This year’s Pritzker prize-winning architect Alejandro Aravena has released free, downloadable plans for sustainable and stylish urban housing

“Out of the 3 billion people living in cities today, 1 billion is under the line of poverty,” explains Alejandro Aravena at a press conference hosted by the United Nations recently. “By 2030 out of the 5 billion people that will be living in cities, 2 billion are going to be under the line of poverty. that means that we will have to build a 1 million people city per week with 10,000 dollars per family. given the magnitude of the housing shortage, we won’t solve this problem unless we add people’s own resources and building capacity to that of governments and market. that is why we thought of putting in place an open system able to channel all the available forces at play. in that way people will be part of the solution and not part of the problem.”

Elemental cite 5 design conditions, as mentioned on website Design Boom, known as the ‘ABCs of incremental housing’, listed below:

  1. Good location: dense enough projects able to pay for expensive well located sites.
  2. Harmonious growth in time: build strategically the first half (partition structural and firewalls, bathroom, kitchen, stairs, roof) so that expansion happens thanks to the design and not despite it. frame individual performances and actions, so that we get a customization instead of deterioration of the neighborhood.
  3. Urban layout: introduce in between private space (lot) and public space (street), the collective space, not bigger than 25 families, so that social agreements can be maintained.
  4. provide structure for the final scenario of growth (middle class) and not just for the initial one.
  5. Middle-class DNA: plan for a final scenario of at least 72m2 or 4 bedrooms (3x3m) with space for closet or double bed, bathrooms should not be at the front door (which is the typical case to save pipes) but where bedrooms are; they may include a bathtub and not just a shower receptacle and space for washing machine; there should be possibility of parking place for a car. none of this is even close to be the case in social housing nowadays.

Go the project’s page to download the plans for yourself.

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