Consider that 1.5 billion people around the world don’t have adequate housing, and that not everyone can even afford a decent place to house their families, and you have got yourself a challenge. This is one of the concepts that Bill Gross of Idealab has been working on, in partnership with WorldHaus.
The team is designing a kit home meant to be used by the billions around the world who need affordable housing with clean electricity, plumbing and cooking facilities. The kit is designed to be easy to assemble, cheap to manufacture, and eco-friendly. The design integrates solar lighting, ventilation and water collection, and has facilities for clean cooking.
WorldHaus plans to have the kit available to poor families in India, Kenya and South Africa within a year, and targets to supply 5,000 families by 2013. They plan to encourage sustainable living practices to families who are otherwise burning kerosene or wood for their lighting and cooking needs.
The idea stems from Vijay Govindarajan’s and Christian Sarkar’s “call to arms” for designers and businesses to develop a $300 house for the poor. While the WorldHaus team has not yet been able to bring down the actual cost to $300 (the kit costs $2,500), the closest thing would be to charge $249 as a downpayment, with about $29 monthly rental or lease for the balance, which should be within reasonable reach.