It creates local job opportunities with low skill levels required in the initial construction phase and uses readily available local resources. They also make great efforts to make designs that are aesthetically pleasing, which causes psychological improvements.
Building costs are between 20-30% lower than conventional building and transportation costs are very low.
The carbon footprint is much smaller than conventional construction and they’re up to 70% superior in terms of thermal retention, which is energy efficient.
4-Presenting sustainable and scalable opportunities for global business leaders
The versatility of the building process allows for multiple applications, with ease of construction.
Just a few years back in “The Fortune at the Bottom of the Pyramid”, Prahalad stated that it would be impossible for a project like this to be successful:
“Civil society organizations and startups account for a disproportionate number of experiments to improve the lot of the BOP consumers. However, their reach is limited. Their orientation is local and they do not have the resources or the managerial skills for scaling up, much less taking it global.” (Pg 359, PRAHALAD)
ecoBUILD technologies (http://www.ecobuildtechnologies.com/) not only crossed the barrier defined a few years back, but presents scalable businesses case for other global business to explore opportunities.
Innovation possibilities are limitless. Synergistic relationships between businesses and local/regional communities, can bring better quality of life to the people in need, while rewarding those who took time to discover The Fortune at the Bottom of the Pyramid.
“The Fortune at the Bottom of the Pyramid” by C. K. Prahalad, 2005 Wharton School Publishing